JET Magazine Does Owe Fantasia An Apology

February 26, 2013  |  

According to published reports, Fantasia Barrino is not feeling very much like a JET’s Beauty of the Week:

The singer erupted on Instagram, chastising the magazine for using an old photograph of her: ‘This saddens Me!!! It is clear that this picture is 10 Years Old and JET Magazine puts it on the Cover!! After I send them the NEW LOOK AND DIRECTION. . SAD!!! I WANT A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM JET. Now im not sure if the interview is correct. SEE!! America they and use me as they crash Dummy BUT NO MORE. IF I DONT STAND FOR SOMETHING ILL FALL FOR ANYTHING.’ “

According to Richard Prince, of Journal-isms, Mitzi Miller, JET’s editor-in-chief, issued a statement in defense of the black magazine using the 10 year old picture for its cover:

“JET magazine is honored to have Fantasia grace the cover of its March issue,” her statement began. “It is unfortunate that Fantasia is displeased with the cover selection, however JET stands by its decision,” Miller wrote. “As standard editorial practice, JET consulted with Fantasia’s team, but reserves the right to select the image we deem as most appropriate for JET’s brand and reflective of the cover story sentiment. “JET continues to root for Fantasia’s success and encourages her fans to pick up the new issue.”

Also noted in Journal-isms Miller’s Facebook message to friends, in which she expressed her frustrations over the cover photo matter: “The fact that I wasted an hour of my workday writing a press release to address an issue created by a person who cannot even read it is just… “

…ugly – there, I finished that for her.

Seriously, making fun of Fantasia’s history with illiteracy just seems a tad bit condescending, which makes this entire situation feel worse because it kind of implies how little concern the magazine might have had over its subject. According to various published reports, Fantasia used this interview to open up about about not only her new project but all of her “public woes and embarrassments,” including her financial problems, Twitter faux paus and scandalous relationship with her baby father. The excerpts from the interview I’d read indicate that this was a story of trial and triumph. And that Fantasia is making some changes in her life, for the better. And while the general rule is that a publication maintains editorial discretion, why should Fantasia not be upset over pictures that no longer represent who she is? Sort of like the illiterate joke. I, for one, always thought it was heroic and brave that she spoke so candidly about an affliction, which affects about 14 percent of the U.S. population. Sometimes we forget that not everybody’s trials in life are the same and neither are their heroes.

And as noted by Prince, for a magazine, whose reputation is primarily built upon its stellar photo documentation of black life and culture, including being the single black publication to run photos of the lynched body of Emmett Till, it’s a wonder why it is not shooting its own covers, like other publications. Perhaps it is just a matter of economics from slumping readership. But we all know that Fantasia has been everyone’s favorite whipping girl for a very long time.

And sure, she does make it easy, right? I mean with the married baby father and her most recent rant about being “judged” in a world, which is more accepting of legalized same-sex marriage and marijuana than her. The delivery was wrong – and the equivalency was false – but the overall point, is very much valid. Folks really do judge Fanny much harsher, and through a much more constrictive lens, than they do other celebrities. I don’t recall anyone having their suicide attempt scrutinized, dismissed and mocked more than what happened to Fantasia. Not even Mariah Carey. In an old interview, Fanny speculated it was because of her dark skin. I think that is part of it. I also think that being from the wrong side of the tracks is the other part of it. Let’s be honest here: Fantasia is, for a lack of a better word, ghetto. A product of a single mother, reared in the projects in the real South, only to become a young single mother herself, Fantasia is really not that far removed from many of the other women, whom folks might see in the [neighbor]hood or on WorldStarHipHip – other than the fact that she had noticeable and undeniable talent. That was once part of Fantasia’s appeal. Folks loved being able to cheer for the underdog when she was doing riffs and runs and bawling her eyes out across the “American Idol” stage. However when she stopped being the underdog and actually started appearing, for real, on real platforms like Billboard and at the Grammys, Fantasia stopped being the Disney fairytale story and instead gravitated to the crucial sphere of “nope, she’s not representing us.” When that happened, her story was no longer valued.

When it comes to Fantasia, the general gist I get from folks is that she should forever be humbled. Even though she was the rightful season 2 winner of “American Idol,” some folks, particularly our folks, respond to her as if she should be grateful to be on the stage; grateful to have a career; grateful to be mentioned at all. But despite all her personal misgivings and lack of social “grace” Fantasia has a right to have her name and her image respected just like any other celebrity in her position.  And when folks fail to honor that, then as any other person, she has a right to demand her honor.

