About five weeks ago, Lil Yachty took to social media and unveiled the cover of his debut album Teenage Emotions. It was one of the most inclusive covers ever put together by a major music star, featuring people of multiple genders and ethnicities. Unfortunately, it also created quite a stir amongst some for including a gay couple kissing up in the top left corner.
Recently, the photographer who shot the cover, Kenneth Capello, spoke to Variety where he expressed his surprise at the subsequent controversy. “I just didn’t think it would be a big deal because [hip-hop] was much more homophobic 10 years ago,” he said. “I’m going to credit the Internet and what I just spoke about that’s changing it. But when it dropped on his Instagram and I looked through the comments, I was seeing all this anti-gay sh*t. It made me go, ‘Oh, that’s still where we’re at.’”
Capello also spoke about how the entire concept of the cover flowed directly from Yachty himself. “When I did the casting, I was like, do you want the so-called outcasts growing up as a teenager? He was like, ‘Yeah, I want the punks, the nerds, the gay kids. Teenage Emotions, what you go through as a teenager,” he said. “The principal and basketball coach were there and some of the mentors from high school were there and people were watching like, ‘Huh?’ But Yachty wanted it.”
You can read Capello’s entire thoughts on that indelible cover over at Variety.