Is Essence Magazine's 'Think Like A Man Too' Cover Racist?

This month Essence celebrated the sequel to Will Packer's "Think Like A Man" film by offering up dual covers, one for the female co-stars and another featuring the male co-stars. Both covers are actually very well done and literally up to about a few minutes ago I hadn't noticed one thing, two of the film's main characters were excluded. Was it because they weren't black?

Visibly missing from the men's cover are Think Like A Man 1 & 2 stars Jerry Ferrara & Gary Owen. If you've seen the first film, you know that both characters are just as much stars in the film as their black counterparts. In fact, Ferrara's "wife" in the film is Gabrielle Union and she was featured on women's cover. Gary has been heavy in black culture for some time, once hosting BET's Comic View. He even has a black wife from Compton (in real life). Neither Jerry no Gary were featured on the cover nor included on the spread inside the mag. It begs to question, does the exclusion of the non-black characters seem a bit racist to you?

Granted, Essence is a magazine geared towards middle aged black women but then again, Jerry and Gary are very much stars of the film too. In fact, Gary Owen is married to a black woman and I've had a crush on Jerry Ferrara since he was chubby 'Turtle' on Entourage. I, for one, felt that the exclusion of them (in this case) was highly unnecessary given that they weren't just some 15 minute spot in the movie. They were real stars. If it were the other way around, I know that we as black people would definitely have felt excluded and some of us would be drafting up a petition on change.org right now. 

While I don't feel the cover is racist, I do feel that it was a misstep to not include the two stars of the film. If not on the cover, at least in the spread within the magazine. Apparently I'm not the only black person who felt like the ball was dropped, either. FarrahGray.com collected tweets from several non-white readers who shared similar sentiments.

“I wouldn’t expect the two white actors to be on the cover if they didn’t have leading roles, but at least Jerry should have been included, as he had the same screen time as the others and his role was just as important.”


“Just because this is a ‘black’ magazine, intentionally disregarding the two white men from the movie is reckless. It’s 2014, Essence. It is ok to be inclusive of other races on the front cover, not just showing different shades of black #disappointed”

"Soooo…they just gonna leave Jerry Ferara and Gary Owen out?!?! Oh ok”

“Won’t be supporting this issue. (Would have) been a great cover shoot had all male cast members been represented. #diversity & #inclusion should apply across the board, not just when it pertains to ‘minorities’”

“They should have included Jerry and Gary…it’s only fair. They are in the movie too. If it was reversed and the only two black stars in a summer hit movie weremissing from a magazine cover, we would kick up a big stink about it.”

Gary Owen shared the cover on his Instagram and seems to have taken it in stride.

So what do you think? As a race who fights for equality, should we have made an effort to do the same?

Views: 1830

Comment by V on June 10, 2014 at 11:02am

I agree with your comments El8: since Essence is 'our' mag and their readers, as well as the audience for the movie is largely black, I kust think they focused on the brothas. I don't think it was an intentional slight but it was in poor taste not to include ALL of the cast members in the spread.

Comment by V on June 10, 2014 at 11:03am

PS-I know Taraji thinks they should have been included, after all the hell she raised when TV Guide omitted her from their 'Person of Interest' cover-issue.

Comment by CCD is Workin on a baller 4 she on June 10, 2014 at 11:09am

After the hoopla people made over The Rock being on the cover, even though his daddy is black, the non-blacks probably said (privately) they'd skip it.

Comment by Tone on June 10, 2014 at 11:21am
They should have never add white men in the movie
In the first place.
Comment by SoLuscious on June 10, 2014 at 11:49am

the magazine cover is filled with yummy lusciousness.

Comment by LivingLikeItsGolden on June 10, 2014 at 11:56am

I knew someone was missing in this picture! lol well since Gary said the cover called for 5 guys I'm gonna say that they called for the 5 most popular guys. kevin's character played less of a role than Jerry's (he was the narrator and friend mostly) but because kevin is more popular, he probably got that spot first. Idk what to say about the race issue, I've seen both black and white movies do this so...lol yeah 

Comment by MS. UCAN NEVA GET ENUFF!! on June 10, 2014 at 12:12pm

If this was reversed, black people would have had petitions going around to shut the magazine down...ijs.

Comment by Tone on June 10, 2014 at 12:38pm
What are you talking about it happens to us all the time
And nothing happens, they don't even put us in their movies.
Gary owners being married to a black woman don't mean s***. Most black women with white men are sellouts a
Comment by CCD is Workin on a baller 4 she on June 10, 2014 at 1:19pm

MUNGE, you know Black Twitter would be carrying on! LOL

Comment by TheLadyJosephine on June 10, 2014 at 2:18pm

Well...back in the day when Miami Vice was the hot show, Don Johnson used to get solo covers without Phillip Michael Thomas (mostly white women's magazines).  Ebony did a feature and showed them both on the cover.  The point, magazines cater to their readership.  Luckily for many, black readership champions fairness. 

With that said,  this magazine for and about BLACK WOMEN attempted to produce a cover that put our perceived interests FIRST.  In this case, it was a little obvious, and a misstep (especially since we don't know who the brother in the hat was) but  I appreciate the gesture because some others wouldn't have considered us at all.  Also at the end of the day, Think Like A Man was targeted towards black folk but crossed lines and generally accepted.  It makes since that the black men would be emphasized by a black magazine.

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