Since its inception in 2000, there has only been one star on O Magazine’s glossy cover: its owner, Oprah Winfrey. But for the first time in the magazine’s history—and its final year in print before moving to digital—Winfrey chose to place another woman on the cover, Breonna Taylor. According to Page Six, the August issue, which will feature Taylor’s image, will also include the “89 names from the African American Policy Forum’s #SayHerName campaign,” which works to remind the public of the Black women lost to racial or police violence.
On Thursday, Winfrey wrote a post about Taylor on O’s website, expanding on her reasoning for putting Taylor on the cover. The post also includes action items readers can take to demand justice for Taylor, who was shot and killed by police officers while she slept in her home. “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,” Winfrey writes, “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.”
Winfrey also takes a moment to write about Taylor as a person, removing her, if only momentarily, from the box of murder-victim and internet meme.
Breonna Taylor was 26 years old. Breonna Taylor loved cars and treated her 2019 Dodge Charger like a trusted friend. Breonna Taylor loved chicken any way you could cook it. Breonna Taylor put hot sauce on everything, especially eggs. Breonna Taylor appreciated every kind of music and the dances that went along. Breonna Taylor treated all her friends like besties. Breonna Taylor was a force in the life of her 20-year-old sister. Breonna Taylor felt meaning and purpose in her work as an emergency room technician. Breonna Taylor was saving to buy a house. Breonna Taylor had plans. Breonna Taylor had dreams. They all died with her the night five bullets shattered her body and her future.
Winfrey also spoke with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, who continues to mourn her daughter while simultaneously fighting to bring her killers to justice. “I’m still waiting for her to come through the door,” Palmer told Winfrey.
In its entirety, the post is an explanation as to why Taylor deserves to be on a cover usually occupied by Winfrey. But the only words that truly matter in the account are the ones Winfrey chooses to close with, “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.”