The September 2018 issue of American Vogue magazine was touted as historic for a couple of reasons; it featured the 5th Black woman to grace the cover of the magazine in its 126-year history in the person of Beyoncé Knowles Carter.
It also featured for the first time ever the work of a Black photographer. Tyler Mitchell, the then 23-year-old, is the first African-American photographer to shoot a Vogue cover image.
And now, one of the photos will be added to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside photos of former President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama and other greats.
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Tyler Mitchell shared the news on his Twitter page saying: “A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.”
In the picture, Beyoncé is seen wearing a Valentino dress and Philip Treacy hat, sporting minimal makeup and no hair extensions.
The official twitter handle for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery also shared the news with a post saying: “Our mission is to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape this nation’s history, development, and culture. We are happy to work with Tyler to acquire this photograph of Beyoncé Knowles into the Portrait Gallery’s collection.”
The news has since been met with the excitement and fanfare typical of Beyoncé’s fans and this might account for a significant rise in the patronage of the portrait gallery.
Prior to this news, the only available photo of Beyoncé in the gallery was a colour promotional poster for her 2003 album “Dangerously in Love,” with the words “CD In Stores June 24” across the bottom, hanging in the “20th Century Americans: 2000 to Present” gallery of the museum, per the website of the gallery.