Controversy broke out yesterday after trans model and New York club legend, Amanda Lepore, posted on Instagram that she had been removed from the new Travis Scott album cover. In Lepore’s post she can be clearly seen in her usual burlesque attire, bending over seductively and looking over her back at the camera. In the version Scott posted she had been completely photoshopped out.
Lepore’s caption was light hearted and jokey, saying “I’m curious why I’m not in the picture Travis Scott posted” and suggesting maybe it was because she couldn’t help but up-stage everyone else with her beauty. She also stated that she loves both LaChapelle and Scott so perhaps there are no bad feelings. Others in the comment section took the move by Scott’s team much more seriously. Rupaul’s Drag Race winners Aquaria and Violet Chachki, among others, accused the rapper and his team of transphobia. British trans rights activist Munroe Bergdorf also commented “that’s not cute”.
Travis Scott, who is also father to Kylie Jenner’s baby, has remained quiet on the situation so far but the photographer, David LaChapelle, chimed in. He stated “Everybody wants to explain everything with some phobia or whatever. This is a case of so,etching else she can’t seem to control lol. Ain’t nothing to do with hating.” He also commented “because you were a bad band girl lol it’s not for any other reason….”
It’s is not entirely clear what the reason behind this removal was. It could have been purely for aesthetic reasons of the composition rather than a personal dislike for Lepore and her gender identity. Although the change does not dramatically alter the image so it could be for transphobic reasons.
Worryingly a number of publication chose not to cover the alteration such as Highsnobiety and Consequence of Sound, instead choosing to focus on the album titled Astroworld instead. Even though the intentions behind Lepore’s remove aren’t clear we should shouldn’t ignore the fact that trans people are often sidelined and excluded from mainstream culture and Scott’s post seems to perpetuate this.
See the photos for yourself here: