Idris Elba’s Sexiest Man Alive Cover Is A Gamechanger For Black Entertainers

On Tuesday, November 6, Idris Elba was named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, becoming the only third man of color in the franchise's 34-year history and the moment is so crucial for many reasons. Over the years, People's selection for the annual honor has traditionally, and nottably, been predominately white. In fact, before Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson won the title in 2016, the last man of color named Sexiest Man Alive was Denzel Washington back in 1996, leaving a whopping twenty-year gap between installments featuring Black cover stars. Although it's not immediately clear how People reached this year's decision, its latest selection of Elba is certainly a great moment for members of the Black community who often feel invisible and poorly depicted when it comes to seeing representations of themselves in feature covers and covers. While the British-born actor is certainly well-deserved of the accolade, as there is definitely no denying handsome good looks and undeniable talent, having him on the cover finally expresses a bit of recognition and appreciation for the beauty of blackness that has long been ignored in mainstream media. Despite Elba's recognition as a heartthrob being long overdue, the announcement of his cover could not have come to a better time as Hollywood attempts to shift its narrative towards diversity. In its decision to feature the 46-year-old entertainer as the center of its most highly anticipated issue, it seems that People hopes to become a part of the change that seeks to offer a more accurate and inclusive representation of the real world. While this year's People cover helps to put an end to what has felt like an eternity closed doors, it still remains curious why men of color have been neglected from the Sexiest Man Alive competition for so long. The dominance and presence of leading men, musicians, and sports figures – Will Smith, Kevin Hart, Jamie Fox, Eddie Murphy, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Lenny Kravitz, Derek Jeter, Bruno Mars, Ice Cube, Donald Glover, Michael B Jordan, Martin Lawrence, Drake, Pharrell Williams, and Cuba Gooding Jr., the list goes on – makes it difficult to understand exactly why Black people must wait long. That said, there have definitely been enough years of the title to go around. Four white men – George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Richard Gere – have even been honored with the award twice. It's also worth pointing out the fact that the contributions of people of color have largely impacted and influenced every aspect of the entertainment and sports industries since the beginning of time. The recent success of movies and TV shows such as Get Out, Black Panther, Creed, Black-ish, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Atlanta, and Insecure have totally helped to debunk the myth that mainstream audiences are not interested in projects featuring Black people in lead roles.Sure, the idea of ​​what makes a person "sexy" is based purely on subjectivity, but there are some people of color, like Elba, who have been tagged as universal sex symbols for years and still have not earned cover. It should also be noted that People's formula for making the determination has not been made crystal clear either. However, even with those factors considered, the almost annual negation of people of color from the cover is still inexplicable – and frankly, it's downright hurtful – both emotionally and psychologically. Being able to identify with someone who looks like you is a critical factor in one's growth and validation that is, sadly, an opportunity that is not afforded to many outside the straight male demographic male. Without proper representation in the media, people of color are not being offered the tools that they need to succeed in the real world, which can ultimately become detrimental to one's development, according to Broadly.Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images In 34 years, Black men have accounted for three out of the 30, or 10%, of the men who have been awarded the "sexiest" title which is simply lopsided and unfair – to say the least. A 2010 interview with People's former Managing Editor Larry Hackett helped to shed some light on the annual decision making process. Speaking with ABC News during that time, Hackett explained, "We know it has to be a mix of someone who's hot but well-known. Not too young, not too old and someone who, frankly, maybe we have not thought of. "I have continued," Sexy certainly has to do with someone being good-looking, and has to do with a kind of romantic, flirtatious physical appeal that may be beyond just academic appreciation of the way they look. We want some mystery in our sexiness. " In 2012, People senior writer Julie Jordan spoke about the subject USA Today, adding, "We watch these guys over the year, and someone is always burbling to the surface … It's about looking at the whole year." She also shared that they "pay attention to comments on," and also ask "female celebrities" to pick their favorites. Alexandro Koerner / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images As the fight for full inclusivity continues to march, Idris Elba being named People's Sexiest Man Alive certainly proves that there's an evolution taking place in Hollywood. While it's a great step in the right direction, the long road ahead will hopefully help kick down doors for others such as Michael B. Jordan, Donald Glover, and many more who follow the footsteps of Elba.

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