Yesterday, People anointed Channing Tatum Sexiest Man Alive.
Without a doubt, 2012 was Tatum’s year, with three successful movies in The Vow, Magic Mike, and 21 Jump Street. But People has its share of critics just the same.
The main complaint? With a singular exception - Denzel Washington in 1996 - the magazine has picked a square-jawed white guy (usually an actor) EVERY year.
In 2008, Hugh Jackman took the top honor. In 2009, Johnny Depp was selected for a second time. Last year, Bradley Cooper walked away with the crown.
The year before that, it was Ryan Reynolds, perhaps in anticipation of his film Green Lantern. Should they rename it Sexiest Milquetoast White Man Alive?
Asks the Daily Beast: Where are the Blair Underwoods, the Taye Diggses, the Morris Chestnuts? The Terrence Howards, the Jesse Williamses, the Idris Elbas?
Inside. And if you believe People’s official line, it is what’s inside that counts.
A representative for the magazine wrote:
“People is sensitive to representing people of color in its pages; our Sexiest Man Alive issue is no exception. Every section in this year’s issue includes a diverse group of men.”
Brett R. Johnson, associate editor of The Root, said, “That response is expected ... They can’t come out and say black men don’t sell magazine covers.”
Though there are some sports celebrities, most of the picks skew toward Hollywood, and actors rather than musicians. Perhaps that's part of the issue.
Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kobe Bryant, or Michael Jordan during their primes would've been fine cover stars, no? A rep for People explained of the criteria:
“Is he hot at the moment? Is he sexy? Is his career on fire this year? Channing Tatum fits that criteria this year, which is why he was named 2012 Sexiest Man Alive.”
The list, then, said Jezebel's Jessica Coen, isn’t truthfully the “sexiest man in general, just - ‘handsome man who’s getting the most work right now,’
“And what makes that so strange is that People is not a trade mag.”
“People’s response places the blame on Hollywood. That’s a copout. They have a lot of power as a media outlet, but their response is akin to throwing up their hands."
"Hollywood and the media - and that includes People - have a highly symbiotic relationship."
"Putting a man of color on the inside is like saying, ‘He’s hot, sure, but just not hot enough for the cover. Only a white man can be number one.’”
“Which is kind of how the world has worked for the past couple centuries.”
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Channing Tatum: Sexiest Man Alive?