Dubbed the official headquarters for all things black girl magic Essence is once again going to be 100% black-owned. This week it was announced that the multi-platform media company behind the legendary magazine has been acquired by Essence Ventures. Founded in 2017 by Sundial Brands founder Richelieu Dennis Essence Ventures describes itself as “an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of women of color.”
This announcement serves as a public victory for the entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist who received massive criticism for Sundial subsidiary Sheamoisture’s expanding its product line and advertising to appeal to women from all backgrounds. Dennis, who refers to ESSENCE as “culturally relevant and historically significant” has consistently affirmed his commitment to the black community supporting events like Brooklyn’s annual “Curlfest” and participating in initiatives like In Her Shoe’s “Brothers Behind The Brands.”
Not only will the ownership of ESSENCE remain in the community the brand’s business will reflect the brilliance that has long sustained its masthead. The executive team will consist of all black women with an equity stake in the company.
Discussions surrounding those in creative retaining ownership have been circulating in the media with everyone from Complex to Buzzfeed being pulled into the conversation.
Strategic changes at the aforementioned company have led to control of popular podcast “Another Round” being transferred to hosts Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu who recommended in their joint statement that the business world “let black women own stuff” as “It can only improve things.”
ESSENCE’s own “Yes, Girl!” podcastis just one of the ways the brand is competing in the digital space.
After 48 years the ESSENCE brand is stronger than ever with films like “Girls Trip” introducing it’s legacy to the mainstream. And now under Dennis’ stewardship it seems Essence is ready to approach the big 5-0 with more of what President Michelle Ebanks calls “the sheer beauty, power and magic of Black women.”
Photo Credits: Latched and Hooked, Buzzfeed