• The late 26-year-old Breonna Taylor on the cover of next month’s Vanity Fair. (Vanity Fair/ Amy Sherald)Source: Vanity Fair/ Amy Sherald
Guest edited by Ta-Nehisi Coates and dedicated to anti-racist activism, the September issue of Vanity Fair features a cover illustration by painter Amy Sherald.
SBS staff writers

25 Aug 2020 - 11:43 AM  UPDATED 25 Aug 2020 - 12:42 PM

The September issue of Vanity Fair features a cover illustration of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville home on March 13. 

Taylor, whose death have sparked mass protests around the US, is the subject of the issue's cover story by guest editor and renowned journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. The piece details Taylor’s life and the aftermath of her killing as told by her mother, Tamika Palmer.

Palmer remembers her oldest daughter as hardworking and beloved by her family. "Even at 26 years old, she is pretty much the glue," Palmer said. "And she is bossy. She don’t care what is happening, she is going to make sure we get together and have a game night or have a cookout or have something, because we all tend to get so busy and consumed with work and whatever. ... All the kids, the younger kids, or even the kids her age, looked up to Breonna."

Across the US, people continue to demand for justice nearly six months after Taylor's death, asking for the officers involved in the shooting  Jon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — to be held accountable. To date, no one has been charged.

The cover portrait of Taylor is painted by US artist Amy Sherald, who's best known for her portrait of Michelle Obama which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Both the cover art and Taylor's story have received widespread attention on social media.  


Others have also noted the decisions to feature Black and diverse cover stars on the September issues of mainstream magazines, a month traditionally coveted by the industry due to the surge in advertising revenue.  

Optics aside, Vanity Fair guest editor Ta-Nehisi Coates believes justice for victims of police violence remains an ongoing struggle. "I just wanna be clear about this: I have very little expectation that the powers-that-be in Louisville, in Kentucky, will ultimately hold the people that killed Breonna Taylor accountable," Coates told CBS News

"I am filled with a transcendent, transcendent sense of, I would actually call it joy, when I see people who continue to struggle in her name nonetheless. And maybe we're at a moment where some kind of critical mass of people in this country, beyond the community that's actually being affected by it, you know, actually...can see some things that they couldn't see before."