Breonna Taylor Portrait Covers Vanity Fair as Her Mother Pays Tribute In September Issue [Photos]

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker was ready to propose, showing off the ring he purchased in the publication.

Vanity Fair has immortalized Breonna Taylor on the September cover of the magazine.

The portrait was done by artist Amy Sherald, who also did the painting of Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery. Taylor, 26, was fatally shot eight times after officers raided her apartment in an attempted drug sting and exchanged gunfire with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was legally armed and said he believed someone was breaking into their home.

Breonna’s family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming charges of battery, excessive force, and gross negligence.

Inside the publication, Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer painted a picture of who her daughter really was, before opening up about the chaos surrounding her killing and the nationwide protests it inspired.

“Breonna wanted to be a nurse. That was her thing. But her very first job she worked was Steak ’n Shake. She was 15 years old and she worked there for a few years all through school,” said Palmer. “And then she started working with older people herself. And she liked to drive, like I said before, so she drove this little bus that goes around and gets the older people and takes them places. She drove that for a while. And then she went to do EMT and she did that, but it was a lot. So then she went into the ER and worked as a tech and she absolutely loved it there. And so her goal was just to finish school with being in the ER and be a nurse.”

She went on to call Breonna “bossy,” “so OCD” and “one of them people who didn’t talk about other people.”

“If something was going on with you, she’d rather figure out a way to help you than talk about you. She was a hard worker. If she missed work, something was really wrong,” continued her mom. “She loved being in the hospital, she loved her job, and she loved the people she worked with. Clearly, they loved her. They would always be leaving her little notes about them loving her and loving to work with her. Even when she passed, some of them came to the funeral. ‘We just can’t believe this, we love her so much. We’re just going to miss her.”

Palmer said Taylor and Walker were together for “about five years,” had talked about having children together and were taking steps toward marriage.

“She had just recently started saying, ‘Yeah, I think I’m almost ready. I just want to get a house first and then go from there,'” said Palmer. “Because that was the next thing. She got her Charger. And next was the house.”

Walker was ready to propose, showing off the engagement ring he got for Taylor in one of the pictures for the piece.

On March 13, Palmer couldn’t get any information about what happened to her daughter — and was asked by police, the ones who shot her, whether she “knew anybody who would want to hurt Breonna, or Kenny, or if I thought they were involved in anything.” She didn’t know her daughter was dead — and still inside the apartment — until nearly 11am the next day.

“When we see her body, it’s just tears and screams,” said Palmer. “I walk out the home because everybody is just crying. And I am just so pissed off that she is lying there.”

As the story started to make headlines, Palmer was “pissed off” to see her daughter’s death being called a “drug raid gone bad.”

“With COVID happening, it feels like they want to just sweep this under the rug real quick. But we will not let this go,” she said, before recognizing the protests that began to take over the nation following Taylor’s death and that of George Floyd.

“I felt like with the whole pandemic, Breonna would be forgotten, and we would just get swept under the rug,” added Palmer, before reacting to Breonna’s place in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “And how do I feel then? Like, my God, somebody heard me. Like I finally caught my breath. That’s how I feel. Like I finally caught my breath.”

Read Palmer’s full account here.

[via TooFab]

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Breonna Taylor is an “American girl, she is a sister, a daughter and a hard worker,” says Amy Sherald (@asherald), who, for over 20 years, has been putting the narratives of Black families and people to canvas. “Those are the kinds of people that I am drawn towards.” Sherald—who painted Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery in 2018—took extraordinary care in reimagining Breonna, drawing inspiration from things she learned about the 26 year old: that she had been a front-line worker in the fight against COVID-19; that her boyfriend had been about to propose marriage; that she was self-possessed, brave, loving, loved. Those heartbreaking details appear in the painting, from the gold cross on a chain necklace to the engagement ring she would never get to wear. “I made this portrait for her family,” Sherald says. “Producing this image keeps Breonna alive forever.”

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