My 10 picks of controversial magazine covers

Guess you heard about Newsweek’s latest mag cover.  Talk about biased journalism! At least we know where Newsweek stands on our President by making conservative historian Niall Ferguson‘s one-sided article the cover story.  Do you think it’s fair journalism or did Newsweek cross the line?

Here are more magazine covers that generated their share of raised eyebrows. What’s your opinion?

Well! This Time cover story on attachment parenting left a bad taste in many readers’ mouths. But apparently not for this little boy. Is this sensationalism? I say heck yeah! Kinda nasty too. And I breastfed both of my sons. Tell me what you think. But first, finish your milk.

The Cover of the usually white bread Publishers Weekly magazine got unmercifully picked on for what was perceived to be its insensitivity toward African-American literature. Many felt that the double entendre of showing Afro picks to pun African-American publishing trends, was insulting and racist. What do you think when you first see the cover? Now here’s the back story: The cover was actually designed by an African-American at PW who took the work of Lauren Kelly from the book  Posing Beauty: African-American Images from the 1890s to the Present by Deborah Willis. Posing Beauty was one of the books featured in Publisher’s Weekly. PW issued a heartfelt apology.  Does knowing the back story change your opinion?

King Kong makes a comeback, this time as Lebron James on the cover of Vogue. Black ape-man grabs white damsel in distress. Too me, it’s obviously racist and insulting. Whoever came up with this concept belongs in a zoo.

More Comebacks! Nobody told me Jesus’ second coming would be as Kanye West! Rolling Stone’s cover got anti hip-hop fundamentalists speaking in tongues on this one. I’m a Christian, but this didn’t bother me so much. Charlton Heston played Moses and he was an atheist. Speaking of atheists, check out the next cover….

Ricky Gervais on the New Humanist magazine cover pokes fun at Jesus lovers. True, atheists have the right to their opinions. But just like they don’t want to be offended by my beliefs, I don’t want to be ridiculed for mine.  Ricky and New Humanist can go to hell. What do you think?

In December 1963, Esquire magazine graced its cover with the first Black Santa Claus; actually World Heavyweight Champion, Sonny Liston. George Lois art directed and Carl Fischer shot it. Needless to say this shocked the ho ho ho out of White America, especially down South. Esquire lost thousands in ad revenue. But the cover gained high esteem and praise for its daring move. Would you want Sonny sliding down your chimney Christmas night?

Words could not describe the unspeakable sorrow and  loss felt on September 11, 2001. The New Yorker captured it with this cover by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly. Look closely and see what is literally missing.

From ravishing to ravaged. This Time cover on U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan sums up the damage of war and terrorism. Are we exiting a nation unprepared to defend itself? This teen-aged girl named Aisha, had her nose and ears chopped off by the Taliban. Is Time playing with our emotions with this cover?

Nicki, Nicki, Nicki. Complex magazine’s 10th anniversary issue deserves a complex subject on its cover. This really isn’t that controversial to me, but to my more conservative friends…Lawdy, Lawdy. I think the art direction is pretty cool and fun. What’s your take?

Out of my 10 picks, which one is the most controversial to you and why?


  1. Kembo Tom

    Nice post! Thanks for the humor along the ride. Of the lot I really like the Black Santa. I can only image the impact it had during its day. Bravo to the brilliant and brave! Keep doing your thing!

  2. Tony B.

    I really didn’t like the New Humanist cover. Insulting someone’s most deeply held beliefs is not a good way to start a dialogue. I never equated the LeBron cover with King Kong, but seeing them side by side there can be little doubt.

    Great Article!

  3. Stephen Reginald

    Newsweek has spent months praising Obama, making fun of and ridiculing Republicans, and still no sales. So they thought they’d throw a bone to conservatives and see if anyone cares. They’ll be back on the Obama train just in time for the election, I predict. Yawn.

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