“I feel like a girlfriend has died.” – Michaela angela Davis

On Friday evening, cultural critic and writer Michaela angela Davis tweeted: “It is with a heavy heavy heart I have learned that Essence magazine has engaged a white fashion director, this hurts, literally, spiritually.” Michaela’s tweet erupted a series of reactions, re-tweets, and scores of Facebook comments. Responses ranged from shock, disappointment to utter confusion.

Our immediate reaction? As the publication unofficially deemed “Essence‘s little sister”—a growing young urban women’s online brand for news, critical commentary, lifestyle, fashion and beauty—it felt like our Mom walked us hand in hand to the center of the biggest shopping mall in the state, turned around, and left us. But we are no longer the little girls eyeballing the glossy giant who taught us how to love ourselves. We’ve been finding our way through the life, love and labels for quite sometime now; and the likely abandonment of the counselor who taught us everything we know is now evolving into clearer overstanding. The pressing question for many of us is how much does Time Warner have to do with the hiring.

In 2000, media giant Time Warner acquired 49 percent of Essence Communications Partners, and in 2005, the conglomerate purchased the remaining 51 percent. The news was met with a strong contention by the Black community who viewed the transaction as yet another Black business takeover. Time Warner’s purchase of the beloved Essence brand came on the heels of Viacom’s acquisition of Black Entertainment Television.

Essence announced it’s search for a Fashion Director in March after Agnes Cammock left the post several years before. The print’s latest Fashion Director was celebrity stylist Billie Causieestko, who had a brief stint with the magazine lasting less than a year. No information released on why Causieestko no longer holds the spot.

The company has yet to officially announce the new hire. However, media industry site Media Bistro released an article on Monday revealing the pick is Ellianna Placas, formerly of O: The Oprah Magazine and US Weekly. The report confirms Placas will make her official debut with Essence in their 40th anniversary commemorative issue in September. According to the brand’s announcement, the Fashion Director is responsible for developing and conceiving five to seven fashion stories and one feature per month. The position also requires the person to communicate the “Essence style mission on sales calls and represent the brand on television” among other managerial tasks.

CLUTCH spoke with Michaela angela Davis, a former fashion editor for Essence, and a current writer for the print, and fashion media personality Najwa Moses. Both women were gracious enough to share their honest and candid thoughts on the news.

Offering her immediate reaction to the hiring, Michaela says, “I am so so hurt and confused and frankly angry by this news. I feel like a girlfriend has died.” Michaela’s tweets and Facebook comments on the hiring informed many media insiders, and former Essence staff members who had no clue. “I am going against my own advice and publicly speaking when I’m so emotionally driven.” Michaela says she reached out to Angela Burt-Murray, current Editor-in-Chief of Essence. “I emailed her as a respectful heads up informing her that I would be speaking up.” Michaela says her feelings on the news have much to do with Black women’s hostile history with the fashion industry. Further explaining her concerns around the issue, Michaela wrote on Facebook: “It is personal and it’s also professional. If there were balance in the industry; if we didn’t have a history of being ignored and disrespected; if more mainstream fashion media included people of color before the ONE magazine dedicated to Black women ‘diversified’, it would feel different.”

Commenting on if the hiring of a White fashion director has to do with a possible Time Warner strong-hold, Michaela tells CLUTCH, “I do not dare speak on whose brand got who. What I do know is that I’ve seen women go to combat with the biggest of corporate big wigs to protect their audience.”

Michaela shares, “I remember when Vibe launched, I overheard Martha Stewart (whose magazine was a Time publication at the time) laying a corporate executive out–literally screaming at him telling him he has ‘no authority’ to tell her what to put in her magazine, and that he had ‘no idea’ what her ‘culture’ is like. Martha Stewart said ‘she was the expert!’ I will never forget that.”

“But closer to home Susan L. Taylor (former Essence Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director) demanded things for her people, and the community, like the free empowerment seminars at the Essence Music Festival.” Michaela continues, “My point is there are examples of people braving corporate pressures for the love of their audience.”

Connecting the news to the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Michaela says, “I think I am also so sensitive to this ‘unprotected Black women’ issue off the heels of Shirley Sherrod. The NAACP didn’t even call her or Google her history.” Michaela says, “How many qualified Black fashion professionals did they [Essence] call?”

Fashion media personality Najwa Moses has her own set of qualified Black women who should have received a call. “I can think of a few qualified Black women, and men too.” Najwa says. “My picks would be celebrity stylists Patti Wilson, June Ambrose, Kithe Brewster, Memsor  Kamaraké, and Sydney Bolden.” Najwa also says that Michaela angela Davis herself would have been a good pick.

Najwa, a dominant force in the world of fashion media—particularly new media–also shared her immediate reaction: “I was blown away—in shock really.” Najwa tells CLUTCH. “I mean, how could such a prestigious title who is deeply rooted in its target audience let someone who is not even apart of the African Diaspora detonate our image?”

