TIME Magazine unveils cover inspired by George Floyd protests, honoring black lives lost

TIME Magazine has unveiled the cover for its June 15, 2020 issue, which examines the protests that have erupted around the world following the death of George Floyd. 

The cover features the work of prominent American artist and Yale School of Art graduate Titus Kaphar from an oil painting titled “Analogous Colors,” which depicts an African-American mother holding her child. The child has been cut out of the image to emphasize the mother’s loss, a reference to the moment when Floyd called out to his deceased mother moments before his death with a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck. 

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Floyd died on May 25 when a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, pleading with Chauvin, gasping that he couldn’t breathe. 

According to TIME Magazine, Floyd’s mother, Larcenia Floyd, died May 30, 2018.

In a post by TIME regarding the story behind the cover, the publication shared a photo of a young Floyd being held by his mother. 

“In her expression, I see the black mothers who are unseen, and rendered helpless in this fury against their babies,” writes Kaphar. “As I listlessly wade through another cycle of violence against black people, I paint a black mother… eyes closed, furrowed brow, holding the contour of her loss.”

For the issue, the iconic red border that surrounds all TIME covers will include the names of 35 black men and women whose deaths were the result of systemic racism, according to TIME.

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The names written in the red border are Trayvon Martin, Yvette Smith, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Jerame Reid, Natasha McKenna, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, William Chapman, Sandra Bland, Darrius Stewart, Samuel DuBose, Janet Wilson, Calin Roquemore, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Joseph Mann, Terence Crutcher, Chad Robertson, Jordan Edwards, Aaron Bailey, Stephon Clark, Danny Ray Thomas, Antwon Rose, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Dean, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

“I have given up trying to describe the feeling of knowing that I can not be safe in the country of my birth,” said Kaphar. “How do I explain to my children that the very system set up to protect others could be a threat to our existence? How do I shield them from the psychological impact of knowing that for the rest of our lives we will likely be seen as a threat?”

The Associated Press contributed  to this story.