‘O’ Magazine: Why Oprah Winfrey Chose Not to Appear on One of Her Magazine’s Final Covers – For the 1st Time in Its History

Launching in April of 2000, O magazine has featured on every one of its covers its namesake and visionary, Oprah Winfrey, in one bright and colorful photograph or another.

For the first time in the magazine’s history, the media mogul has chosen not to appear on the magazine’s cover and here’s why.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

‘O’s powerful upcoming cover explains Oprah Winfrey’s absence

On the cover of the upcoming September 2020 edition of O, instead of a photo of Winfrey in some kind of fall setting, readers will instead see a digital artist’s rendering of slain Kentucky resident Breonna Taylor.

It’s the first time in the magazine’s existence that Winfrey has not appeared on the cover.

Taylor was killed in March 2020 by police who had burst into the apartment she shared with her boyfriend. He, in the chaotic moment, opened fire. The officers returned fire, killing 26-year-old Taylor.

In the magazine’s issue, Winfrey explains her absence from the cover.

“I think about Breonna Taylor often,” she writes. “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…Their whole lives shine with the light of hopefulness. That was taken away from Breonna in such a horrifying manner. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice.”

“And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine,” Winfrey stated.

Oprah Winfrey is ending the print version of ‘O’

After publishing a print version for the last 20 years, Winfrey decided to begin focusing solely on the magazine’s digital edition.

Published jointly by Hearst Corporation and Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, the media company explained the magazine’s shift to digital.

“As the brand celebrates twenty years of O, The Oprah Magazine, we’re thinking about what’s next, but again the partnership and the brand are not going away,” Hearst stated.

“This is a natural next step for the brand, which has grown to an online audience of 8 million, extending its voice and vision with video and social content. We will continue to invest in this platform as the brand grows and evolves into one that is more digitally-centric.”

The final print edition will be its December 2020 issue, but it may still make occasional special edition print newsstand appearances from time to time.

‘O’ launched 20 years ago at the height of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’s popularity

When Hearst Corporation in 2000 announced the name of Winfrey’s upcoming magazine, they allowed her to explain the choice for herself.

“What I like about O is that it is simple and direct, and it is what a lot of my friends call me,” said Oprah Winfrey.


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O reflects the close bond and inclusion which readers will experience with the magazine,” said Ellen Kunes, editor-in-chief at the time. “will be the women’s personal growth guide for this new century, inspired by Oprah’s unique vision.”

The magazine has lived up to that vision and hopes to expand upon its original mission in its predominantly digital venture.