Oprah isn't her magazine's cover image for the first time ever, Breonna Taylor is

Hitting newsstands August 11 is the first Oprah-less O magazine cover. Oprah Winfrey gave up her cover spot for the first time in the magazine's 20-year history to honor Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old who was killed this past March by Louisville police officers.

Here is part of her explanation on why she put an illustration of the young murder victim on the cover:

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.

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. 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.

Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping.

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New court documents allegedly connect Breonna Taylor's murder to a massive real estate conspiracy

Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old EMT who was killed by 3 plainclothes police officers who wrongly delivered a no-knock warrant (which is already constitutionally questionable) at her home in the middle of the night on March 13, 2020. The whole situation is tragic and frustrating and after 4 months, there's still been very little recourse against the officers responsible.

Aa new report from the Louisville Courier-Journal alleges an even more frustrating, bizarre, labyrinthine, and depressingly plausible scenario to explain how everything went so wrong on that fateful evening. The claims, which come from court filings by the lawyers representing Breonna Taylor's family, are not confirmed, nor do they even necessarily constitute legal evidence of any kind that would hold up in court; the Mayor's office in Louisville has called them "outrageous" and "without foundation or supporting facts." But they are, however, now a matter of record in the case. And while I agree that the whole thing sounds outrageous, it's also entirely believable, because shit like this does actually happen.

The court filings allege that Breonna Taylor's murder was an accidental result of other shady behaviors around the proposed Vision Russell Development Plan meant to revitalize the neighborhood (read: gentrification). The project had previously stagnated, but was finally starting to make some progress earlier this year when eight homes were demolished on Elliott Avenue over the course of a few weeks. One of homes on that street that was purchased by the city, but not destroyed, had been occupied by a man named Jamarcus Glover, an ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor's who also had a few small drug offenses on his record. Read the rest

A powerful portrait series of Black Americans killed by police that uses time as a visual medium

Adrian Brandon is a Seattle-raised and Brooklyn-based visual artist, whose "Stolen" collection was originally displayed at his first public solo show in November 2019 at 263 Bowery in New York. It's stunning visual art project both in its concept, and its execution. I'll allow the artist to explain:

This series is dedicated to the many black people that were robbed of their lives at the hands of the police. In addition to using markers and pencil, I use time as a medium to define how long each portrait is colored in. 1 year of life = 1 minute of color. Tamir Rice was 12 when he was murdered, so I colored his portrait for 12 minutes. As a person of color, I know that my future can be stolen from me if I’m driving with a broken taillight, or playing my music too loud, or reaching for my phone at the wrong time. So for each of these portraits I played with the harsh relationship between time and death. I want the viewer to see how much empty space is left in these lives, stories that will never be told, space that can never be filled. This emptiness represents holes in their families and our community, who will be forever stuck with the question, “who were they becoming?” This series touches on grief and the unknown.

Brandon's pen-and-ink work is phenomenal. But when you see how much — or how little — color art is added to the lives of these people of color, it really drives the point home. Read the rest