October 20, 2021

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The story behind the cover of TIME by George Floyd’s “Justice – Not Yet For All”

The story behind the cover of TIME by George Floyd's "Justice - Not Yet For All"


While a jury’s guilty verdicts were issued Tuesday to form Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on trial for George Floyd’s murder, people across America have found a moment to exhale. Houston artist Ange Hillz, meanwhile, went to work: in 24 hours, he created this week’s TIME cover portrait of Floyd, to accompany a story by TIME’s Janell Ross.

“My choice was to use a lot of color to represent all the colors of the people who supported this result … all the diversity,” Hillz tells TIME. “I was so happy for the family, the world was happy.”

But as a testament to how tenuous this moment of joy and resolution is, Hillz delivered the final artwork from a Minneapolis airport while on his way to the funeral of Daunte Wright, another unarmed black man recently killed by a police officer (and whose death occurred while Chauvin’s trial was underway). “The work continues, we will not stop,” said Hillz, well aware of what remains to be done to dismantle structural inequality and systemic racism in the United States.

Read more: “There is still a lot of work to do.” Backed by the results of the Chauvin trial, the police reform movement looks ahead

Hillz has built a lasting relationship with the Floyd family over the past year, having first met them when he created a quick painting of Floyd at the family’s private funeral in Houston last June. Since that day, Hillz claims to have communicated regularly with family members.

It is a revolutionary act to create such a likeness of a black man like George Floyd, that he would normally only be visible if he were a celebrity or a perceived threat. And it is radical to make him as he was: a father, a son and a brother; an ordinary man who, in death, has reached an almost iconographic status. The image exists as a tribute to Floyd’s humanity and to this tenuous moment of American possibility.

“All we need is equality,” says Hillz. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

Get a print of the cover of TIME’s George Floyd “Justice – Not Yet For All”