TIME Magazine is celebrating has an added dose of Black Girl Magic this month with Boomerang co-producer Lena Waithe, Ava DuVernay and legendary TV and film star and How to Get Away with Murder actress Cicely Tyson.
DuVernay guest-edited this month's issue, "The Art of Optimism," which features Cicely Tyson on one of the two commemorative covers (the other features artwork by South African painter Nelson Makamo).
DuVernay writes about how the arts are "the antidote for our times," writing that at a time of intense divisiveness and fake news, "art calls to the optimism within us and beckons us to breathe."
"The national headlines were what we've come to expect: bigotry, poverty, injustice, trauma, trouble. I weighed my own feelings of despair and doubt against the idea of reveling in an experience dedicated to optimism," she wrote. "The choice was easy. I wanted to explore the other side...Working on this issue with the stellar team at TIME helped me to remember a simple truth: that prioritizing hope whenever possible is a brave and bold thing to do."
Tyson was not only a cover model for this issue, but was also interviewed about her life and career founded in optimism and inspiration.
"If I were not optimistic, I wouldn't be here," she said. "Truly. Look at the state of the world today. You better be optimistic. You really do have to have faith and belief and understanding in order to survive. And know that you will not be defeated if you really think positive, about yourself and the life you've chosen to live."
Waithe's column for DuVernay's issue details how Black Hollywood's moment in the sun should be year-round, not just because it's now "popular" to have Black entertainment.
"What makes me optimistic today are the people trying to rip up what it means to be Black and successful in Hollywood and rebuild it afresh," she wrote. "...Audiences are loving this new renaissance. They're entertained, but they're also educated. But my hope is that it no longer needs to be a renaissance, a moment or a movement. I want it to be the norm."
The new issue of TIME is now available on newsstands.