For the first time ever, O magazine will feature someone other than Oprah.
It was announced today that the September issue will honor police shooting victim Breonna Taylor with a cover portrait by digital artist Alexis Franklin.
Taylor died in March after being shot by police officers in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment as part of an attempted drug sting. So far one officer has been fired, and none have been arrested.
In her “What I Know for Sure” column, Oprah revealed an emotional conversation she had with Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer. “The day I called, Ms. Palmer was dealing with the emotion of it all. She told me, ‘I can’t stop seeing her face. Her smile. It’s what I miss most about her. I still can’t grasp the concept of her being gone. It feels so surreal. I’m still waiting for her to come through the door.’”
Oprah writes that she mourns the promise and potential that were taken from Taylor, who was just 26 when she died.
“Breonna Taylor had plans. Breonna Taylor had dreams. They all died with her the night five bullets shattered her body and her future,” Oprah wrote. “I think about Breonna Taylor often. She was the same age as the two daughter-girls from my school in South Africa who’ve been quarantining with Stedman and me since March. In all their conversations I feel the promise of possibilities. Their whole lives shine with the light of hopefulness. That was taken away from Breonna in such a horrifying manner. 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.”
O magazine’s Creative Director Adam Glassman told “Extra” how the cover came about, explaining, “Oprah and the team, we all started talking about how we could raise awareness about the reality of police brutality against Black Americans… one staffer suggested doing Breonna and Oprah goes, ‘Yes, I love it.’”
Commenting on the photograph they used for the portrait, he said it was “Breonna’s mom’s favorite selfie,” adding, “this image is what her family loved.”
Franklin has also spoken out about creating the special cover, telling O, “I am so happy to play a small part in this long-overdue, world-changing narrative on racial injustice and police brutality. The original photo is one Breonna took herself and has been featured in the news many times. Looking at it, I see an innocence, simple but powerful. It was critical for me to retain that.”
The September issue will be on newsstands August 11.