Beyoncé shared the historic cover from her photo shoot with Vogue magazine Monday on Instagram.
The image shows the Grammy-winning singer wearing minimal makeup and posing in a white Gucci gown paired with a floral headdress by Rebel Rebel.
Beyoncé chose 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell for her Vogue shoot, making him the first black photographer in the magazine’s 126-year history to photograph one of its cover.
In the accompanying article – described as being told in her own words – Beyoncé explained why she wanted to work with Mitchell.
“When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell,” she explained. “Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer.”
The September issue ushers in fall fashion and is Vogue’s most influential magazine of the year. Beyoncé viewed her cover shoot as an opportunity to help another young artist.
“It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists,” she wrote. “There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter.”
Mitchell also shared the images on Twitter, and said he was so emotional about the opportunity that he cried.
Beyoncé went on to write about the complications she faced during her second pregnancy.
“I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir,” she said. “I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU. My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me.”
The 36-year-old star added that she is in no rush to lose all the baby weight and has “embraced being curvier.”