Offering further thoughts on the popular Black women’s brand’s very first White Fashion Director, Najwa reveals she doesn’t really look to Essence for fashion anyway. “I only look inward for fashion to be upfront, but I do look to Essence to continue to inspire and enrich the Black woman’s experience.”

Najwa questions, “How can a White woman dictate and decide what style and beauty is for the Black woman?”

But in a ‘post-racial’ world, some people call Michaela and Najwa’s point of view on the hiring reverse racism. One commenter on Facebook wrote, “I’m surprised that everyone assumes this is terrible news simply because the new person is White. We know absolutely zero about them besides that.” Another commenter stated, “What’s makes her not qualified? I hope that beauty can be found in every woman.” The commenter advised us all to consider her performance first.

Still, media insiders are not buying it. Joan Morgan, an award-winning journalist, author and long-time writer for Essence says she could care less how qualified the brand’s new white Fashion Director could be. “This is about the fact that the publishing industry, particularly when it comes to mainstream women’s magazines remains just about as segregated in its hiring practices as it did in 1988.” Joan referenced a 1988 Folio article about Blacks who are discouraged by the publishing industry’s “laissez-faire attitude toward recruitment.” Joan says, “When these same institutions (naming Conde Nast, Hachette and others) start to employ hiring practices that allow Black publishing professionals the same access to their publications, that’s when I can get all ‘Kumbaya’ about Essence‘s new fashion director.”

For many, the magazine’s bold step of hiring a White Fashion Director signals a new era–or the end of one. When we asked if this is an attempt to broaden the print’s demo, Michaela said, “Having worked at Essence, Vibe and Honey, I know all too well how incredibly difficult it is to get ad sales support. This is such a treacherous time for print.” But Michaela also says that Essence‘s long time cultural standpoint is the brand’s strongest selling point. “The greatest asset a brand can have is a unique promotable position. There is so much brand value there for Black and non-Black readers.” Michaela says if Essence forgoes it’s Black women’s posture, what would make its fashion pages any different from Vogue, In Style, or even O: the Oprah magazine?

Loyal Essence readers and media insiders are eagerly awaiting an official announcement from the publication on the shocking decision, or better an explanation.

How will a White Fashion Director affect the 40-year-old Essence brand—the publication that has become a formidable Black American institution? How will long-time subscribers respond—many who include aspiring Black female writers and editors? Najwa says only time will tell. “For the insider’s insider like myself, I’m planning to peep through the issue to see where it goes–but I won’t be buying it.”

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  • Phenomenal Agent

    Are we really shocked? Essence has changed over the years and not for the better. I literally cried when Susan Taylor stepped down as the editor in chief years ago and it’s been going down hill since.

  • Neex

    Whoever does the fashion pages, white or black, male or female, a change is well overdue. The fashion in Essence is dated at best, the clothes are frumpy, and the concepts are too often repeated. I’m glad they’ve got some fresh blood in!! I only care whether or not they are good at the job. And if the fashion in the magazine improves and they get more advertising revenue or increased circulation because of it then great for everyone I say!!!!

  • Kim

    I don’t care who they hired. I stopped subscribing to Essence in 2006. The mag is snoozeville. Recycled articles, dull layout, boring fashion & style spreads. I’m all for someone breathing new life into this magazine.

  • http://www.theposhmiss.com ThePoshMiss.Com

    Let us not forget that we need all cultures to be successful. Yes this magazine caters to women of color, but many of these women of color have a few colors in them including white. So I am all about diversity.

  • The Mrs.

    I wish the new director well in her new position and hopefully she surprises everyone. But I refuse to believe that there wasn’t a qualified woman of color to take on that role. I look forward to reading Ms. Burt-Murray’s editor’s note in the Sept. Issue.

  • http://www.beautyhealthzoneblog.com/ Happiness

    Yes, maybe she will breath new life into it. Last copy of Essence I bought was probably in 2004 or something.

    Besides, just because the Editor of a magazine is white, it wouldn’t stop me buying it. I buy hair products and skincare products not necessarily for black hair and skin. It’s all about what we like at the end of the day and I stopped buying the magazine because it no longer interested me.

  • http://www.styleandvibes.com MissMikelah

    Having formerly worked for a White EIC for a small Caribbean magazine, I can say she had some great ideas to breathe new life into the mag in some aspect and seemed to be completely out of touch on others. I think Essence may be trying to do something new after doing much of the same over the past few years. Do I think they could have found a Black fashion director, yes. But I don’t think it’s really going to be a bid deal since they all seem to be peddling the same designers anyway. Essence should have made the announcement after her first issue came out, then it would have been about her work not her race.

  • Michelle

    I am curious to see what this woman is bringing to the table…sort of speak.
    I’ll just buy a couple of issues of Essence and see what is going on, before I’ll bring out my pitchfork and invite the angry mob.

  • Bee

    don’t see the problem, so what if she is white? props to essence for hiring the best person for the job irrespective of colour!!!