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  • Look, we all have bad days. And we’ve ALL gone OFF on facebook at some
    point or another. So Jet used a picture they found in archives instead
    of the ugly ones she sent- SO? Fantasia should not have questioned the
    truthfulness of the interview- DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS IN
    JOURNALISM? The BIGGEST insult! I think the lesson learned here is
    FACEBOOK IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. Apology accepted. Fantasia couldn’t dance
    naked in Times square to get me to care about her career. We forget so
    easily that she’s a home wrecka who got a tattoo of a MARRIED MAN’s name
    on her body. Sit down girl. Ms. Miller, that stung but she’ll live-
    STAY AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA It’s a career Killa. (Can you imagine what
    kind of dreadful things Anna Wintour have said about folks over the past
    20 years?). We all lose our cool and vent to our peeps. He who has
    NEVER done that cast the first stone. Like I said Apology accepted. On
    to the next. Because of Jet people are talking about Fantasia again-
    Mitzi, JOB WELL DONE!

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  • MelCruz

    I called the Jet Corporate office and the person I spoke to was rude and condesending. I believe the Editor felt comfortable making the Negative Insulting comments because the is the Jet Corporate culture!!! Jet Magazine insulted everyone who is iliterate…and trying to overcome it.

  • SHA

    Finally – I am glad MN decided to follow up the original article. She deserves to be respected – I don’t care if she still cannot read one word out of the freakin dictionary and she has 3 baby daddys and still not married. No one has the right to disrepect another person or image based on your personal assumptions of who a person is – PERIOD!!!

  • Pingback: Ouch: Jet Magazine Editor Disrespects Fantasia for Being Illiterate | Naturally Moi()

  • DianaDT

    This whole event is sad on both sides now. I agree with Wendy Williams that Fantasia should have handled this privately with her publicist. When the story first broke, I felt that Jet did Fantasia a favor, her “new look” is not a good one, it is not flattering and it’s not fresh. I am sad to see how Jet responded as well.

  • Jet is so irrelevant, isn’t this the magazine that’s like three wide? Don’t worry Fantasia, nobody will be able to see the cover anyway.

  • anonymouse

    when did mariah try to commit suicide? if you meant her nervous breakdown in 01,it was well publicized and people still call her ‘crazy’ to this day.

  • lil o me

    Her talent is undeniable. Her struggle is real however, when you know better you do better. She has been given advise from some of our most cherished/ accomplished women. TAKE HEED. Stop acting out.. Now you represent us all, stop reinforcing the stereotypes

  • Alyssa

    lmaoooo That comment was rude as hell! But it ain’t stop me from crying laughing! lololololololol

  • Great article! The comment made by the EIC was harsh and unnecessary. It truly speaks for the lack of concern or regard they had for printing the issue with the pictures that had been provided.

  • smh

    Seriously, does anyone still read Jet? haven’t read one in YEARS!

  • FromUR2UB

    I agree that Ebony/Jet should have photographed her. I believe they used to photograph their subjects, but I guess times have gotten hard. But, whether it’s because Fantasia is ghettoish, unsophisticated, country, unpolished or whatever adjective you want to apply to her, she doesn’t seem to get that the pictures she submitted are for another publication. She may have thought the images were classy, but an abundance of gold, glitter and shiny things usually achieves the opposite effect. It’s like people who think gold teeth represent a display of wealth, when in reality, it just makes them look like po’ folk. I wouldn’t say she should feel privileged to be on the cover, but the magazine’s staff are professionals who understand how an image influences perception, apparently better than she does. Fantasia needs an image makeover. Those pics are disastrous and will do nothing to enhance her image, or garner the respect she desires. Furthermore, I’d like to know who that photographer was so I can be sure I never use them.

  • Mia

    She needs to get over herself. All this to do over an ugly picture! No matter what pic they use she still looks like she smells of brute, feet, and pork rinds.

    Ain’t nobody got time for u Fanny!

  • AngieB

    this was a very well done article and i agree 100% that they owe her an apology. I don’t even read Jet any more so I wouldn’t have bought it anyway.

  • Randall

    Jet not the only one.i was on the so call fan page the other day reading fantasiaville and the fool on their called her a dummy and they did not call him out. She has become people’s whipping board. They wrong and call themselves fans That’s why people like that lady at Jet don’t respect her cause some of her fans don’t. The girl can sang her you know what off all I care about. Why this not on facebook?

