An illustration by digital artist Alexis Franklin commemorating Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was murdered by Louisville police, will grace the upcoming cover of Oprah Magazine’s September edition. The portrait will end a two-decades-long tradition at the magazine, which in the past has only featured Oprah Winfrey, the magazine’s namesake, on its covers.
Taylor’s killing is one that deeply impacted many Black women, including Franklin, who told the magazine, “I was uncontrollably angry and hurt. This time there was no shoving it down.”
“So many things were going through my mind — Breonna’s life, mostly, and how it ended so abruptly and unnecessarily,” she said. “Every stroke was building a person: each eyelash, each wisp of hair, the shine on her lips, the highlight on her cheek.”
Taylor was killed by plainclothes Louisville Metro Police Department officers on March 13. The trio entered her home with a battering ram during a no-knock raid investigating a pair of men who were allegedly selling drugs and using Taylor’s address for packages. No drugs were found in the home.
Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot after hearing individuals breaking into the apartment while the couple was asleep. In return, officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove returned a number of shots, killing Taylor.
Walker says Taylor struggled to breathe, coughing, for at least five minutes after she was shot, according to reports by the Louisville Courier Journal. She did not receive medical attention for over 20 minutes.
Hankinson was fired on June 23, with opportunity to appeal, while Mattingly and Cosgrove are on administrative reassignment.
In its coverage of the forthcoming cover, Oprah Magazine is directing individuals to two petitions (Change.org and Color of Change) and encouraging readers to call the Kentucky attorney general, mayor, governor, and the public integrity unit of the Louisville Metro Police Department, to demand consequences for Taylor’s killers. The magazine is also encouraging readers to donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund and to use #SayHerName in Breonna’s honor, a hashtag to amplify the lives of Black women who have been killed by racist police violence, but whose stories are often disregarded.
The September issue of Oprah Magazine will become available August 11.