We Love Soaps just released a tally of daytime industry bible Soap Opera Digest's last 52 covers and surprise, surprise, no black people made the cut. According to Roger Newcomb, the last black person featured on the cover of Digest was former The Young and the Restless star Victoria Rowell, and that was over a year ago. Coincidently, Conde Nast's Portfolio reported last year that African-American women make up one of the largest percentages of soap viewers. Hmm, hardly any people of color on soaps, only two or three non-Anglo writers behind-the-scenes, no blacks featured on the cover of the magazines attempting to a cater to a broadcast medium viewed largely by black folks. I'm not a mathmatician, but I think I just might have stumbled upon one hypothesis as to why soap opera are dying.
The faulty logic the flatlining magazine industry has been peddling for years to justify blatantly discriminating against actors of colors is that "people of color don't sell magazines". Tell that bold-faced lie to Barack and Michelle Obama. Every time the president and/or First Sistah so much as reach for a tissue these days, one of the celeb zines has them on the cover. A sadder example is the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga. These two weren't worthy of covers when they were blowing up the airwaves, but when one of them allegedly whups the other ones' ass in the streets of Beverly Hills, suddenly they are cover-worthy. This was also the unfortunate case with Jennifer Hudson. Why did it take this talented black woman's family being brutally murdered for the Oscar-winner to become of interest to people writing "mainstream" cover stories? Thank God for zines like Upscale, Essence, Ebony and Latina, as well as websites likeThe Young, Black and Fabulous, for showcasing women of color, whether en vogue at the time or not.
Taking it back to the soap press, you mean to tell meDebbi Morgan, Darnell Williams and/or Kristoff St. John haven't been worthy of any cover love in over a year? Sure their respective storylines on their soaps haven't been great in awhile, but that didn't keep Maurice Benard from getting the glossy, airbrush treatment eight times during the time frame Newcomb reported on. At least the editors of the weekly gossip rags are business-minded enough to put aside their antiquated biases and lopsided Madison Avenue logic, to capitalize on Obama fever. Oh well, I'm sure Ken Corday will explain it all in the next issue of Digest.
Update: After reviewing his tally again, Roger Newcomb discovered a Kristoff St. John thumb shot actually had made the cover once during the time period.