Essence Magazine has dedicated its February issue, on newsstands now, to Black Lives Matter; a movement against anti-Black violence, to help prompt police reform and stop state sanctioned violence against unarmed members of the Black community, and that has started a national dialogue about systemic racism and anti-Black civil rights violations.
— Essence Magazine (@essencemag) January 6, 2015
The issue’s historically relevant cover is designed in black and will feature contributions about race, police violence, racial profiling and efforts towards healing by noted social and cultural critics, writers, media personalities, activists and celebs that have been the most vocal and/or present during the nation’s most newsworthy anti-police violence demonstrations; including John Legend, Melissa Harris-Perry, Angela Davis, David Banner, Michelle Alexander, and Chirlane McCray.
“As a mother of two, when I tried to comprehend why so many Black women and men, girls and boys are subjected to racial profiling and victimized by police brutality; when I looked at how those who are put in place to protect us often make us feel fearful; when I considered a judicial process that removes consequences and accountability for those who have murdered unarmed Black people, I thought anything I could say would feel utterly inadequate.
After I spoke with the editorial team—with all our souls aching for answers—we knew immediately what we had to do: Tell the story of this tipping point in our history in America. So this February we are focusing our attention on the daring modern-day civil rights movement we are all bearing witness to and making a bold move of our own: a cover blackout,” wrote editor-in-chief, Vanessa K. De Luca.
The ‘Black Lives Matter’ issue marks the first time in the magazine’s 45 year history it doesn’t employ the use of a celebrity or cover model.
“In this moment, I too feel the need for someone to want the Black babies to live. To want Black mothers to celebrate, not grieve. To want Black women to be brides, not widows. To want Black men to thrive, not die. To want Black youth to play, not cower. Many share this need for someone to want the Black babies to live. They march. They lie down as though dead.” Melissa Harris-Perry wrote in her an essay she contributed to the issue.