  • Leah

    Well, Essence lost my love and support when they published that “Black Love” issue with the cover story on P.Diddy and Kim Porter. It was nothing uplifting about that feature and was the straw the broke the camel’s back for me with Essence. Since then, I have let my subscription lapse (they “surprisingly” extending my subscription during this time) and refuse to buy it because it has become a tabloid at best and the fashion featured within does not support Black designers (at least not those who not in the Essence circle) and is overpriced (Come on! Show a mix of pricepoints like you use to).

    Blogs like Clutch have filled that outlet for me, so this news just has me shaking my head… but I’m not surprised at all…

  • http://www.facebook.com/breathenicole Nicole

    I am extremely offended! Offended that this discrimination is acceptable! Race should not be an issue. Are white people allowed to work for that magazine at all? Would a receptionist or janitorial position be acceptable for the “white folk”? Being half black and half white I am sick and tired of people on both sides playing the race card. Granted, Essence is focused on the black culture, but who is to say one is better than the other at delivering simply because of their race? This is infuriating to me because this is one of those commentaries that makes the black culture appear hypocritical! The “I’ll stop discriminating when you stop discriminating” attitude is a piss poor excuse for incredibly immature reactions.

  • 05girl

    Can someone tell me what a fashion director does?

    I definitely don’t look to Essence for fashion advice so I kind of have a “who cares” attitude towards this. I don’t understand why people are taking it so hard, especially when we don’t know (and will never know) the whole story. Hmm, they are not sad about the assumed performance.. they are just mad that she is white. Which is sad.

  • The Mrs.

    1. How many brown faces are on the sidelines covering fashion week? Two, three? How many faces are on the sidelines representing African-American women? As Ms. Davis said, there is a storied relationship between the lack of black women and the fashion industry. This move is like salt on an open wound.

    2. Ms. Davis said, “there are examples of people braving corporate pressures for the love of their audience.” I agree, but apparently Essence doesn’t. This is the same problem I had with Reggie Bush gracing the cover of their black love issue in Feb. While he could’ve been featured in that issue, why not place Lance Gross on the cover (since he was in a relationship with a black woman during that issue)? Of course, people would flock to the stands to buy a cover bearing the chiseled body of Kim Kardashian’s superstar boyfriend. Since Ms. Taylor’s departure, the mag has declined in taste, content, etc; however, I still subscribe with pride because of “cultural standpoint.” While this is a business, I bet that if Essence would remain true to its values when founded, it would still be successful.

    Now I may disagree with this decision, I plan to let the director’s work speak for itself… That’s all for my essay :)

  • Fatimah

    3 words: Get over it!!!

  • au napptural

    I’m too through with Essence. I was trying to reconnect because I want a magazine that has faces that mirror mine, but after the uninspired, factually incorrect articles on natural hair, tired layouts and general hot mess the magazine has been for years, I can’t take any more. This is the last straw. Even when we had nothing black women have always been on the cutting edge of fashion. So getting a white fashion director is taking the magazine backwards. Further, in these perilous times for print, if all you have to sell is your brand don’t decimate it with foolish decisions. This is a black woman’s magazine. If they want to push this, I might as well buy Glamour. The articles are better.

  • http://www.aaronstjuste.wordpress.com Fallible Sage

    I don’t really read Essence regularly, although it always seemed like a great magazine for women of color. This is a interesting and important social and race discussion though.

    I see both sides. I once took an African American Literature course, and was seriously disappointed to see a blond haired white woman teaching the course on my first day. I almost dropped it as a result, it just seemed wrong. Luckily I didn’t, she was one of the most knowledgeable and passionate professors I’d ever had, and I learned a lot from her. Race doesn’t automatically disqualify her from being able to do what she was hired to do well.

    On the other hand, this quote from the article makes a good point.

    “It is personal and it’s also professional. If there were balance in the industry; if we didn’t have a history of being ignored and disrespected; if more mainstream fashion media included people of color before the ONE magazine dedicated to black women ‘diversified’, it would feel different.”

    I get that. In a social set up that will organically exclude people of color, magazines like Essence, and other organizations with similar goals, are not about exclusion, but opportunities for inclusion. I’ve looked at this topic in more detail also.

  • Shante

    Does “Latina” magazine have any non-Latinos editing that mag? (just wondering) And are we sure she is really white? Maybe she just has the appearance of a white woman and she’s Creole, mixed or really light skinned?

  • robbie

    What is new I just saw a black women wearing blonde wig lets face if some black people had acces to micheal jackson’s cream they would change colour without blinking an eye lid. Essence is only following trend which I for one do not agree with because you would never see white people employing a black woman to teach white people how to be white. You even see some TV’s channels claiming to be aiming at black audiences with white presenters talk about treating us with colonial mentality if it’s white it must be good.May the lord help our race. There was an organisation set up to air black peoples concern about discrimination in England, the whites complained about discrimination and guess what whitemen started joining. The whitemen mistook the gathering as a way to have gay relationship that a lot of black men started leaving and now the organisation it now called the pink agenda with no black members.

