Essence Magazine is Now Completely Managed By a Black Owner
Essence Communications revealed on Thursday that Essence Ventures had purchased it for an undisclosed sum from Time Inc. Richelieu Dennis founded Essence Venture in 2017, who also founded Sundial Brands, a personal care company that owns Shea Moisture, Nubian Heritage and Mrs. C.J. Walker cosmetics brands.
According to the New York Times, Time Inc. originally bought a 49 percent stake in the publication from founders Clarence Smith and Ed Lewis in 2000 before buying the remaining 51 percent in 2005.
Michelle Ebanks, C.E.O of Essence, will continue to lead the organization and will also join the board. In fact, the organization will obtain an equity stake from Ebanks and Essence’s all-black female executive team.
“This acquisition of Essence marks the beginning of an exciting evolution of our iconic brand as it expands to serve the needs and desires of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even higher and more comprehensive way through print, electronic, e-commerce and experiential channels,” Ebanks said in a statement. “However, it reflects a vital acknowledgment, centering and advancement of Black women who run the company from a position of sole leadership to a position of co-ownership.”
Essence Ventures added that the 47-year-old publication will focus on expanding its online operations to represent and empower black women.
Dennis continued, “Our emphasis here will be on ensuring Essence achieves its full potential through expanded resources, innovation, services and touchpoints that super-serve Black women’s interests locally and globally.”