August 3, 2020
O: The Oprah Magazine has covered a wide swath of American culture since it started 20 years ago, but all of its 241 issues have had one thing in common: Oprah Winfrey—the publication’s founder and America’s reigning queen of all media—has been on the cover.
That will change with the September issue, which will be available on newsstands August 11, The New York Times reports. The new cover, unveiled Thursday, features a portrait of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by the police when they erroneously conducted a drug raid at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.
She ended the essay by explaining why she had decided to give up the cover spot of her namesake magazine: “What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice.
“And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine.”
No criminal charges have been filed against the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers who entered the home of Taylor, an emergency medical technician, shortly after midnight on March 13.
Last month, Brett Hankison, one of the three officers, was fired. The police chief, Robert Schroeder, accused him of violating the department’s policy on the use of deadly force, saying he had “wantonly and blindly” fired ten shots into Taylor’s home. The other two officers were reassigned.
Indeed, Taylor was shot at least eight times. She did not receive medical attention for more than 20 minutes after she was struck, The Courier Journal reported, citing police logs. The officers involved in the case have said they identified themselves when they entered; however, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was present, said the police did not identify themselves.
The Louisville police said that Walker shot and wounded one officer in the leg and charged him with the attempted murder of a police officer. That charge was dismissed in May.
The idea of putting Ms. Taylor on the O cover was the brainchild of Deirdre Read, the magazine’s visual research editor, said Lucy Kaylin, the editor in chief of O, in an email to the Times.
“I brought the idea to Oprah, who immediately said ‘YES,’” Kaylin said.
The cover image is a selfie taken by Taylor and then rereated by the digital portrait artist Alexis Franklin.
On Wednesday, July 29, O’s publisher, Hearst Magazines, and Oprah Winfrey, herself, announced that O would discontinue regular print editions and become more digitally focused. “This is a natural progression for the brand,” Kristen O’Hara, the Hearst Magazines chief business officer, said in a statement. The company added that the December issue will be O’s last regular monthly print edition.
Research contact: @nytimes