For the first time in the publication’s history, O: The Oprah Magazine will not feature Oprah Winfrey on its cover. Instead, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor is the September cover star.
Winfrey revealed the artwork, created by 24-year-old digital artist Alexis Franklin, on Thursday (July 30) with a message:
“I think about Breonna Taylor often. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping,” she writes of the reported incident that led to Taylor’s death. “And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem.”
Taylor was killed by plainclothes Louisville police in her home on March 13. As protestors worldwide continue to fight for justice for Taylor’s death, the officers, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove have still not been arrested and charged for her murder.
“What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice,” Oprah continues. “And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine. The September issue honors her life and the life of every Black woman whose life has been taken too soon.”
Franklin echoes the same feelings toward Taylor’s death as she details her creative process.
“Using Photoshop, I did a rough painting of Breonna, solidified my color choices, and, in the process of creating the final portrait, focused on the texture and details,” she said. “So many things were going through my mind—Breonna’s life, mostly, and how it ended so abruptly and unnecessarily… I had that season when I chose to shut down my feelings around the killing of unarmed Black people because I couldn’t take living day to day in such a state of awareness. Now I was as up close and personal as I could ever get to this woman and, consequently, to this very real problem.”
After 20 years with Hearst Publications, Winfrey is closing the magazine’s monthly print edition after the December 2020 issue, reports The Daily Mail. A digital version of the magazine will still be available online.