For The First Time In Its History, Oprah Magazine Trades A Cover Photo Of The Media Mogul For A Portrait Of Breonna Taylor By Dallas Artist Alexis Franklin.
Since it debuted 20 years ago, Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine has featured its namesake founder on every single cover — until now. The September edition of the lifestyle publication will feature a portrait of Breonna Taylor by Dallas-based artist Alexis Franklin.
Taylor was shot and killed by police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove on March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky after they broke into her apartment with a “no-knock” warrant while she was asleep.
The Louisville native was 26 years old and had a lifetime ahead of her with dreams of being a nurse after working as an E.M.T. in Louisville. Though there have been nationwide calls for further investigation, only Hankinson has been fired. So far, none of the officers involved have been charged with Taylor’s death.
Chants of Taylor’s name among the Black Lives Matter movement have become rallying cries for an end of police brutality against Black Americans. Her face, along with George Floyd and the many others killed by police, has become a symbol for justice.
“What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice,” Winfrey wrote in an editor’s note about the cover. “And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O Magazine.”
View this post on Instagram
For the first time in 20 years, @oprah has given up her O Magazine cover to honor Breonna Taylor. She says, “Breonna Taylor. 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. 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. 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. I cry for justice in her name.” Tap the link in our bio to read more about Oprah’s tribute to Breonna—and her recent conversation with her mother, Tamika Palmer. Breonna: This one’s for you 🙏🏽 The September issue will be available wherever you buy or download your magazines on 8/11. (🎨: @alexis_art)
Franklin’s portrait was chosen by Winfrey for “capturing not just a likeness, but a soul.” The work of art is based on a widely circulated photo of Taylor, but digitally illuminates her with a background awash in vibrant golden strokes. Franklin, who is a Black woman, detailed her vision and inspiration for a behind-the-scenes article for O.
“So many things were going through my mind — Breonna’s life, mostly, and how it ended so abruptly and unnecessarily,” Franklin said. “Every stroke was building a person: each eyelash, each wisp of hair, the shine on her lips, the highlight on her cheek.”
In a continued effort to call for her justice, the magazine has also put up 26 billboards — one for each year of Taylor’s life — of the cover across Louisville. Along with a call to action, the billboards include a quote from Winfrey that reads, “If you turn a blind eye to racism, you become an accomplice to it.”