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EBONY - June 2018


Danai Gurira—A-list actress, playwright, producer and activist—has done the necessary calculations to use her Black Girl Magic to its full potential while navigating television, film and Broadway.

photography: Dennis Leupold
creative direction: Courtney Walter
photo production: Bianca Grey
styling: Thomas Carter Phillips
makeup: Tym Buacharern
hair: Vernon Scott
nails: Tracy Clemens

Chances are people recognize her for her resilient roles as Michonne on AMC's The Walking Dead or as Okoye in Marvel's Black Panther or Avengers films. While she shoots up the ladder of success in Hollywood, Gurira is widening the door, and it's the stories she shares and the opportunities she gives other women, who look like her, that she wants you to remember.

The Iowa-born actress who was raised in Zimbabwe recognizes what it takes to attain success as a Black woman. She understands having to work twice as hard for much less of the pie. In real life, she's more reserved than the characters she has been fortunate to play. Though she may not have to fight physically for her survival, she navigates an industry where the fight for inclusion is just as exhausting. She gracefully does so by providing other actresses with opportunities and using her platform to sponsor African arts students with the chance to study at American universities.

Gurira posed for her EBONY photo shoot, radiating the aura of someone who knows where she is in life yet is still on a mission to get where she wants to go. While dancing to Diana Ross’ infectious 1979 single "The Boss," she was honest about being just like almost every other Black woman: wanting to read more, rarely fitting in time to cook and being a bit too attached to her phone. And still, she is continuing her growth as a full-fledged, multihyphenate: actress/writer/producer and wildlife activist.

Read the exclusive story in the June 2018 issue of EBONY magazine.

Behind The Scenes with Danai Gurira
Behind The Scenes with Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira behind-the-scenes during her EBONY cover shoot.

Click on images to enlarge
Danai Gurira, Photography by Dennis Leupold
Danai Gurira, Photography by Dennis Leupold
Danai Gurira, Photography by Dennis Leupold
Danai Gurira, Photography by Dennis Leupold
Danai Gurira, Photography by Dennis Leupold
Danai Gurira, Photography by Dennis Leupold



There is a lot to be excited about in our Black Music issue.

Music is—and always has been—an essential part of our heritage, which began in Africa and followed our ancestors across oceans throughout the Diaspora. As the originators of so many genres—Afro-punk, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, folk, ragtime, soul, hip-hop, house, rap, funk, blues, reggae, ska, jazz, gospel and others—we have been the masterminds behind much of the inspirational music that has become part of our national cultural influence. That being said, the impact of artists such as B.B. King, Billie Holiday, Bob Marley, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, Prince, Tupac Shakur and Whitney Houston, to name a few, can never truly be measured.

Whether you plan to see one of your favorite contemporary artists this summer during one of the many buzzed-about tours, our Black Music Feature will get you excited about what’s to come. Still undecided about the artsits you would like to see perform? Check our Summer Concert Roundup for a list of the hottest shows. We also have the latest on artists such as Ne-Yo, JJ Hairston, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Shemekia Copeland, Nipsey Hussle and others.

After the concert ends, make time to take in the beauty around you. Enter Danai Gurira. Who better to epitomize Nubian beauty and radiance on our cover than the actress/playwright who wields both a sword and a pen with equal adroitness? She played a superwarrior in Black Panther, which at press time was the third highest-grossing movie in North America.

At a time when women are reclaiming their power in the entertainment industry, Gurira is using hers to create incredible stories showcasing Black actresses. She is writing the script for Americanah, based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s award-winning book, which will star Lupita Nyong’o. Gurira is currently appearing in the big-budget spring release Avengers: Infinity War. If that weren’t enough, she has also written several plays, including the Tony-nominated Eclipsed, which ran on Broadway in 2016. There is no stopping her.

Linda Johnson Rice

And last but not least, we remember to honor our fathers and other male role models. TV chef Roger Mooking of the Cooking Channel offers his best grilling tips. Dr. Willie Jolley, iHeartRadio personality, motivational speaker and author, schools brothers on how to maintain a great marriage. And we have great gift ideas for Dad on his special day. From practical finds to high-tech gizmos, there is bound to be at least one item in our roundup with his name on it.

There is a lot to take in, but by all means, please do so. And enjoy!

Linda Johnson Rice
—Linda Johnson Rice,
CEO of Ebony Media Operations

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It aint nothing but
Hip-Hop Beauty

From Aliyahs Side swept bangs, Da Brat's famous rubber band style, Missy Elliots Dark lips, Lil Kim's Blue wig, Left eye's single black line under her eye, Mary J Blige's thick Blonde Braids, we re-created our favorite Hip-hop looks from the 90's.

photography: @dennisleupold
creative direction: @thecourts
photo production: @biancagrey
styling: @breabstar
makeup: @mylahmorales
hair: @larryjarahsms
nails: @beautyundone

Get the digital issue to read more.

Click on images to enlarge
Hip Hop Beauty
Hip-Hop Beauty
Hip-Hop Beauty
Hip-Hop Beauty
Hip-Hop Beauty
Hip-Hop Beauty

Being Mary Janes

Meet some of the Black Women Making Moves - and Some green - in the Legal Marijuana Industry, by Chandra Thomas Whitfield

Click on images to enlarge
Being Mary Jane
Being Mary Jane
Being Mary Jane
Being Mary Jane
Being Mary Jane
Being Mary Jane


EBONY.com celebrates #BlackMusicMonth with curated playlists displaying and appreciating Black Music for exactly what it is. Art.
We love Black Music.


Inside This Month's EBONY Magazine

10 Letters
11 CEO's Letter
12 Making the Cover
14 Contributors
15 As seen on Ebony.com

16 Culture
Our Issues: Chicago Father Alan Scott Remembers Losing His Daughter to Gun Violence; Black Women Help Grow the Medicinal Marijuana Market; #GOALS: Shahida Mausi, President and CEO of The Right Productions; City Spotlight: Baltimore

28 Fashion
Get Into the Swim With Great Swimsuits; Best Beach Accessories; Men’s Fashion: Trunks With Afrocentric Influence; Style Trendsetter: Ciara

36 Beauty
Summer Beauty Special; Beauty Diaries: Teyana Taylor; Recreating Fab Retro Hip-Hop Beauty Looks; Crystals Radiate a Beauty Vibe; Men’s Grooming: Stay Cool

48 Lifestyle
Bon Appétit: Chef Roger Mooking Fires Up the Grill for Summer; Travel: Exploring Cuba’s Vibrant Music Scene; Need a Health Coach? Make Sure to Find the Right One; Fitness: High-Intensity Workouts Help You Shed the Pounds; Dr. Willie Jolley Tells Men the Secret to a Lasting Union

Few actresses are kicking butt at the box office with a record-breaking blockbuster in the can and Avengers: Infinity War out this spring. But few actresses are superwoman Danai Gurira.

In honor of African-American Music Appreciation Month, we showcase the different genres—from blues to country to rock—and bring you the artists who continue the legacy of making influential music.

76 Entertainment
Spotlight on OWN’s Love Is __, Starring Will Catlett and Michele Weaver; LeToya Luckett Steps Into a New Destiny; Our Father’s Day Gift Guide for Old-School and Millennial Dads; Tech Gadgets That Will Make His Day; Books About Life, Politics and Legends

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela