Not your typical, glamorous pose, is it? Can’t anything be simple? Some folks are offended. They feel King James looks a little too much like King Kong with Giselle Bundchen as Fay Wray. The photo is by Annie Lebowitz, who is known for placing her subjects in surreal settings—think Whoopi Goldberg submerged in a tub full of milk. Is Lebowitz provoking the viewer in her usual way? It’s the magazine’s shape issue and other athletes paired with models include Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, and snowboarder Shaun White. But none of the other photos is as. . .intense.
So, is this a hot photo of a strong Black athlete doin’ his thing on the cover of Vogue? Or is this the Black man as noble savage—in case we were getting a little too used to looking at the guy in the slim suit and tie who is running for president.