In an awe-inspiring power move, Richelieu Dennis, the Liberian born founder of SheaMoisture, has purchased ESSENCE magazine from Time Inc. This means that the magazine is once again wholly and independently owned by an all-black corporation.
Time Inc., which was also home to other magazine titles such as Time, People and ESPN, was recently sold to Meredith Corp (owner of Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens and AllRecipes). However, ESSENCE was not a part of that deal and has since been looking for a buyer. Luckily for them, they lucked out, as it seems Dennis is the better fit.
“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,” said Dennis in the press release.
As a part of that sale, Dennis managed to negotiate an unprecedented deal term which required Unilever to commit $50 million to empower women of color entrepreneurs through a fund called, the “New Voice Fund.” With the purchase of the iconic ESSENCE magazine brand, Dennis has already begun to make good on that commitment. Maybe even more impressive than the purchase of the magazine is that the all-black female executive team will move from simply leading and working for the title to co-ownership positions. An ingenious move to ensure that all parties involved truly have a vested interest in its success.
“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,” said ESSENCE President, Michelle Ebanks; who will continue at the helm of the company and will also join its board of directors. “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.”
“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.”
The purchase of ESSENCE, an iconic brand held near-and-dear to the hearts of the African-American community, by the creator of another brand also held near-and-dear by the African-American community, set social media ablaze with fans of both brands expressing their collective delight. Check out some of the comments below…