Rihanna faces “Essence“ magazine (Jan/Feb 2021 issue)

Rihanna faces American “Essence“ magazine (Jan/Feb 2021 issue) shot by Lorna Simpson

Rihanna faces the just revealed cover of the American “Essence“ magazine for the January/February 2021 issue.

The cover art by African-American photographer and artist Lorna Simpson has a Halite (a rock salt) photoshopped onto her head. The litograph from 1967 was first printed in Germany by Claus Caspari. Her necklace by jewelry designer Michelle Ong from Siegelson was designed in 2001 and includes 2,190 round and pear-shape diamonds.

The 12-page portfolio entitled “Of Earth & Sky“ portrays Rihanna in collages that were inspired by Simpson’s previous works. There is no interview.

Simpson (60) lives and works in New York and is known for her conceptual photography. Her art interplays between historical memory, culture and identity and explores the stereotypes of race and gender. The magazine revealed that it was Jahleel Weaver’s idea to get Simpson on board for the project, but Rihanna was trepidatious about taking the first step. “Essence“ quotes her saying: “Lorna is a legend. Honestly, I just didn’t think I could get her. But I like reaching for the stars and I like challenging myself.

“[Collaborating] with Rihanna and Essence magazine is quite incredible. As an artist, I’m able to deliver these unusual images of someone who is so well-known and so recognizable… It’s an amazing opportunity.“

Lorna Simpson

Rihanna already had a spread inside the June 2007 and September 2008 issues, but this is her first time on cover of “Essence“. The monthly lifestyle magazine targets African-American women. Out on newsstands Jan 19. Check out the full shoot below.

Photographer/collage: Lorna Simpson
Writer: Zora Simpson Casebere
Styling: Jahleel Weaver
Creative Directon: Jahleel Weaver
Hair: Yusef Williams
Make-Up: Raisa Flowers
Manicure: Maria Salandra
Tailor: Grace Kim