Cover photos by Jared Wickerham
2020 Pittsburgh City Paper covers
When Pittsburgh City Paper
photographer Jared Wickerham found out writer Jordan Snowden was interviewing local social media influencer Martayla Poellinitz, he knew he wanted to involve her make-up artistry in his cover shoot.
In the wake of George Floyd's death and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed, Martayla, who had reached over 25,000 followers on her TikTok account @martymoment
at the time of our article, was using her make-up artistry to spread political statements like "Defund the Police" and "Arrest the Cops who Killed Breonna Taylor" to her followers.
For her City Paper
cover story, Jared invited Martayla to write an expression of her choosing on her face with makeup. She chose "Black Lives Matter," and the two of them got the shot (with organizers' permission) during a Civil Saturdays protest.
Their work, along with the graphic design of Abbie Adams, has earned them Best Cover Design (magazines) in the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation's 2021 Robert L. Vann Media Awards.
"The awards honor excellence in journalism coverage of African American and African diaspora communities, individuals and issues," read a press release announcing the awards on Jan. 8, which were delayed due to COVID and "other challenges."
Founded in 1973, PBMF is a nonprofit organization consisting of Black professional journalists, public relations specialists, and journalism professors and college students. The journalism awards competition was launched by PBMF in 1988 to honor Robert L. Vann, the Pittsburgh Courier publisher committed to journalism and creating a voice for the Black community.