  • Anonymous

    I just resubscribed to Essence using airline miles but I wouldn’t cancel if I used my own money. From putting Reggie Bush on the cover of an issue celebrating black love to hiring a white fashion director (replacing probably the only black fashion director in the magazine business), Essence has been making one bad decision after another. And it is obviously a result of being bought by Time Warner.

    To me the real problem is not so much about hiring a white fashion director, it’s that black entrepreneurs can’t seem to handle real power. Instead of growing, they sell. While that may give them wealth (at least temporarily) it doesn’t give them power or influence. I have it on good authority that the man who owned (and sold Essence to buy a travel agency on all things) has fallen on tough financial times (to the point of foreclosure). And whatever happened to the trifling Robert Johnson who sold BET to buy a basketball team? Well, at least he didn’t start a record label. Or did he?

  • Benee

    ***Najwa questions, “How can a White woman dictate and decide what style and beauty is for the Black woman?”***

    If this were about Vogue, Cosmo, Glamour, or any other magazine clearly targeting a predominantly White audience, and someone questioned “How can a Black woman dictate and decide what style and beauty is for the White woman?” People would lose their minds!!

    To suggest that only a Black woman can speak about fashion targeted at Black women is insane. Would we prefer Black women be at the head of every section? Sure. Is that saying a White woman can’t? No!

    And I’m sorry, but most of the sistas who can actually afford 75% of the things Essence peddles are likely dressing like White women, wearing labels by White designers ANYway. So whats the big deal? Essence peddles more non-Black labels than anything, so why are folks tripping? Black women are still trying to emulate White women, in fashion, make-up beauty, hair, etc so who better to lead them on their assimilating way that Essence magazine and its new White fashion editor?

    I pay $2/year for Essence. Got a deal through Fandango I think. Thats about as much as that magazine is worth. Its morphed into the Blackenized Cosmopolitan anyway, with everything focused on getting a man. Fix your hair this way… to get a man. Wear your clothes this way… to get a man. Wear this perfume… to get a man. Get your money and credit right… to get a man. Go to the gym… to meet a man. Go to church… to find a godly man. Blah…blah blah… blah blah.

  • Anonymous

    I meant I would cancel.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that the mag has devolved but I do believe that is a direct result of change of ownership. And in a ideal world, the race/cultural background of the fashion editor wouldn’t matter but I think it’s an ironic choice considering the rampant racism that black women deal with in the fashion industry from models to editors to designers. I think the fashion industry is far and away more racist than the rest of corporate America.

  • Shanetta

    I somewhat understand the outrage of a a white fashion editor for essense. It feels like someone who doesn’t understand your secrets , your reasoning, your style, is now giving you advice. But fortunately it is just clothes. It is not realationships, It’s not religion, money, Self confidence issues etc.. It is just clothes. And to be frank the last issue was terrible as far as the fashion goes. They need the best person for the job. Essence is still our magazine.

  • Sara

    I find this entire article disgusting and sad.

    “How can a White woman dictate and decide what style and beauty is for the Black woman?”

    Because beauty is beauty, whats fashionable is whats fashionable whether you like it or not. Not to mention, that her being fashion director doesn’t make her God. She isn’t dictating or deciding anything, just presenting information. If you don’t like it, don’t wear it.

    Also, there is no such thing as “reverse racism” you either are a racist or you’re not, no matter what color you are.

  • http://theurbansocialite.blogspot.com Amber

    I’m all for EOE, but how can you have a hire a White fashion director for a magazine that targets Black women? I’m sure that you can reverse that statement and say the same thing about a Black woman working at Vogue or Elle, but it’s not the same; Essence was created to give women of color a voice, so why would you take part of that voice away?

    By the way Najwa was right, June Ambrose would have made an EXCELLENT choice, along with a number of respected black women in the fashion industry.

    I think it’s time for me to leave Essence alone. Let’s bring Suede back!

  • Ngozi

    I thought I was the only one who had a problem with P. Diddy and Kim Porter. I stopped subscribing after I read their article.

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  • binky

    Honestly, I don’t care who Essence hire because they just not putting out great articles and material for me to read and their fashion and beauty editorials aren’t all that great anyway to make me want to spend my money on the magazine, plus the same people are usually always on the cover so I stop reading it a long time ago. I prefer online magazines and blogs as well like Leah said

  • CLF

    I wish her the best and I know she will do a good job (yes, I know her)…

    Truth is (unfortunately)… a good amount of qualified and distinguished African American fashion editors wouldn’t take the job. Sorry to say, but it’s true. Working at Essence does nothing for their careers… Trust and believe, if they wanted it, they would’ve had it a LONG time ago…

    Essence went for months with that position open and during that time, there was an abundance of AA editors who could’ve swooped that gig up. Did they do it – no… So how can you fault Essence for making that decision?

    Also, here are a few things I’d like to point out:

    1. Let’s be clear – she’s not writing articles about being black, self esteem, etc. – she’s managing the fashion spreads – the visuals that you see. She’s not dictating anything.

