Oprah magazine features Breonna Taylor on the cover


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O: Oprah Magazine has covered a wide range of American culture since its inception 20 years ago, but all of its 241 issues have one thing in common: Oprah Winfrey, the founder and editorial director of the publication, made the cover .

That will change with the September issue, which hits newsstands August 11. The new cover, unveiled Thursday, features a portrait of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was shot and killed by police in her home in Louisville, Ky., In March.

Ms. Winfrey began an essay for the problem with her name, writing:

“Breonna Taylor.

“She was like me. She was like you.

Ms. Winfrey ended the essay by explaining why she had decided to forgo the cover of her namesake magazine: “What I know for sure: we cannot remain silent. We must use any megaphone to demand justice.

“And that’s why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine.”

Along with George Floyd, the black man who was killed by a Minneapolis officer in May, Ms Taylor has been a central figure for protesters who have taken to the streets to demonstrate against racism and police violence in recent months.

No criminal charges were laid against the three officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department who entered the home of Ms Taylor, an emergency medical technician, shortly after midnight on March 13.

Last month, Brett Hankison, one of the three officers, was fired. Police chief Robert Schroeder accused him of violating departmental policy on the use of lethal force, claiming he “willfully and indiscriminately” fired 10 shots into the home. by Mrs. Taylor. The other two officers have been reassigned.

Ms. Taylor was shot at least eight times. She did not receive medical treatment for more than 20 minutes after being beaten, The Courier Journal reported, citing police records. The officers involved in the case said they identified themselves when they entered; Ms Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who was present, said police had not identified themselves.

Louisville Police said Mr Walker shot and injured a police officer in the leg and charged him with attempted murder of a police officer. This charge was dismissed in May.

The idea of ​​putting Ms. Taylor on the cover of O was the brainchild of Deirdre Read, the magazine’s visual search editor, O editor Lucy Kaylin said in an email.

“I brought the idea to Oprah, who immediately said ‘YES’,” Ms. Kaylin said.

The cover image is an interpretation of a selfie of Ms. Taylor created by digital portrait artist Alexis Franklin.

On Wednesday, O publisher, Hearst Magazines, and Ms Winfrey announced that O would cease regular print editions and focus more on digital. “It’s a natural progression for the brand,” said Kristen O’Hara, commercial director of Hearst Magazines, in a statement. The company added that the December issue will be the last regular monthly issue of O.

O’s average paid streaming has plummeted over the years, from a high of 2.75 million shortly after its inception in 2001 to 2.28 million in the second half of last year, according to the Alliance. for Audited Media.

On June 5, which would have been Ms Taylor’s 27th birthday, the hashtag #SayHerName was shared widely in a social media campaign that included the participation of Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, and Senator Kamala Harris. , Democrat of California.

Ms Winfrey frequently referred to Ms Taylor’s full name in her essay for the issue, writing, “Breonna Taylor treated all of her friends like besties. Breonna Taylor was a force in the life of her 20-year-old sister. Breonna Taylor saw meaning and purpose in her work as an emergency room technician.

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Amanda P. Whitten

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