By now, news has circulated that Rihanna is the new face of Dior. Of course, the singer already has many accolades, but this one is major. Why? Because Rihanna is the first Black woman to represent the brand in history. Previous ambassadors include celebrities such as Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence.
Rihanna has quickly become fashion's sweetheart, gaining recognition via the CFDA, scoring a creative director role at Puma, closing deals with MAC Cosmetics, and starring in campaigns for the likes of Balmain and Gucci. On top of that, she recently released her well-received single "FourFiveSeconds" with Paul McCartney and Kanye West and her new album is reportedly on the way.
Sitting atop these accomplishments, it's no surprise that the pop star has signed on to endorse one of the most influential design houses in fashion. However, due to the many eyes currently set on race relations everywhere in the United States, diversity and inclusivity is more important than ever. Here are the reasons why Rihanna x Dior is nothing short of groundbreaking.
1. America's first Black cover-girl hit newsstands in 1975
Beverly Johnson became the first Black woman to grace the cover of American Vogue in 1975, ten years after a sketch of Donyale Luna was featured on the front of Harper's Bazaar . Supermodels such as Naomi Sims and Katiti Karonde followed suit, transforming the images of Black women in fashion and beauty.
2. The alleged location of the shoot has history
The palace of Versailles, where Rihanna's campaign for Dior, was the location of the Battle of Versailles fashion show in 1973, the first noted moment of diversity on the runway
American designers were pitted against French designers to raise money for the palace. Ten Black models participated in the show, thus sparking more inclusivity on international runways. Fashion critic Robin Givhan has just finished a book about the history-making show.
3. Now is an important time for examining diversity in fashion
In 2013 Bethann Hardison, along with her initiative, the Diversity Coalition, sent letters to fashion councils calling out design houses that weren't including women of color on the runways. Since then, models such as Iman, Liya Kebede, and more have joined Hardison in fighting for equal racial representation in the industry.
4. Fashion still really doesn't get diversity
In its seasonal report, The Fashion Spot shows that runways are still lacking in racial representation, with 83 percent of model who walk in national fashion week shows being white. Furthermore, Harper's Bazaar didn't include any women of color on its covers in 2014.
5. Black women are seen as leaders in entertainment
From Kerry Washington becoming the first Black woman to take a leading role in primetime television since the '60s to Ava Duvernay being the first Black woman nominated for the Best Director category at the Golden Globes, women of color are stepping into the forefront of their respective fields.
And it's good to see Rihanna following suit!
Images: Getty Images (4)