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