SZA Turns Down Photo Shoot Because Magazine Wouldn’t Hire Black Photographer

by : Julia Banim on : 30 May 2021 15:55
SZA Turns Down Photo Shoot Because Magazine Wouldn't Hire Black PhotographerPA Images

SZA has spoken out about how she decided to turn down a photoshoot after the magazine wouldn’t hire a Black photographer.

Taking to Twitter, the Broken Clocks singer revealed, ‘I requested a black photographer for a cover n the mag told me no lol its 2021.. and almost Juneteenth. Respectfully I can’t do it.’


When asked whether she would name the magazine in question, 31-year-old SZA declined, explaining, ‘Das not my vibe but there’s TOO many elite black creatives rn to not allow it.’

In a separate tweet, SZA praised three other publications – Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan and Wonderland – for using Black photographers for recent cover shoots, emphasising, ‘gotta celebrate when it’s RIGHT too !’

SZA’s original tweet has been liked more than 97,000 times at the time of writing, with many of her followers praising her for taking a stand.


The official Twitter account for Black Women Photographers tweeted, ‘It’s 2021!’, urging SZA to ‘Hit them with our directory’.

Author and journalist CJ Farley tweeted:

Keep up the fight. When I was an editor at Time magazine and I wrote a cover story on Lauryn Hill in 1999, I made sure to insist we get the best photographer to shoot her–Kwaku Alston. The result was worth the struggle.


In a comment made on an Instagram post shared by The Shade Room on this same topic, SZA went into more detail about why this had been so important to her:

It’s not deep I jus like the way my ppl SEE me. I love how we magnify us through our own unique gaze . Its artful and magical. Jus Not into fitting ‘the white gaze’ rn. Love and Respect

The need for more Black photographers at influential publications has become a big topic in recent years. In 2018, Tyler Mitchell made Vogue history after becoming the very first Black photographer to shoot the iconic fashion magazine’s cover.


If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Music, Now, Twitter


The Shade Room/Instagram and 1 other
  1. The Shade Room/Instagram


  2. SZA/Twitter