Oprah Winfrey’s Breonna Taylor tribute and the power of female platforms

July 31, 2020, 1:02 PM UTC
Oprah Mag Breonna BTS 3
The August edition of O Magazine features Breonna Taylor, the Black woman killed in her home by Louisville police. Courtesy of O Magazine
Courtesy of O Magazine

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We learn about the woman challenging Jacinda Ardern, Poland tries to withdraw from a treaty on domestic violence, and Oprah Magazine puts Breonna Taylor on the cover. Have a wonderful weekend.

– ‘She was just like me. She was just like you.’ For 20 years, Oprah Winfrey has appeared on the cover of O: The Oprah Magazine. That will change in August for the first time ever, with the media mogul ceding the space to an image of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed in her home by Louisville police in March. The cover features a rendition of a selfie Taylor took of herself, created by digital portrait artist Alexis Franklin.

Demands for justice for Taylor, who was an EMT, have become a central theme of Black Lives Matter protests; ‘Say her name: Breonna Taylor,’ is among protesters’ rallying cries. The police officers involved in her killing have not been prosecuted; two of the three remain on Louisville’s police force.

Winfrey explained the decision to feature Taylor in an essay that includes an interview with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer; it’s worth your time.

Courtesy of O Magazine

“She was just like me. She was just like you,” Winfrey writes. “And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter.”

The online edition of the essay also features ways to take action on behalf of Taylor: petitions to sign, officials to call, bail funds to donate to.

One hopeful development in recent months is prominent women using their platforms to amplify voices that have been ignored for too long. Some of those efforts, of course, have been more successful than others. O Magazine‘s tribute to Taylor and other Black women killed by police is arguably the boldest so far and underscores the power that female decision makers wield in directing the narrative of this painful, unprecedented age.

“What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice,” Winfrey writes. “I cry for justice in her name.”

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


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When did recipe writing get so...whitewashed? Bon Appetit

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-Bernice King at Rep. John Lewis's funeral

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