February’s Essence magazine cover star isn’t a starlet or a singer. Instead, it’s a message. A powerful and timely one: “Black Lives Matter.”
This is the first time Essence has not published an image on its cover and Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca says she and her staff wanted to highlight what they call a modern-day civil rights movement with a “cover blackout.” It’s a pretty ballsy move, considering cover images are so much of what drives magazine sales. “Pictures are powerful, but so are words,” De Luca writes.
The issue is filled with essays from leading thinkers like New York City’s first lady Chirlane McCray, Angela Davis and Melissa Harris-Perry, who ponder what’s next for black Americans in the middle of this big hurdle.
Last year, Essence paid tribute to Trayvon Martin, one of several slain unarmed black minors, with four covers for its September 2013 issue. The issue featured Martin’s family as well as black celebrities (Boris Kodjoe, Spike Lee and Dwyane Wade) with their sons, posing in hoodies.
You can find the February 2015 issue of Essence on newsstands.