The biggest oxymoron in the world today is a black media company that isn’t black owned. We saw media conglomerates gobble up black-owned media outlets quickly as the 2000’s approached, most notably BET’s sale to Viacom back in 2001. It’s refreshing to see that there is a clear change in the paradigm today. This one is incredibly refreshing for many reasons!
Essence Magazine is now a 100% black owned publication again, the first time in two decades! Time Inc, the former owners of the black culture staple for women of color, sold the magazine to entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis, owner of Sundial Brands that operates Shea Moisture. Essence Ventures announced the sale on Wednesday and didn’t disclose specific details.
In a phone interview with the New York Times, Dennis said of the sale, “This will give Essence a platform and a voice to serve its consumers, which are women of color. They have allowed us to invest into the business so that we can bring in the infrastructure and resources.” Essence Ventures also released a statement signifying that the current executive team, headed by president Michelle Ebanks, will stay intact while also having a ownership stake in the business under the new deal.
What does this new sale mean for the content of the magazine? Only time will tell. Personally, I like the fact that ownership is changing back into black hands. Mr. Dennis is a very capable business man that has years of experience under his belt. I’m interested in seeing where new ownership takes the magazine, especially in the new digital media era!
- “With Sale, Essence Is Once Again a Fully Black-Owned Magazine” Garcia, Sandra, New York Times, January 3, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/03/us/essence-sale-black-owned.html