NeNe Leakes' Ebony Cover Causes Controversy, the Reality Star Responds

Reality TV

NeNe Leakes’ Ebony Cover Causes Controversy, the Reality Star Responds

By  | 

By: Taren Vaughan

NeNe Leakes has still continued to hold it down on Real Housewives of Atlanta, professing that the show wouldn’t be much without her. Aside from her lingering beef that she has going on with Kim Zolciak, NeNe has been seeming to enjoy another season of being a Housewife thus far, though it was said that she got into with Kenya Moore during the taping of an episode. And as always, NeNe continues to be her outspoken self, sharing her thoughts about past and present Housewives and continues to be presented with new opportunities to boost her career left and right. NeNe has recently appeared on the cover of Ebony Magazine. And on the cover, NeNe was photographed holding up a glass of champagne, sitting in a bath tub, covered in diamonds. After getting a glimpse of the cover, the negative comments shortly followed as some people felt that NeNe, as an outspoken reality TV show star, didn’t deserve to grace the cover of a long standing publication like Ebony and that her being placed on there has caused the publication to lose some of its credibility. In response to all the words from her critics, NeNe tells The Daily Beast that she feels like she deserved the chance to be on the cover of Ebony:

“I absolutely deserve to be on the cover.”


Ever since she made her personal life public, NeNe has not held back about any of the struggles that she has gone through. And she says that the cover itself has a real meaning behind it, one that reflects her journey into fame and fortune:

“This cover is about money, power, and respect. And it’s about a come-up story and I’m the one that had that story this year … Not only did I come out as a reality star that was very boisterous and vivacious and outspoken and all those things. I flipped that into money and respect. And a lot of people can’t do that.”


As NeNe revealed the meaning behind the cover, that still didn’t stop people from doing a lot of negative talking about it. And she says that most of the negative comments that were made about the cover were coming from Black people:

“But listen to me, definitely all of the negative feedback definitely came from my own; African Americans were the ones that were the most negative.

“And it’s so funny to me because I would call [the editor] over at Ebony and she would say ‘Girl please, glass houses. That’s all it is. They don’t want to see you on the cover, they don’t really understand the reason why you’re on the cover, they don’t know your story.’”


Ebony’s Editor In Chief Amy Dubois Barnett spoke on choosing NeNe to cover the issue of Ebony and truly believes that they made the right decision, seeing as though they try to feature a variety of different African Americans:

“Those who take issue with reality television’s role in pop culture have questioned whether Ebony made the right decision by glorifying one of its most popular characters.

“As the magazine of record for the black community, it is Ebony’s role to both reflect the aesthetics and interests of our readership, and to inspire them toward higher aspirations for themselves and for all African Americans. The November issue featured the Obamas on the cover, and was a perfect example of the latter. The December/January issue featuring NeNe Leakes on the cover is an excellent example of the former.”


Not long ago, Vibe Magazine faced similar criticisms for putting reality TV show personalities Evelyn Lozada, Chrissy Lampkin, Kandi Burruss, and Tamar Braxton on one of their issues, and sarcastically labeled them as role models.

What do you think? Do reality TV show stars deserve to get features on major publications?

Here’s the cover, just in case you missed it:


nene leakes ebony cover



  1. Queen

    November 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I honestly think the cover looks more tacky on Ebony’s part, not NeNe. The cover just looks bad. She can be on the cover, she is one of the biggest reality stars of the moment, and she’s an actress. But the cover really sucks. Ebony did a poor job.

  2. Anonymous

    November 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Ebony wanted a controversy and they went after the shock factor. It’s not NeNe’s fault they stooped so low as to put her in a tub full of diamonds, holding a champagne glass. I don’t have a problem with her being on the cover, but let’s not act like this wasn’t a cheap and tacky looking one. And honestly, this is why I stopped buying Ebony a long time ago. Most of my reading for leisure is down online, on here and other blogs. These black magazines are getting real lame.

  3. Ha

    November 29, 2012 at 10:32 am

    So nobody’s going to talk about the real issue here? We’re all just going to act like she’s not wearing that cheap and tacky looking blonde toupee on top of her head, when we know she has the money to get a better weave? Oh. Ok.

    • V

      November 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

      I know right, Im soooo sick of that hair DUE…I meant it just how I spelled it. Its definitely DUE time to get another style

    • anonymous

      November 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

      LOL at V and Ha

    • Godsmack

      December 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      Nene is Nasty, she looks like a beAst

  4. 404

    November 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I agree that’s it’s not that serious but did she have to call out black people to a WHITE publication? I mean seriously. She should go on a white blog, and she’ll see that the hate for her is not limited to one race. People on average don’t like reality TV stars. She has fans but she needs to stop acting like everyone is supposed to like her and support her.

  5. Anon

    November 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I love me some NeNe. I enjoyed the interview and all, but that cover was a bit much. But they had to do something to get attention to the magazine. So it shouldn’t be that serious.

  6. messa

    November 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

    She look so stupid with that long snout of hers…what had she done so important that i suppose too be proud of…always wanna call out black people but don’t even love the skin she in…keep letting the fame and money get to your large head you as well as other ignorant black celebrities will learn…please put some interesting articles to read up here this is pure trash…everybody got an story…

    • Porsha

      November 29, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Let me guess, it’s only trash because you don’t like NeNe. Your whole response just proved that NeNe’s comments about black people have some truth. She made it and is doing what she loves. The only negative thing about it is you and people like yourself who have nothing positive to say about that. And that’s because you’re probably not doing what you really want to do in life. #shrugs

      • Haukku

        December 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

        Porsha, I couldn’t have said it better myself!! The “crabs in a barrell” complex is why so many of us can’t get ahead in life.

      • Madison

        December 17, 2012 at 1:57 am

        Amen 2x…. its not about Nene my assumption is that the story is about transformation to start from somewhere and emerge into opportunities that God sets before us anytime that anyone can transform from any aspect of their lives to something better that should be celebrated. She went from reality to being an actual actress. However beyond Nene transformation and opportunities are something that we should all strive for. No one is perfect that is this life journey God Bless

    • Izzy

      November 29, 2012 at 11:40 am

      I don’t think NeNe is that bad. I do agree though that Ebony was a bit over over dramatic about their explanation as to why she was on the cover. It’s not like she’s Michelle Obama or something. She’s doing her thing but let’s not get carried away and say all black people should be proud. She’s not a role model.

  7. Oprah's Wig

    November 29, 2012 at 11:06 am

    It’s really not that serious. Most of these people turn on their TVs and watch her every Sunday night, so what’s the problem?

  8. V

    November 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I respect how she has made a come up from a reality show #Smart move

  9. Nicole

    November 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

    What a lot of people don’t know is that NeNe has been trying to be an actress way before RHOA. She has had minor roles and was looking for a big break. She got on RHOA, and went after her real dream. She took some acting classes and everything. For a lot of people, reality tv is a platform for them to do what they really want to do. NeNe is not that bad, people need to just be happy she’s doing what she loves to do now. That’s an accomplishment.

  10. messa

    November 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    That was only my opinion so if you don’t like it oh well…she doesn’t say anything positive out her mouth I’m glad she made it but she can do a Lil better set examples for our youth…this goes for a lot of these celebritiesand it much too deep for all that non sense you speaking on dear…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *