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Footballer who tackled poverty stars in British Vogue's Black 'hope' issue

by Darnell Christie | @darnellchristie | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 4 August 2020 15:45 GMT

Marcus Rashford and Adwoa Aboah stand side by side on front cover of September edition of British Vogue Magazine, Manchester 2020, Thomson Reuters Foundation/Handout by Vogue

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Fashion magazine celebrates influential Black voices in global edition dedicated to the theme of hope

By Darnell Christie

LONDON, Aug 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Footballer Marcus Rashford, whose campaigning pushed the government to change policy on free school meals, has won further recognition for his poverty-fighting efforts - starring on the cover of a British Vogue edition celebrating Black leaders.

The Manchester United and England forward appears alongside fashion model and mental health campaigner Adwoa Aboah on the cover of September's magazine, which features them and other activists including leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Rashford and Aboah were photographed by Misan Harriman, who became the first Black man to photograph the cover image in the iconic magazine's 104-year history.

Rashford, 22, emerged as an influential anti-poverty voice during Britain's coronavirus lockdown, successfully campaigning for school food vouchers to be provided over the summer holiday, revealing he had relied on such support as a boy.

He also helped raise 20 million pounds ($25 million) to supply meals to struggling families during the pandemic.

"I always swore to my mum that if one day I was in a position to help, then I would, and an opportunity presented itself," he said in the Vogue interview.

Addressing the issue of race, Rashford told the magazine:

"I'm a Black man from a Black family and I will eventually have Black children. I want my children to grow up in a world where regardless of the colour of your skin you have the same opportunities to succeed in life."

Premier League Footballer, Marcus Rashford poses for a photo in fashion magazine Vogue, Manchester 2020, Thomson Reuters Foundation/Handout by Vogue

British Vogue's editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, said he asked Harriman to take the pictures for September's edition after seeing his work photographing London's Black Lives Matter protests in June.

Enninful, who became the magazine's first Black editor in 2017, said next month's edition would be "a rallying cry for the future". All 26 of Vogue's international editions are dedicating their covers to the theme of hope.

"British Vogue's September issue is our show of thanks. When all is said and done, it's clear that 2020 will be remembered as a tough year, but also as a moment of necessary change. The future starts now," Enninful wrote in an article for the edition.

The September issue also includes a fold-out page featuring 20 "inspirational faces" in Black Lives Matter such as the movement's co-founder Patrisse Cullors, BBC Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo and best-selling author Reni Eddo-Lodge.

In June, Black models, stylists and fashion photographers took to social media to post their own versions of Vogue covers in a call for greater diversity in the fashion industry.

Vogue's editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, has apologised for mistakes made by the magazine in the past.

"I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators," she said in June.

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(Reporting by Darnell Christie; Additional reporting by Sonia Elks; Editing by Helen Popper; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.