Earlier this week, Essence, an almost 5o year old institution, announced it had been purchased by Essence ventures LLC, making it 100% Black owned once again. The purchaser is Richelieu Dennis, a Liberian, who also created Shea Moisture. Shea Moisture has been purchased by Unilever, a move which was criticized by some in the African-American community. Danielle Gray, a fashion and beauty expert from NYC, however, thinks this is a good move and can’t wait to see what is in store:
I think the news of Essence becoming Black-owned once again after 20 years is amazing and empowering especially at a time when many of our civil rights are still under attack. I love that Richelieu Dennis played a major role in making this happen. He also started a fellowship program under his Sundial Brands through the recent Unilever acquisition for minority business owners with a $50 million investment. Many wrote him off for “selling out” but I’m hoping more will understand the decisions he made. I can’t wait to see what the new Essence venture has in store.
In an interview with The Root, Michelle Ebanks, the President of Essence, says the move, “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.”
Why is this deal awesome?
It puts Black people in charge of their own storytelling – 100%. It empowers women: Essence’s executive team is 100% female. Building Black wealth: The team also gets equity stake in the company.
Of course, the move is being celebrated, and Twitter shows you how:
— Blavity (@Blavity) January 5, 2018
ESSENCE, a hallmark for black women, is now a 100% Black-owned indie company. ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks will continue at the helm of the company + will join its board of directors. The Black female executive team of ESSENCE will have an equity stake in the business. #BGR! pic.twitter.com/7e4cjiKP8r
— BLACK GIRLS ROCK! (@BLACKGIRLSROCK) January 3, 2018
Wow is ESSENCE magazine is now a 100% Black owned! The magazine was bought by Essence Ventures LLC, an all Black female exec team! pic.twitter.com/H9IGvPhYNd
— 🥀 (@MJStarLover) January 3, 2018
.@Essence has been bought by an independent, all Black company. 2018 is already lit. 🔥
— PrestonMitchum (@PrestonMitchum) January 3, 2018
More of this, please. We can no longer wait for white-dominated media corporations to “get it,” nor to address concerns about diversity and representation that have gone long neglected. I’m increasingly convinced that we simply just need to own our shit. https://t.co/5jIfjeOsZZ
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) January 4, 2018
— Clarene Mitchell (@MrsCMitch) January 4, 2018
now that essence is black owned. y’all know essence fest bouta be LIT
— C🐘 (@vivalacarlaa) January 3, 2018
We have a Kerri Washingston + Viola Davis collab in the works & Essence is now black-owned. It’s a good day for #BlackGirlMagic.
— jm. (@jovaniamichele) January 3, 2018
— K. Nicole Dixon (@Iamtheknicole) January 4, 2018
Some people didn’t know Essence wasn’t 100% Black owned, others expressed apprehension (what does this mean?) while others, encouraged people to go subscribe!
Wait Essence wasnt black owned?
— Bring wings. (@_SharonO_) January 5, 2018
A little bit of mixed emotions. I do really like unilever brands such as Dove but we all know they missed the mark last year…so I’m excited Essence is entirely black owned but apprehensive of what that means in the future?
— Teyoncé 🍀👸🏽 (@teeairawr) January 5, 2018
— Arlene Dávila (@arlenedavila1) January 5, 2018
— Janell J. (@Ms_Urbane) January 5, 2018
Everybody that congratulated @Essence on being black-OWNED once again on social media: Buy a subscription now 😁
— Traci Daniels (@Traci_Daniels) January 5, 2018
As a Latina, I’ve found Essence magazine to have superb storytelling and also is a great way to learn about African American culture. I suspect we’ve just started seeing all the #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackWomenPower (Bye Roy Moore!) and Black women will only show us more and more that they are a force to be reckoned with!
HEADER CREDIT: GIPHY