What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Get to know Tyler Mitchell, the photographer Beyoncé hired for Vogue

The 23-year-old Atlanta native will be the first black photographer to shoot the magazine’s cover in 126 years

12:57 PMWho knew Beyoncé was as good a photo editor as she is an entertainer? When she was given creative control over Vogue magazine’s all-important September issue this fall, she did something that several magazines still do not: She hired a black photographer to shoot the cover image. This marks the first time in the magazine’s 126-year history that an image created by a black person will grace its cover. Take a minute to marinate on that.

And Beyoncé chose well. Tyler Mitchell is a highly creative and ambitious photographer from Atlanta who now resides in Brooklyn. Despite his young age, he has already photographed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors for Teen Vogue, Lil Uzi Vert for The FADER, curator Kimberly Drew for i-D, Ashton Sanders for Office magazine and Vince Staples for Dazed.


The historical significance of this moment cannot be overstated. While print and digital publications have made it more of a priority to hire black writers (although progress in this arena has also been slow going), too often, the people shaping visual narratives are white, cisgender men, while the unique perspectives and talent of people of color are often pushed to the side and ignored.

Here is hoping that more celebrities will use their clout and platforms to encourage magazines to hire photographers of color to shoot their covers. And, more importantly, here is hoping that more photo editors follow Beyoncé’s lead in their hiring practices.

TCA Diary: Questions about domestic abuse lead to awkward denials from Bobby Brown

At event for his biopic, Brown says he never hit Whitney Houston

5:08 PMLOS ANGELES — Bobby Brown is happy to promote his own story as long as we agree to overlook the most unflattering elements of it.

During a news conference Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour, where he was promoting a new narrative TV film about his life, Brown denied that domestic violence had ever been a part of his relationship with Whitney Houston, despite public records that directly contradict this assertion. Brown was on hand to promote The Bobby Brown Story, a BET movie that Brown co-executive produced. Woody McClain stars as Brown.

Brown said he had “no regrets” about his life, so I asked him if that extended to documented instances of domestic abuse in his relationship with Houston, to which their only child together, Bobbi Kristina, was exposed.

“There was no violent incidents between me and Whitney, so you know,” he responded.

But in 2003, Fulton County, Georgia, police responded to a 911 call from the house where Houston and Brown lived. Houston sported a cut lip and bruised cheek, according to the police report. Brown turned himself in and was charged with misdemeanor battery for hitting Houston and telling her he would “beat her a–.”

Brown denied its existence. “You’re completely wrong,” he said when I mentioned the call. An awkward silence fell over the ballroom, and Brown said, “One more question.”

Another reporter read a news report of the incident aloud and pressed Brown. “There is a 911 call. It’s in the public record.” (In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Houston addressed the violence between herself and Brown.)

“The public record is wrong,” Brown said. He did not elaborate.

Thursday, on the third anniversary of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death, Brown announced that he was planning to build a domestic violence shelter to honor her, a physical expansion of the Bobbi Kristina Serenity House nonprofit he established in 2015. Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unconscious in a bathtub in her Georgia home in 2015, nearly three years to the day after her mother was discovered dead in the bathtub of her hotel room here at the Beverly Hilton.

Bobbi Kristina Brown’s relationship with her boyfriend at the time of her death, Nick Gordon, was a violent one. Gordon has been repeatedly arrested for domestic abuse.

BET had scheduled post-news-conference access to Brown but scrapped it after the two questions about Brown’s history with domestic abuse.