01/12/2015 05:34 pm ET Updated Jan 12, 2015

Essence Editor-In-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca Talks Magazine's Historic 'Black-Out' Cover

In a historic editorial decision, February’s cover of Essence Magazine does not feature a prominent celebrity photo, but instead took a stand on a more pressing issue.

The magazine features a simple phrase, #BlackLivesMatter, which has come to represent the movement to end police brutality following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In a HuffPost Live conversation on Friday, Essence editor-in-chief Vanessa K. De Luca discussed the reasoning behind the bold “black-out” cover -- the first issue without a cover image in Essence’s 45-year history.

“We were thinking about what is the thing that is going to grab people … and sometimes it’s very clear that that’s a person,” she said. “In this instance, it was very clear that it had to be a message around this whole social justice, new civil rights movement that we’re bearing witness to.”

The movement, which spawned marches from New York City to Los Angeles, has recalled the harsh reality of black life in America and “galvanized” communities across the globe, De Luca added.

“2014 honestly was a wake up call, I think for all of us,” she said. “When you think about the impact of this particular hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, and how it has echoed across the world, it touched people’s hearts in a very emotional and real way. And I think we’re ready for it.”

Watch HuffPost Live delve into Essence Magazine’s biggest stories from the February issue here.

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