Oprah Gives Up O Magazine Cover To Honor Breonna Taylor

July 30, 2020  |  

Breonna Taylor, O Magazine, September 2020 Issue

Source: Alexis Franklin / O Magazine

For the first time in 20 years Oprah Winfrey will not appear on the cover of O Magazine. Instead the upcoming September issue cover will include imagery of Breonna Taylor, honoring her life that was taken senselessly and far too soon at the hands of police.

The image was made by Atlanta-based, self-taught digital artist, Alexis Franklin, 24. The image was re-created using a widely circulated social media photo of Taylor shared after her death.

In the piece, Oprah penned a short essay summarizing the collective agreement that Breonna Taylor, 26, was a Black woman who was shot and killed by three Louisville Metro Police Department cops, whose life still matters, and who deserves justice.

To date the three officers involved in her death, Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have not faced charges for the March 13 shooting. Hankinson, was removed from the force and has filed and appeal, while Mattingly and Cosgrove were placed on administrative leave.

“Breonna Taylor,” Oprah begins. “She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter.”

Oprah shares that she talked with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, who is understandably overwhelmed with grief over the loss of her daughter. What also contributes to the powerful piece are the small details about Breonna that were familiar to her loved ones.

“Breonna Taylor loved cars and treated her 2019 Dodge Charger like a trusted friend,” Oprah wrote. “Breonna Taylor loved chicken any way you could cook it. Breonna Taylor put hot sauce on everything, especially eggs. Breonna Taylor appreciated every kind of music and the dances that went along. Breonna Taylor treated all her friends like besties. Breonna Taylor was a force in the life of her 20-year-old sister. Breonna Taylor felt meaning and purpose in her work as an emergency room technician. Breonna Taylor was saving to buy a house. Breonna Taylor had plans. Breonna Taylor had dreams. They all died with her the night five bullets shattered her body and her future.”

Oprah’s words uncovers portions of Taylor that were only shared with her loved ones. Since her death, her image has been shared and turned into a meme, often trivializing that she was a woman with goals, dreams, love and ambition.

“Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem,” Oprah continues.

“What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice.”

The issue also features a silhouette of Taylor by artist Janelle Washington, which includes 89 names from the African American Policy Forum’s #SayHerName campaign, along with ways supporters can participate in the movement for anti-racism, according to Page Six.

Oprah sat down with CBS This Morning reporter Vlad Duthiers, to further discuss why she made the editorial choice.

“This was my way, our way, O Magazine, of honoring her, celebrating her life and the lives of every other woman, Black woman in particular, whose life has been taken unfortunately too soon. And honest to goodness Vlad if it not were for COVID, I would be marching in the streets.”

The magazine hits newsstands on August 11.

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