    2. She’s still reporting to Essence’s upper mgmt, who know their core audience and will ultimately approve or decline thigns that do or don’t work for the magazine

    3. Celebrity cover stories are occasionally styled by caucasion stylsts – per the celebrities request. So the images you see that my draw you to the mag, may not have been crafted by an African American person.

    4. Finally, let’s be honest. Many of our own personal style is an interpretation or direct replication of what we’ve seen in mainstream media. Nobody in Black Hollywood is dressed authentically “black” and wearing African American designers from head to toe – not Beyonce, Rihanna, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, etc. – none of them.

    Those bandage dresses everyone wore – not an AA designer, the studed clothing? Not AA either… Let’s not forget all the name-dropping rap songs – I don’t hear anybody mentioning Tracy Reese, Monique Pean or Oswald Boateng. Three black designers who are doing thier thing… We should be fair and allow her to prove herself (which I know she will).

    Just my thoughts…

  • http://bryanviper.wordpress.com Bryan Viper

    My reply is best suited to my blog post since it’s lengthy, but I think people need to take a step back & give her a chance–what could it hurt?

  • Alexandra

    Man, I dont even read Essence lol!

  • http://www.thefabulousreport.com Lorna

    Wow, thanks for the insightful article. I am sending it all of my girlfriends.

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  • Leah

    No, Ngozi, you were not alone. Myself and many were thoroughly ticked at Essence after that issue because even though we know Kim needed a wake up call, they did not have to put it out there and show us all she was getting played. It to me was a bs move for Essence to especially make that interview their cover story for of all things… their annual Black Love issue…

  • Essence?

    as black people we sell out every chance we get, which is why we dont own essence anymore in the first place. nobody cares about black people as much as we care about ourselves….sadly enough we dont either.

    it is finished.

  • julienne

    @ Sara — Hmm. I see both sides. However, calling this article racist is a lil’ far-fetched.

  • http://www.notoriousspinkstalks.com Notorious Spinks

    I stopped purchasing Essence when TW bought them.

  • http://www.citizette.com Citizette.com

    Ditto Kim. I actually used to subscribe to Suede magazine, and when that folded I was sent Essence instead and laughed when they begged me to renew my subscription.

    While I agree that the magazine needs to be revamped, I do think that it’s an insult to think that a white woman is the only person qualified for the job. There is a general attitude in the fashion world, that black people do not possess a sense of style, and having a white person in this position only reinforces that idea. I hope that the reason for this decision is that there is literally no black woman in the world qualified for the position. Since I know that’s not true, Essence and Time Warner get a fail.

  • mimoi

    Thank you and ditto

  • http://styleaholics.com naj

    Thank you all for chiming in. What wasn’t included in this article were my thoughts on how our image as black women are constantly and currently under attack. If she was hired as the Marketing Director, PR, Special Events, etc I could care less–but to be in charge of our image??? This is bigger than fashion/race–it’s also about the inside business of fashion–those of us in this industry know exactly how elitist/racist it can be from the boardroom to the runway. If you’ve watched The September Issue you’ll recall that Anna Wintour caught HELL when she put a black model on the Sept. cover several years ago. ANNA WINTOUR. What does that tell you? Ironically Halle Berry will be on this year’s Sept issue. Wake up, understand that it’s deeper and always will be.

    On a business angle this is A BLACK MAGAZINE that was born out of the need to see ourselves within the media landscape b/c we weren’t there. If we were, there would be no need for Essence or any mags that cater to us.
    But as many of you have said–since it was taken over by TW–it has not been the same.

    I’m just happy that Social Media is here…otherwise no one would have ever known.

  • http://www.hustleknockin.com Black Canseco

    There is a level of empirical qualifications required to work in the publishing industry, or any industry, for that matter. These qualifications cut across racial, cultural, gender lines. You can either write or you can’t. You know how to lay out a magazine or you don’t.

    But when it comes to mags like Essence, cultural insights, and cultural politics are inherent to the job.

    When you tell people, particularly Black women that the best qualified person to be a fashion editor for a magazine targeting black women is a white woman, what you’re saying is that Black women can’t speak for themselves and can’t be arbiters of their own beauty standards or aren’t capable of leading the dialog on these topics.

    Even with print media collapsing all around us, there are now and have always been exponentially more magazines and publishing positions for white women that for people of color–male and female.

    Now, even for what’s one of the few mags for Black women you’re saying, “nope”.

    This new fashion editor may be talented and may have a great track record and some great ideas. But again, this is about something bigger:

    Can Black women be the authority on themselves and their identities in media?

    Right now, with this hire, Essence is telling its readers “No, we can’t.”

  • Sara

    Hi Julienne, my intention was not to call the entire article racist (despite my personal opinion that it’s pretty darn close.) I was responding to this quote: “But in a ‘post-racial’ world, some people call Michaela and Najwa’s point of view on the hiring reverse racism.”

  • http://www.speakfemme.blogspot.com Dari

    We are severely under-represented in the fashion industry, and Essence could definitely help change that. There is so much black talent, and again it’s ignored.

