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Essence Is Once Again a Fully Black-Owned Magazine …

Time Inc. is selling Essence Communications Inc. to Essence Ventures LLC, a company launched in 2017 by Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis. As a result, the Essence brand has returned to a 100% black-owned independent company, after 12 years of being owned by Time.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Mr. Dennis, 48, said that he bought the magazine “to serve and empower women of color.”

“This will give Essence a platform and a voice to serve its consumers, which are women of color,” Mr. Dennis said during a flight from his native Liberia to the United States. “They have allowed us to invest into the business so that we can bring in the infrastructure and resources.”

According to a statement released by the magazine’s owner, Essence Ventures, Essence will keep its current executive team, which consists entirely of black women, including Michelle Ebanks, the magazine’s president. The executive team will also have an ownership interest in the business.

The acquisition 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,” Ms. Ebanks said in the statement.

Essence, a 48-year-old monthly lifestyle magazine, has a majority-black readership. The magazine focuses on fashion, pop culture, music and black life. It also holds an annual music festival at which Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige and Chance the Rapper were headliners last year.

In 2000, the magazine’s founders, Clarence Smith and Ed Lewis, sold a 49 percent stake in Essence to Time Inc. The company bought the remaining 51 percent in 2005.

Mr. Dennis said that he approached Time Inc. about buying Essence after Time Inc. was sold in November to the Meredith Corporation, the owner of Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle, in an all-cash transaction worth about $2.8 billion. Mr. Dennis sold Sundial Brands to Unilever that month.

The Essence motto is “Black women come first,” and Mr. Dennis said he intended to live up to it.

“What we now have is an opportunity to have the liquidity to make investments in Essence,” said Mr. Dennis. “We can now invest in women of color as consumers.”

The post Essence Is Once Again a Fully Black-Owned Magazine … appeared first on GigiOnThat!.

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Essence Is Once Again a Fully Black-Owned Magazine …


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