Radhika Jones on Art and Advocacy in Troubled Times

If the Dobbs When the decision was made in June, I felt an urge to speak with people who had fought so hard for abortion rights prior to 1973—those who first envisioned an America where access to abortion was a federal protection. I just happened to meet Gloria Steinem at an event recently for CARE, the humanitarian organization of which I am Executive Vice President, and we had talked about the art and fun of making magazines, among other things. At various points in her eventful career, Gloria has been an activist, organizer, writer, director and founding editor of MS. Magazine celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. So I was thrilled to invite her as Special Editor for this issue, in which we highlight artists and advocates across generations fighting on the new frontier of reproductive justice, advancing feminist causes through their work, and even sheer excellence creating an indelible space for female voices in American culture, including of course Gloria herself.

Because COVID was still pervasive during our planning, we were unable to reconstruct a personal version of the editorial meeting you’ll see in ours MS. Review. But Zoom was enough. Gloria provided historical context, sometimes terrifying — for example, that attacks on reproductive rights marked the Nazi rise to power — but she was also calm, action-oriented, and optimistic, all of which proved prescient when Kansans went to the polls in August with overwhelming majority to secure access to abortion in their state. Ahead of the November election, we hope our focus will help clarify not only the stakes of congressional and gubernatorial power and the pipelines to the presidency (see Gabe Sherman’s report on Ron DeSantis), but also the influence and influence of local lawmakers and advocates on site.

I believe that art is created in a melting pot, and in times of political and cultural stress it is wise to turn to our visionaries, those with the ability to envision the world differently, remake its characters or change its palette. It’s not about chasing escape, it’s about opening the mind to the possible. Annie Leibovitz’s portfolio of female artists, from legends Faith Ringgold and Cindy Sherman to new Warden Mickalene Thomas and Amy Sherald, reminds us that our identities, however politically limited, are also fluid, shaped by the images we are drawn to (think of Sherald’s mesmerizing portrait of Michelle Obama) or, in Sherman’s case, the diversity of people we find free to play. Lisa Robinson’s interview with our captivating cover story, Lizzo, underscores the role popular art can play in troubled times. When her music is happy, Lizzo tells us – when she’s upbeat – it’s not because things are easy, it’s because they’re difficult. That’s why we love them and their songs hit such a nerve.

https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2022/10/radhika-jones-on-art-and-advocacy-in-troubled-times Radhika Jones on Art and Advocacy in Troubled Times


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