  • A real fan

    Fantasia went back to school, did her haters forget that?

  • A real fan

    Jet showed a lack of class. Now who ghetto.

  • A real fan

    Fantasia has been working her tail off where you been she has been and is paying her dues.i have not really heard her say that much and when she does people act the fool like stfu.i for one glad she spoke then we would have never really known how JET and maybe others really feel about this oh and Mr. Cook is single just like she is. Stop judging this woman so harshly.enjoy her gift.

  • klynn

    I remember Jet magazine from back in the day when I was a kid. My parents were so proud there was such a thing as a black owned magazine or anything black owned; may they RIP. It makes me wonder if evil is really taking over! There was a time when we only had ourselves to lift each other up; this is like watching a dynasty die. Fantasia is young, she can turn her life around. All thing are possibl though Christ Jesus.

  • Ronald

    It’s clearly obvious the woman had no real regards for Fantasia as an artis. Fantasia is very talented. As she should be respected for her craft. Jet was more wrong than Fantasia they insulted her and she has gone back to school to correct her literacy issues and should be applauded for that not ridiculed or humiliated.In fact Jet looked a lot smaller than Fantasia they suppose to be better than she. They looked classless. And ghetto.

  • Anna

    After reading this I got to side with Tasia on this. So wrong on 2 many levels. This industry bias. That woman don’t like Tasia any fool can see that ish.

  • Anna

    Fantasia right. Jet WRONG point blank all the way WRONGGGG!!!!oh, yea they owe her an apology. Bigtime.They not going to do it cause they had no respect for her anyway.

  • Folks on here rebuking JET Magazine, but probably at home dying laughing. I know I just spit my tea all over the monitor with that comment about her lack of reading skills. That was unexpected and just mean. That was probably payback. The whole situation is just crazy! Please apologize to her JET, if not for the photo, for the mean comment.

    • Lydia

      Yes, speak it, Jessica. What Mitzi said was inappropriate and mean, but when I did LOL when I read it.

  • True that

    Yes, Jet does owe her an apology. Fantasia is very talented and gifted and is so underrated and the media has been bias towards her. and that’s the dam truth.I believe too it is because she is not almost white looking.

  • Belinda

    Fantasia did not insult the people at JET she only spoke what she thought to be wrong. I am giving her a pass. I agree she has been a whipping board and held to a much higher standard. Did JET publicize that she did get her GED no or did any other publication. The positive about her they don’t share. They were wrong and had she not spoke out we would not have known how they really felt about her. What was said was how they felt and they did not care what pic went on cover. Read what that woman really said. He true feelings about Fantasia as a person.She was condescending and really called her ugly.

    • ath

      I wonder how many of us would have known about the issue had she not post it on Instagram.

  • Lynn

    Is Jet even a factor anymore? I mean how many magazines are they selling these days? How rude and insensitive of the magazine as a WHOLE, because the editor represents the magazine! Fanny may have her short comings, but we all do. Who are we to judge and throw stones? I really wish people would leave her alone and let her be. She is not doing anything that hasn’t been done before. I understand editorial control, but it sounds like a heads up would have been nice beforehand.

  • Yvette

    Both sides are wrong. JET is wrong for not letting Fantasia and per team know that they decided to use an old outdated (but good) picture of her before the issue came out. Fantasia was wrong for taking her valid frustration to instragram instead of going directly to JET. (Before I get all kinds of shade thrown, I don’t know for sure that she didn’t contact JET before going to social media, it is purely my speculation). Lastly, I don’t even know where to begin with the editor-in chief posting that very low blow about Fantasia on her facebook page. I don’t care how upset she was with how Fantasia reacted, she is super duper unprofessional and needs to suffer some sort of consequence for saying that Fantasia can’t read. Really? Mitzi SHAME ON YOU!

  • SheBe

    NOW Jet needs to apologize. That comment about her lack of skills in reading was not ok. The photo’s I gave a pass to but this is just BEYOND unprofessional and tacky. Why would you put that out there on a paper trail? You could lose your job for that “opinion” you know.

    • Beejcee

      You are right. Ms. Miller needs to be called on the carpet for that comment. She wasted an hour of her day —doing her job!!

