Vogue gave Beyoncé full creative control for their September issue spread. Go Vogue! Shortly after she hired Tyler Mitchell, who is 23 years old, making him the first black photographer and one of the youngest to shoot a cover in Vogue’s 126-year history. Go Beyoncé! In an interview with Vogue, Tyler commented, “For so long, black people have been considered things,” he adds. “We’ve been thingified physically, sexually, emotionally. With my work, I’m looking to revitalize and elevate the black body.” This story exemplifies both the power of diversity and youth voice to shift perspectives, create stunning art and make history in the process.
Tyler is well on his way to becoming a superstar, but unfortunately, he is the exception, not the rule. So many young aspiring creatives sit idly by waiting for gatekeepers to recognize and embrace their creative genius. Often for these youth, a lack of talent is not the issue, but instead, it’s a lack of social capital and access to real opportunities that limit their success.
So the next time you have the chance to hire creative talent, consider seeking out an aspiring young artist on the margins of the industry. Also, pay them an equitable rate. Remember young artists are experts on youth culture. They, like other diverse talents (e.g., underrepresented minorities), bring a unique perspective and skill set to your project that will help produce vastly different outcomes/outputs.