Essence Magazine is now in Black hands
At the beginning of 2018 a deal was finalized for Time Inc. to sell Essence Communications to a private venture capital group formed by Richelieu Dennis. He is the founder of the popular hair and skin care company Sundial Brands which owns Shea Moisture.
“This will give Essence a platform and a voice to serve its consumers, which are women of color,”
Sundial Brands is known for products such as Shea Moisture African Black Soap
SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner
The sale price was not disclosed. The new company is Essence Ventures LLC which is headed by an all Black female executive board headed by president Michelle Ebanks.
“This acquisition of Essence represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,”
Essence Communications was founded in 1968. The magazine itself was launched in 1970.
The magazine covers fashion, lifestyle and beauty, with an intimate girlfriend-to-girlfriend tone, and its slogan “Fierce, Fun, and Fabulous” suggests the magazine’s goal of empowering African-American women.
The topics the magazine discusses range from celebrities, to fashion, to point-of-view pieces addressing current issues in the Black community. A number of its readers engage closely and personally with the publication, and it claims to be the magazine “for and about Black women”.
Essence Magazine in the LGBT Community
That being said Essence also has a large Black gay readership although no hard data is available.
The magazine has had LGBT related articles as well:
Singer Ne-yo came out as gay in a 2008 Essence article
In 2010 they featured a Black lesbian couple, Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills
In 2012 the featured another Black lesbian couple, Audrey Smaltz and Gail Marquis
This is the same company that puts on the Essence Music Festival which is the largest annual gathering of Black musical talent in the United States. The festival boasts big name talent such as India Aire, Beyonce, Mary J. Blidge, and many others. They’ve also had many high profile guests such as Hilary Clinton and former president Barack Obama.