This is so artistic and rad, a cover that you could totally frame and hang up as a piece of art. And for good reason. Essence explains:
As a first in our brand’s 50 year history, we commissioned the esteemed Lorna Simpson to interpret modern-day beauty in collaboration with the global star. The result: A series of original photographic collages for the cover and 12-page portfolio entitled, “Of Earth & Sky.”… Simpson has become known for her art that recontextualizes images of Black women from vintage pages of Ebony and Jet magazines and found photos in the creation of arresting collages. In 2018, she received the J. Paul Getty Medal and she has been honored by The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Saying yes to this exclusive project allowed Simpson, 60, to continue exploring narratives around gender, race and identity.
Definitely click through the site to see the rest of the collages, because they’re fantastic. (It certainly helps that Rihanna is, as ever, a fantastic model.) The press release we got included a quote from Simpson’s daughter, Zora Simpson Casebere, who said “on set, I assisted my mother as a model as she explored how she might later place Rihanna within the visual contexts she’d selected from vintage Ebony magazines, old Associated Press photographs and 19th-century lithographs of mineral specimens.” (I believe Simpson Casebere also wrote a piece for the magazine, but it’s not online yet.) I love this, and want to learn all about it. Please bring me the six-episode HBO Max series about the creation of these collages!