If you love Black folks and Black culture, it’s impossible to scroll down the Black Magazine Covers Instagram feed without a chill going down your spine. There’s Ralph Ellison on the cover of The Atlantic. Malcolm X on the front page of the foundational Black general-interest and news weekly Jet. Aaliyah’s posthumous elegance on Vibe. The singular beauty of Pam Grier on New York. Denzel on Essence. And then there are the contemporary works of art like Rihanna for [insert any magazine ever here] or a Kadir Nelson illustration for the New Yorker. Sammy Davis Jr. on GQ in 1967—the first Black man to grace this magazine’s cover—in full profile, which was rare in that era, just radiating pure charisma.
GQ talked to the page’s curator, Donovan X. Ramsey about the Black Magazine Covers account. He tells us that when magazines are at their best,