Beyonce who received full editorial control over the issue, selected 23-year-old artist Tyler Mitchell to do the photos, making him the first African American photographer to shoot a Vogue cover.
“Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like,” she wrote of her choice to use Mitchell’s eye.
As for the idea behind the shoot, Beyoncé said she wanted to celebrate her natural body, as part of accepting her fuller figure after giving birth to twins Rumi and Sir.
“I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies,” she said. “That’s why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot.”
Later on, she investigates her ancestry. “I researched my ancestry recently and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave.
I had to process that revelation over time,” she said. “I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective. I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins.
Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives.”
In another portion, she looks at the artists who paved the way for her own career, and assumes the same responsibility for the next generation.
“Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on,” she said. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents.”
She also spoke of the intentions of her history-making Coachella performance, which made her the first black woman to headline the event.
“It was a celebration of all the people who sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, who moved the world forward so that it could welcome a woman of color to headline such a festival,” she said.
You can read the full interview at Vogue.