Annie Leibovitz is no stranger to controversial magazine covers. Remember the Rolling Stone cover featuring a nude John Lennon wrapped around a fully clothed Yoko Ono? Or perhaps the Vanity Fair cover displaying a very pregnant (and very nude) Demi Moore? Both cover images exhibit photographs brought to us, shroud in a cloak of controversy, by the mind (and camera) of the celebrated photographer herself.
Most recently, she’s added this to her repertoire:
Although the nudity found in the previously mentioned photographs is nowhere to be found on this Vogue cover, the controversial flag being raised in this instance is of a much different, well, color. One of the many articles found making the Internet rounds on the subject, is this one from USA Today bearing the headline, "LeBron James ‘Vogue’ cover called racially insensitive":
the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen’s tiny waist.
It’s an image some have likened to King Kong and Fay Wray.
"It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man," said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.
But others say the image show James’ game face â nothing more. And they note that Bundchen hardly looks frightened.
"James is a huge, black beautiful masculine statue and Gisele is a feminine, sexy gorgeous doll," said Christa Thomas, 36, a black account supervisor in Los Angeles.
"I didn’t see any kind of racist overtone to it," she said. "I still don’t. I think there is such a hypersensitivity to race still in this country."
So, what do you think? Was an explicit and intentionally controversial photograph featured on this Vogue cover for shock value and magazine sales? Or, is a racially hypersensitive culture creating an undue argument over a work of art that simply features two beautiful people showing "a little emotion"?