Laverne’s On The Cover Of ESSENCE

To understand the significance of this ESSENCE magazine cover, I have to take you back to the late 80’s

Tracy Africa Norman was in the process of shooting her sixth ESSENCE magazine cover for an upcoming Christmas issue.  At the time Tracy worked for the third largest modeling agency in New York, and she was a hot modelwith major contracts like Avon, Ultra Sheen and Clairol.

But Tracy was also an undisclosed transwoman, and her cover was about to be blown to ESSENCE editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor by a shady individual from Tracy’s old neighborhood who recognized her.

Tracy was outed, and the sixth cover shoot abruptly ended along with much of Tracy’s US modeling career.  

So you can imagine my surprise when knowing this history, I saw this ESSENCE cover of Laverne with Alfre Woodard, Nicole Bahari and Dinai Gurira.   I’ll have to admit I did shed a tear or two when I saw the cover because I thought about what happened to Tracy and just how far the African-American transfeminine ranks have come since then.  

But congratulations Laverne.   Looking forward to the day that ESSENCE gives a trans woman a solo cover be it you, Ines Rau or some other trans woman or trans model. 

Looks like that day may be coming sooner than I thought it would.  

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