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ESSENCE Magazine is taking a radical approach to their Holiday issue.

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Chrisean Rose / Ramona Rosales/ Chrisean Rose / Essence Magazine

The magazine is offering up three different covers for the issue, which they’ve dedicated to self-care. Cover stars Lizzo, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Simone Biles all made headlines this year for choosing themselves and their mental health amid public pressure.

We’re excited to offer a look at all three covers along with excerpts from the magazine’s feature stories on all three ladies.

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Ramona Rosales / Essence Magazine

First off, we have to applaud the editorial/photographic direction of these looks! Lizzo’s bold turquoise eye is EVERYTHING!!!!

Senior Entertainment Editor Brande Victorian interviewed Lizzo about body positivity and more, in her cover story “Simply Being.”

The musician told Victorian she feels constantly misunderstood, “No one’s ever right about me.”

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Ramona Rosales / Essence Magazine

She also revealed that she’s grown tired of being the spokesperson for body positivity.

“It’s exhausting,” Lizzo admits. “And that’s the point. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. We should be neutral about bodies.”

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Ramona Rosales / Essence Magazine

That’s definitely easier said than done. But we agree that there is a WHOLE lot more to discuss when it comes to Lizzo than her body. We really enjoyed hearing her talk about making the kind of music audiences don’t often expect a Black woman to make:

“I use 808s, just not in the same way everyone else does,” she explains of the drum machine that characterizes most of today’s hip-hop and R&B. “I have songs I could drop right now, but that’s just not my purpose. That’s not why God made me and put me on this planet at this exact time.”

Listen, we’re eagerly awaiting her music! Whenever you’re ready Lizzo!

Hit the flip for an excerpt from Simone Biles’ cover story “More Than A Medal.”

Can we just talk about the beauty of Black women for a minute?

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Chrisean Rose / Essence Magazine

Simone Biles looks stunning on her cover right? We’re in absolute awe — not just of her cover look, but also in her words. In the issue she discusses her controversial decision to withdraw from the Olympics this summer.

“I definitely knew any stand I took would be a little bit bigger than itself,” Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles tells writer Kovie Biakolo in her cover story, “More Than A Medal.” “At the end of the day, we’re humans. We’re not just athletes. We’re not just here for entertainment.”

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Chrisean Rose / Essence Magazine

While discussing the “twisties” that lead to her headline-making move not to compete along with the backlash to her withdrawal, as well as the outpouring of love and support she received, Biles ultimately explains in the feature, “I feel content with what I did and how I made the decision.”

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Chrisean Rose / Essence Magazine

We support you Simone!

Hit the flip for the final cover, featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones.

We love that Nikole Hannah-Jones is covering magazines as a result of her courage!

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Itaysha Jordan / Essence Magazine

In her cover story “When ‘NO’ Opens Doors,” Pulitzer Prize–winner Nikole Hannah-Jones talks about how when she declined to accept tenure at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill months after they withdrew their initial offer, she didn’t just say no for herself.

“It was important for me to say no to UNC, for my dignity, my self-respect,” she explains to ESSENCE Senior News and Politics Editor Malaika Jabali. “And then, outside of me, I needed to do it for Black people and marginalized people, for their dignity and respect, too.”

Lizzo covers Essence magazine

Source: Itaysha Jordan / Essence Magazine

Hannah-Jones says she immediately saw the impact of that choice. “A lot of people were watching, people who you wouldn’t think would have any investment at all in whether some New York Times reporter gets tenure at a university,” notes the professor who subsequently joined Howard University and is now creating their Center for Journalism and Democracy. “One TSA agent told me, ‘I hope North Carolina does right by you.’”

Love that. Love how we root for our people!

Hannah-Jones’ groundbreaking 1619 Project for The New York Times Magazine was published as a book, The 1619 Project: An Origin Story, this week.

So… Which of the covers is your favorite?

For more on this special feature and more, visit ESSENCE.com or pick up the November/December issue on newsstands during the holidays.

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