    I don’t think this is Time Warner’s doing. If Essence was putting out content that sells, why are they doing so poorly? Essence can’t get it together because the staff isn’t together. The fashion spread for Ciara last issue was disgustingly horrible. No one is inspired. No one wants to buy the magazine for that. Do you think Time Warner is the reason that went down? No. Same with the Reggie Bush cover. Someone is not doing the research.

    If the new fashion director can change things, that would be wonderful. But I can’t help but think that someone else equally talented was overlooked. For me, I want to see a black face. Then, I would feel like black people were coming up in the world and being respected. If just feels like blacks were incompetent in doing that job, so a white person had to takeover.

  • http://www.speakfemme.blogspot.com Dari

    You put that in much better words than me. It’s exactly how I feel.

    This isn’t a magazine like Vogue or Glamour. Those magazines don’t specifically cater to white women. There are just about fashion and culture.

    Essence is a magazine that is supposed to cater to black women. And, unfortunately, has been failing. This new hire just feels like the only person that can do the job right is a white woman.

    Why can’t we do better?

  • Nicole

    This is interesting.

    I am currently reading a book called The Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Silbiger. He outlines in seven chapters that foundational principles that have helped the Jewish people become one of(if not THE) most powerful ethnic group in the world.

    One of the chapters is called, “Take Care of Your Own and They Will Take Care of You”. He specifically says that one of the ways the Jewish people have become so financially, politically, and socially successful/powerful, is because they PURPOSELY LIMIT the amount of help or influence they receive from non-Jews. He says when you allow too much help from outside your ethnic/cultural community, you give away your power to influence and control within your own group.

    That’s what this story reminds me of.

    We give so much away in the name of being accepted and validated by other groups that it’s pathetic. We don’t even try anymore.

    When all is said and done, this is so much bigger than fashion or a magazine.

    But most of “us” don’t even see it…….

  • Just a thought

    Would it be okay if OUT magazine had a heterosexual fashion director?

  • http://bvictorian.wordpress.com/ BVic

    Excellently written @Black Canseco. The issue is definitely that Black women need to be the authority on themselves and their identities in media and for a magazine that supposedly stands for that, it’s not surprising that this hire does more than just raise a few eyebrows. This choice was more than reaching to an outside consultant for an overall marketing strategy or cost-savings analysis, this puts a white women in a position of authority concerning black fashion, and while part of me wants to say perhaps she has some sort of expertise in this area, or her prior work has centered on minority women and fashion–coming from O and US Weekly, that is doubtful.

    The fashion spreads in Essence certainly leave something to be desired, and insight can be gained from a multicultural perspective, but I think a better route would have been to let a Black woman draw inspiration from the culturally homogenous fashion industry and bring a twist that would make it relevant for the magazine’s black readers. All in all, I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Ms.Placas comes up with.

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  • Lisa

    So, you’ll proudly support substandard and slacking work just because it’s Black?

    And interracial love, involving a Black man/woman, is considered Black love since it’s about the love of the Black person. Get off your high horse and get a clue.

  • http://bvictorian.wordpress.com/ BVic

    That’s a really interesting question considering such a large portion of women’s fashion advice is handed down from people who are usually both homosexual and male and that seems to really be the standard. The only thing I’ll say is that when you make editorial hiring choices, your readers have to be the primary consideration, and Essence has to know that when people look to their pages for advice, they want that to come from a Black voice.

  • Lisa

    Essence could have been a Black fashion presence, but sadly they represent the same few piddly ideas over and over again without representing Black fashion leaders. No real fashion presence takes Essence seriously, because it is a tired joke. Hopefully, switching things up will bring life into it.

  • Soon to be

    Not surprising at all. I stopped reading Essence about 7 months ago. The articles are becoming dumber. I never looked to them for fashion advice. Everything they had would be ridiculously expensive…I know they have to know that a lot of their audience is not rich. SMH…

  • http://www.mycliquemag.com Shaina

    Reading this article seriously made me numb on all levels. In addition to Sister 2 Sister, and Upscale, Essence Magazine is to me the only magazine out there for women of color that in the mainstream realm. If their decision to reinvent their brand is to hire a white woman to serve as their fashion director they need to come again. Everything from their cover, editorial layout to some of their content need to be reinvted.

    The reason I pick up Essence Magazine is because I am big glossy magazine lover. I love Elle, Vogue (when neccessary), Marie Claire but they don’t speak to me. So I find balance when I read Essence, especially since they buried suede.

    No distrespect to the new Fashion Director but Essence needs to come again….

  • 2 cents

    I think you missed her point. It doesn’t say nor imply she will support substandard work. I think she’s agreeing with Michaela’s point that it hurts so much because black women are already lacking a presence in fashion so this just adds insult to injury.

    Also, the she said Reggie could be in the black love issue inside of it. Since the mag is for black woman, came out during black love and black history month, it should feature someonewho exemplifies an adoration for black women. I do not want to turn this into an interracial discussion but Reggie has not publicly dated a black woman. They’ve all been of another race.

    Please correct me if I am wrong @ the mrs. Lisa, I’m not too sure where your rebuttal came from.

