V Vintage: The Story Behind Toni Braxton’s 1997 VIBE Cover

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By: Vibe / May 5, 2010

Toni Braxton’s June/July 1997 cover was not only the biggest seller of VIBE’s first five years, but also generated the most mail and media buzz and was the first issue to hit newstands sealed in a plastic “polybag.” All this over the the First Lady of LaFace Records, veiled by the slightest bit of a white bedsheet on the cover, and a sheer top inside. A study in contradictions, the sultry contralto detailed erotic scenarios to VIBE scribe Michael A. Gonzales:

“The art of seduction is coming to the door wearing pretty underwear. I’m holding crystal flutes of Cristal with a ripe strawberry in each glass. My nails are done, my hair is done, and I’m just in sexual-kitten mode.”

Then in the next breath, the preacher’s daughter swore off sex until marriage. The cover stirred so much controversy that she finally had to address the brouhaha on Oprah’s couch. And despite reports of panties being “airbrushed out” without her knowledge, she returned for another VIBE cover in 2002. —Rob Kenner

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SEE ALSO: A WOMAN WE LOVE — TONI BRAXTON