Cover of Essence’s February 2015 issue

For the first time in the 45-year history of Essence, the magazine will not have its typical model or celebrity gracing the cover. The issue, which goes on sale Thursday, will be a black-out cover to honor the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Our anger and hurt are calling us to look inward, to ask ourselves the hard questions: Are we doing what’s needed to demonstrate that black life matters?” former Essence Editor-in-Chief Susan L. Taylor wrote in the issue.

The February issue will have contributors sharing their perspectives on race, crime, brutality and healing. Contributors include Taylor, activist Angela Davis, author Isabel Wilkerson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, performers John Legend and Common, and New York City first lady Chirlane McCray.