  • http://twitter.com/supaflynfuchsia Fuchsia

    “…if more mainstream fashion media included people of color before the ONE magazine dedicated to black women ‘diversified’, it would feel different.”

    I understand that because of the history behind publication and fashion racism it is a hard pill to swallow, but when Vogue Italia had their ALL BLACK ISSUE it shook the industry up. I see more women of color featured in Vogue America now than ever before, because someone stepped out on a limb and out of their comfort (racist) zone. the stories are more inclusive as well. I hope to see a Black Woman as an editor of Vogue soon.

    “How many qualified Black fashion professionals did they [Essence] call?”

    I wonder why experts aren’t consulted when it comes to filling positions. I see Anna Wintour calling shots all the time and exerting her powers of persuasion at Vogue and BEYOND Vogue into fashion houses.

    “Najwa reveals she doesn’t really look to Essence for fashion anyway.”

    Neither do I. I already look within to myself and consult my self on fashion from a black woman’s perspective because I am a black woman. I can’t say that I’m upset about this change but I truly understand why others are.

    I won’t be buying Essence Magazine either but that’s because I stopped reading it as a teenager. I want a magazine that speaks to me as a woman of the world, not simply and only a black woman. Besides I look to CLUTCH as my woman of color publication now. And between immediate comments and interesting topics I get my fill weekly.

  • shawna

    Hello. I will NOT purchase Essence magazine ever again….that’s all I have to say!
    -Shawna

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margo-Harris-Lockhart/539470112 Margo Harris-Lockhart

    Truth be told, Essence has been struggling for a long time. They have lost touch with the core audience years ago. They never grew with the older audience(immature articles) and never caught up with the younger readers.(terrible website). Their journalism dumbed downed and creative direction uninspiring.
    Just like Ebony, they absolutely refused to embrace the digital age to their own detriment.

    I hope and pray Ellianna Placas can turn the magazine around. Around so much that all of us will be willing to pay for a subscription. Howevever, my wisdom and common sense tells me this is the end of our beloved magazine.

    Clutch and CoCo&Creme is the face of new Black media for today’s young woman. Essence would want to take notes from their “little sister” if they want to survive.

    Ellianna Placas is about to go through a familiar (familiar to the first Black in any position) portion of hell, I wish her luck.

  • http://www.3-dolls.com 3DOLLS

    I’ll admit this is upsetting since the fashion industry can be one-sided at times, and it seems like out of all the magazines on the racks this one was OURS alone! However, I just can’t bring myself to judge the new fashion director without even checking her credentials and seeing what she has to offer. I would hate to have someone do that to me if I took another position. Wouldn’t you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margo-Harris-Lockhart/539470112 Margo Harris-Lockhart

    After thought….

    Ellianna Placas….is that a Latina name? Just wondering….

  • noladarlin

    This is not surprising at all – essence magazine began abandoning the Black community after Susan Taylor left. I live in New Orleans and myself and many others here felt so burned when the new power structure at Essence decided to fire/replace MAZE, the closing act for years, and replace them with EWF this year. Nothing against Phillip Bailey anem, whom we love and respect. But the MAZE-last-day-of fest -wear all white tradition is very special for us fest goers – New Orleanians and the rest of hard core supporters. And the reason given? First EssenceFest lied and said they wanted the finale to be an all woman extravaganza featuring MJB, Alicia Keys, and Janet. Then later, when fest goers and the media saw the lineup schedule didn’t pan out like that, they admitted that they excluded MAZE because umpteen years of MAZE closing out was enough. Enough for who?? People of color value tradition, ritual!! This was a beautiful annual ritual that they killed for no reason other than they just don’t get us. You should have seen the way the audience hemorraged after about three EWF songs. It was just sad.

    Essence has lost their inside track to the Black community. Its going down in flames…

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  • Leslie

    I’ll take a wait and see attitude – but for the record there is no such thing as a “post racial America”. The events of the last week clearly point that out. If indeed it is true that AA were offered the position and passed on it, then the magazine is in worse shape than many of us thought. Mr. Lewis are you listening?

  • fraulein17

    are you people serious? omg i swear black people are the most racist out of every race living!

    constantly demanding equality yet in the same breath putting down people of other races/cultures.

    why is is acceptable for black people do be prejudice/racist as hell? yet like someone else said if an all white magazine said the same thing jessie jackson and al sharpton would come out the woodworks. this is ridiculous.

    can we PLEASE do better as a people? cause everybody is laughing at us sweeties.

  • shethinkoften

    I agree. you have preached a sermon. Amen.

  • http://www.essenceofsilk.com KarenC

    Yes, we’ll just have to wait & see.

  • Courtney

    Your comment is out of touch. If magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, and the like did not so blatantly discriminate against Black people, then no, we wouldn’t need to have this discussion. But unfortunately, tthe “white publications” might as well put out a “Do not Apply” sign as they do not hire black fashion editors, (Leon Talley is the one exception), beauty editors, accessories editors, writers, and hold their noses before putting the rare woman of color on their covers!

