At the top of the artwork, entitled Say your names, is the face of George Floyd, whose death during a police intervention in Minneapolis last month has led to global demonstrations against racism and police violence. Below the contour of his shoulders follows portraits of other black men and women killed by police officers. There are also icons from the civil rights movement.
In the interactive online version of the cover, the viewer can browse the portrait and read some lines about who the people depicted were and how they died. Among those portrayed are David McAtee, who was shot dead by members of the Kentucky National Guard in early June at a protest following George Floyd's death. Historical persons such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks are also included."A turning point in 401 years of slavery"
Artist Kadir Nelson says in The Washington Post that the artwork provides a "visual context of historically institutionalized racism and discrimination against African Americans."
“We must not turn away, no matter how painful it is. It is only when we accept that these murders are part of our shared history that we may move toward a more just world. ” says New York's art editor, Françoise Mouly.
The cover has been widely circulated and praised by many on social media. Filmmaker and activist Ava DuVernay who made the movie Selma, which is about Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, comments on the cover of twitter with the words "a heartbreaker".
Actor Jamie Lee Curtis thanks The New Yorker on his Instagram account and writes that the artwork is "a turning point in our 401 years of slavery and the 243 as a nation."