'Ebony' Magazine Just Debuted "The Body Brigade"

by Gina Jones 2

Ebony Magazine has been especially killing it these last few months with its dedication to presenting social justice issues that deserve some visibility in the public eye. From analyzing cultural appropriation to dissecting whether The Cosby Show should survive, the publication has focused on discussing issues openly and honestly. "The Body Brigade" in Ebony Magazine is the latest addition to its diverse topics of coverage: The magazine has given the March cover to four plus size women of color, all of whom are exceeding in their chosen fields.

The body positive cover features Orange Is The New Black star Danielle Brooks alongside plus size fashion blogger and designer Gabi Gregg, and singers Jazmine Sullivan and Chrisette Michele. The feature is specifically looking at "plus size body image battles," and some "stripped bare" and "unfiltered" interviews with these women are promised on the cover and delivered inside the issue.

By exploring fat acceptance and body image issues on its cover, Ebony is helping remove the notion that body positivity is for white women only. The amazing plus size role models on Ebony's cover prove this wrong, but also remind us that issues of white washing are something we need to work together on as a community. By continuing to represent women of color as body positive role models, the movement will hopefully grow to be seen as more inclusive.

The military-themed cover and shoot seem like a shout-out to Beyoncé's latest video for Formation, which unapologetically celebrated black culture and highlighted Beyoncé's support for the Black Lives Matter movement, along with her Black Panthers tribute that slayed at the Superbowl. By utilizing the military theme for its "Women Up!" issue, Ebony is seemingly fighting for the continued empowerment of women of color.

For me, this shoot and feature are the perfect examples of how intersectionality and inclusivity should be presented between social justice movements. Questions many of us often ask ourselves when it comes to our intersectionality are whether you can call yourself a feminist if you're still sizeist; or whether you can be body positive if you only celebrate white women. To make a long answer short, no. No you cannot. But by combining two movements seamlessly, without excluding anyone from the conversation, Ebony Magazine is showing all publications how the discussion of body positivity needs to be done in order to elevate more and more marginalized identities.

Hopefully this example from Ebony will be followed by all well into 2016 so that articles that focus solely on white feminism are left behind. These four beautiful women make excellent role models for us all and it's great to see each one of them open up about plus size body image while still rocking it out for a stunning cover shoot. I'm more than happy to follow The Body Brigade in the fight for body positivity, fat acceptance, and an end to racial divide in the fashion industry and in society at large.

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Images: Courtesy Ebony Magazine