Since 1970 Essence has been the premiere fashion and culture magazine for women of color. Its branding was so popular that Time Inc., purchased the magazine and for the past 12 years, a publication dedicated to Black women was in White hands. All of that changed this week after it was announced that the company has been sold to Essence Ventures LLC, a company launched in 2017 by Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis. With this sale, the legacy of essence is back in the control of Black owners.
According to Black Enterprise magazine, Essence president Michelle Ebanks will continue in her role and join its board of directors. In addition, Ebanks, along with a Black female-led executive team, will have an equity stake in the business. Ebanks issued a statement which reads in part, “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, In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”