Does Nene Leakes deserve to cover Ebony magazine?

Reality TV’s reining diva, Nene Leakes, landed on the cover of the December issue of Ebony Magazine, and some people are not pleased.

The cover finds Leakes seductively bathing in tub full of diamonds while holding a glass of bubbly and serving up her best 100-watt smile. The tagline? “Nene Leakes Gets Her Hollywood Hustle On.”

Leakes heads up Ebony’s annual “Money and Power” issue, which lists the 100 most influential African Americans of the year, and many are crying foul at her inclusion.

But should they?

Although she served up major drama along side her cast mates on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, Leakes has parlayed her reality show antics into two meaty roles on network TV. She scored a recurring role on Fox’s hit show Glee and landed a part on the NBC comedy, The New Normal. Leakes also recently signed on with a licensing agency to create a clothing and accessories line.  So the Atlanta diva has definitely been making power moves as of late–making a transition most reality stars are unable to pull off–but does she deserve to grace the cover of Ebony, one of black America’s most storied publications?

According to Demetria Lucas, frequent CLUTCH contributor and former associate editor at Essence, the answer is a resounding no.

Lucas wrote on Facebook: “Really, Ebony? Really? Is this a joke?” and likened the picture of Leakes to one better suited for the skin mag Black Tail.

Despite this objection, it’s hard to deny that black folks have helped Leakes attain her success. Many black women have been staunch supporters of Real Housewives of Atlanta, making it the cable network’s most popular draw, and Leakes has remained its most talked about personality. So can we really be mad at Ebony for giving people what they obviously want?

Make no mistake about it; Ebony magazine is an institution. It has graced newsstands since 1945 and has had prominent black folks from the President and civil rights leaders, to legendary artists and entertainers on the cover. Moreover, it offers hard-hitting news stories on many issues that affect our community from politics and education, to mass incarceration and healthcare. However, these days magazines are quickly losing readers to digital outlets and a cover that capitalizes on RHOA’s success may be just what the publication needs.

Ebony boasts that it is “more than a magazine, it’s a movement,” but does allowing Nene Leakes—one of reality TV’s biggest bullies—fall in line with that mission?

You tell us.

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  • lauryn


  • chinaza

    Well, why not? What are the criteria that exclude her? A black magazine can represent all facets of black regardless of our personal taste.
    Nene is a creation of herself and popular culture. Who defines popular culture? We do.

  • Dee

    I will NOT be renewing my subscription.

  • momteacher

    If neck rolling, eye popping, profanity, hostility, pretension and loud, audacious behavior are desirable and enviable traits to be highlighted, then perhaps it is acceptable for Nene Leakes to be featured on a magazine cover touting ‘power’. Maybe it does not matter that she has outrageous behavior and that she promotes an unattractive stereotype. She has parlayed buffoonery into personal success. Apparently there are not enough other options to represent achievement in the African American community.

    • Richard

      Spot on momteacher

  • Dee

    People need to stop hating. Yes she deserves it, she’s in the entertainment industry not the role modeling industry. She has the personality and popularity to draw people in rather for positive or negative reasons. Shes doing her thing and getting rich and famous off of it, lets be honest most of these people who have nasty or negative thing to say about NeNe was in her shoes they would living this attention up. This just shows how jealous and hateful can be towards someone who is doing better than them.

    • Richard

      Based on your feedback, I’ll assume you’ve been raised on a diet of TV. Not you fault, We let you down so that you don’t understand the full breadth of your cultural legacy. There were those in the struggle how died to give us the right we so enjoy today. But, you don’t this history so it understandable that you would feel like you do.