Earlier today, news broke that Essence Ventures LLC, an independent African-American owned company owned founded and owned by SheaMoisture founder Richelieu Dennis, acquired multi-platform media company Essence Communications Inc. from Time Inc.
The move means that Essence Magazine is now a 100% Black-owned publication.
ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks will retain her current role and will also join its board of directors. To top it all off, the all Black female executive team of ESSENCE, will have an equity stake in the business.
“This acquisition of ESSENCE 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,” Ebanks said in a statement, “In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”
“The strategic vision and leadership that Michelle has provided to ESSENCE over the years have been exemplary, and we are thrilled to work with her and her talented team to provide the necessary resources and support to continue to grow the engagement and influence of the ESSENCE brand and transform this business,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and chairperson of Essence Ventures. “As importantly, we are excited to be able to return this culturally relevant and historically significant platform to ownership by the people and the consumers whom it serves and offer new opportunities for the women leading the business to also be partners in the business.”
Dennis continued, “We remain committed to leveraging our resources to provide opportunities for other culturally-rooted entrepreneurs and businesses that further our culture and create economic opportunities for our communities. Our focus here will be on ensuring that Essence reaches its full potential via heightened capabilities, technology, products and touch points that super-serve the interests of Black women locally and globally. We look forward to helping generate new opportunities that create more value across the ESSENCE portfolio with unmatched content, commerce and international access for the millions of women it serves, as well as exceptional value for our advertising partners and content creators.”
ESSENCE Magazine is now 100% Black owned. 😭 If this doesn't set the tone for the culture this year, I don't know what will. As a former ESSENCE intern (and simply a Black woman), I've been waitiiing for this day. Wow! 💕
— LaQuayle Agurs (@Quayle_NotQuel) January 3, 2018
The acquisition comes just weeks after news of Unilever‘s acquisition of Sundial Brands broke, leaving many Black women disheartened. It appears that Dennis had a much bigger picture in mind. This is truly a joyous occasion and will no doubt lead to a spike in subscriptions! We are so here for this!