  • jet was dead wrong

  • i love this article so true

  • Britt

    This article made good points. It was wrong for the JET Editor to mock Fantasia’s illiteracy. That wasn’t right at all. I also don’t think the initial photos that Fantasia wanted JET to use were editorial worthy. Those were more album package/promotional shots. I also think Fantasia should have addressed her concerns privately with JET and not have made it a public topic. Going forward, JET should have a photo shoot for its cover subjects and Fantasia should do photo shoots for magazines that want to feature her.

  • Chase

    This is a really great article. The comment made by Mitzi Miller, JET’s editor-in-chief’s was really ignorant and a unnecessary low blow. She owes Fantasia an apology for her remark. This article should be posted on her FB page.

  • Everyone loves an underdog we just don’t want a perpetual underdog. After you’ve been given the break and the benefit of the doubt all bets are off when you KEEP making dumb decisions. I will agree there is a touch of colorism. Alicia Keyes sleeps with and has a child by a married man and next thing you know she’s on Oprah and singing at the Superbowl. Fantasia is STILL getting crucified and maligned.

    • Stephanie

      In my humble opinion, both Alicia AND Fantasia have gotten their fare share of criticism regarding their relationships. It may “appear” that Alicia is getting off easy, but she (Alicia) is working doubly hard to promote her music, movies, etc. The woman is booking stages ALL over the place & going on talk shows she’s NEVER been on trying to get people back in her good graces & interested in her career again (she most def took a negative hit this go round b/c of her relationship). She’s not grinding this hard b/c she wants to, she’s grinding/working this hard b/c she HAVE to. And as for race (& I hate to bring someone else in a conversation like this), BUT Gabrielle Union (a beautiful, dark skinned woman) is also being criticized for her relationship with D. Wade and she’s continuing to move along with her life and career. Alicia & Gabrielle handle their backlash, criticism, scandal, etc. much better than Fantasia did. And with ALL that being said, I’m a fan of Fantasia’s & wishing nothing but the best for her; she’s working towards happiness and she rightfully deserves it!!!!

      • Carl

        But there’s never been any real proof that Fantasia did anything wrong. There was an alleged lawsuit that was thrown out when the North Carolina judge declared that the wife didn’t tell the truth about when she and her husband had separated. We never heard a peep from her afterwards, everything was speculative and gossip. In Keys case, we heard from the wife on many occasions.

        • Stephanie

          Exactly, we’ve only really heard 1 side of the story. And court case or not, there’s NO denying that Antwaun (sp?) was still “legally” married when he started dating Fantasia (ALL of the men were still “legally” married, on paper anyway) when they began their new “relationships”. & ALL of the women knew, too! No one is better than the other!

          • Carl

            They were legally separated too. There’s nothing wrong with dating when you’re in that process, in some states the courts even encourage it (that’s how my parents met).

            • SheBe

              There’s nothing wrong with dating while separated? You are still married. Some states enforce a separation clause before divorce for people to work on their marriage & go to counseling (that’s the intention). Not date.

              • The Truth

                The thing is some divorces take YEARS to be finalized. Even ones with no kids. Do we REALLY expect these people to remain single the ENTIRE time their waiting for their divorce to be finalized by the courts? REALLY?

                Most states require couples to be separated (not living together) before they can even file for a regular divorce. Some states it’s a few months others it’s a year.

                I guess with Fantasia IF they started dating while he was separated then she didn’t break up his marriage. Alicia Keys also denies breaking up Switz Beats and Marshonda. Gabrielle Union denies breaking up D Wade and his ex-wife I’m not sure of the specifics of none of these only the gossip lol.

              • THANK YOU! People are so mixed and twisted up these days. It’s no wonder why the world is heading to hell in a hand basket. As for Fantasia, I think people criticize her so crucially because we know she has a church background. While Christians aren’t perfect, they are expected to know (and do) better than most other folks.

      • Okay. If you don’t think there is colorism in the music industry/media . . .. . can I live in your castle of delusion? Color aside, I think that if Fantasia was a little prettier she would be A LOT more successful. that’s just the nature of the beast. I say all that to say that although she has more talent than Alicia (in my opinion) Alicia is going to get more allowances than Fantasia ever will.

  • kierah

    Like I said before, it was clear that Jet had little to no regard for Fantasia or her team. They would not have treated another celeb like this.

    As for people talking about how lucky Fantasia is to get a cover, by the same token, Jet is lucky someone wants to be on their cover as well. Jet is largely relegated to hair salons and grandmama’s doily covered coffee table.