Harper’s Bazaar names its first black editor-in-chief

Harper’s Bazaar is set to be run by its first black editor in the magazine’s 153 year history, the publication said on Tuesday.

Publishing company Hearst appointed Samira Nasr as editor-in-chief of the U.S. edition. She will start on July 6, replacing Glenda Bailey, who stepped back in January to become a global consultant to the company after two decades at the helm.

The news was shared on the magazine’s own website late on Tuesday.

Nasr was most recently the executive fashion director at Vanity Fair, for rival publishing house Conde Nast. In part due to the rapid decline in advertising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Conde Nast has been shrinking its workforce in recent months.

In 2017, Conde Nast appointed Edward Enninful as the first black editor of Vogue U.K. in its 100 year history while in the same year, Vanity Fair appointed Radhika Jones, who has an Indian mother, to lead the publication.

Nasr was born in Montreal, Canada and lives in Brooklyn, New York, according to Harper’s Bazaar. She started her career as an assistant to Vogue’s creative director at large Grace Coddington.

In a video recorded for her Instagram feed, Nasr noted her background, saying her father is Lebanese and her mother is from Trinidad. She said her worldview is that “representation matters.”

“My lens by nature is colorful and so it is important to me to begin a new chapter in Bazaar’s history by shining a light on all individuals who I believe are the inspiring voices of our time,” Nasr said.

“To all the protestors, community organizers, activists and those currently fighting to be safe, to be seen and heard through our own narratives — I see you, I thank you and I hope we can join forces to amplify the message of equality because black lives matter.”

The media world has been roiled this week by high profile resignations amid nationwide protests against racism and police brutality. The demonstrations were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died in police custody.

Adam Rapoport, the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, resigned on Monday after a photo surfaced showing him in brownface and amid allegations that the magazine discriminated against people of color.

Also on Monday, Christene Barberich, the editor and co-founder of Refinery29, announced that she would step down after several employees said they had been discriminated against at the company.

Those resignations came after news on Sunday that New York Times Editorial Page Editor James Bennet had resigned after his department published a widely criticized article that called for the military to suppress the protests inspired by Floyd.

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