  • Courtney

    Thx for a very insightful comment. Maybe it is time for us to convert or adopt monikers like Whoopi did. LOL

  • Creme A la

    I love Essence because it represents me. However, they need to venture out with articles and fashion spreads. The same people are recycled from month to month. March and December it is Mary. In the May issue they have Jada.Then, on the January issue they have Queen Latifah,Lastly, on the September and November they have Beyonce and Alicia. I mean really….lol. There are so many people doing so many things. By now, they should have an Essence Africa, France, Britain…they are not expanding the brand nor are they keeping the US customers. They need to clean house and start over. Would Vogue hire a minority..nope but there circulation is crazy and they make the money to make big demands. We need to do better. Let’s not even talk about Ebony….wow…I don’t buy that at all…they need a younger staff……

  • Courtney

    I have to agree. Essence Fashion has been awful for as long as I can remember. But that said, there have to be Black fashion folks that could’ve improved the situation. The problem with Black folks in any form of media is that we too often feel that Black appeal is different from universal appeal. Prada, Tam, Reese, Valentino, Herrera, etc… The best in fashion are the best. The previous editors should’ve been following trends just like all the other major mags and picking the best. That said, I will NOT be buying Essence anymore ’cause this was just lame and lazy on their part. I know tons of young Black stylists that would’ve been good fits for the job. And since the other magazines don’t hire Black Fashion Editors, where are they supposed to be coming up the ranks from? Of course, Elianna was more qualified as she had more places to use as stepping stones! And wasn’t there a Black ASSISTANT Editor that could’ve been promoted from within?

  • nancyregan

    You black people are nothing more than ass kissers when whites, asian, latinos, and many non blacks have their own magazine which many of you can’t read based upon the language barrier alone. But, it not about racism its about pride and being able to have something of our own that reflects us becauses were always being told that we are wrong in the way we look, dress, sound, eat, body wise and so many other things.

    Yet, we know dam well if you or I walked into vogue or any white runned magazine and asked for a f ucken job we would be denied straight out. This job should have went to a black person and I don’t care what they kumbaya dummies think. The fashion is full of racism and it has been acceptable since the beginning of its inception that is why its good for us to have our own.

  • Courtney

    No Sara, unfortunately there is no such thing as “reverse racism” just like there is no Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, or Easter Bunny! There is ONE Black person in a position of power at a major fashion magazine and I only know ONE Black female writer and she is a freelancer writing beauty features. Black folks can be “prejudice” but that is mostly a reaction to the RACISM that they have faced for 550 years in this country. The reason this garnered such a strong response is that there are no Black editors anywhere else! If this was not such a racist industry and their were Black and White editors at ALL of the major mags, no one would be talking about this.

  • Courtney

    There are tons of sites run by Black women that will outlast Essence, including That Girl At The Party.

  • Courtney

    Great comment! In addition, the question that begs to be asked is “Why weren’t there more Black people that they felt were qualified”? Perhaps because outside of smaller publications like Essence, Upscale, Sister2Sister, Honey, none of the mainstream magazines hire Black editors so there is no training ground for them. Of course, she appeared more qualified! She had more opportunity for on the job training!

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  • Akai*

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    CLF wrote: “…let’s be honest. Many of our own personal style is an interpretation or direct replication of what we’ve seen in mainstream media. Nobody in Black Hollywood is dressed authentically “black” and wearing African American designers from head to toe – not Beyonce, Rihanna, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, etc. – none of them. Those bandage dresses everyone wore – not an AA designer, the studed clothing? Not AA either.”
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    Exactly!

    I’m a jazz fan and this almost reminds me of going to jazz concerts only to briefly notice that most of the musicians and audience are white. Anyway, your entire comment was on point! …this was not a slot many of the ‘notables’ wanted at all!

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    Bee wrote: “don’t see the problem, so what if she is white? props to essence for hiring the best person for the job irrespective of colour!!!
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    Thank you!

    Those who control the purse can do whatever they dang well please, and whose fault is it that Time Warner owns 100% of ECP’s stock?? Unless one is prepared to concede that Exxon, Microsoft, AT&T, Citigroup, Intel or any other majority white-owned business should only hire whites – they can’t quite turn around and insist majority black-owned/geared business only hire blacks with any integrity, and I don’t care what kind of convenient self-serving politics it’s laced in.

    I was trying to wrap my mind around people getting upset because Essence always had AA fashion directors and, after 40 years, hired a white one — but I got waylayed over a statement basically justifying and minimizing prejudice as a “reaction to racism.”

    I wanted to ‘hear’ what Michaela was ‘saying’ but IMO she was being pure drama. I often dig her commentary (love her hair) but maybe she needs to think harder and be honest about who has really been doing a lot of this “disrespecting.”

  • Cree

    I agree Nancyregan!!!!! This is a damn shame!

  • Cree

    Oh! and i won’t be buying Essence anymore, as a matter of fact, I been stopped when Time Warner took over!

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  • omg

    this not really about giving people chances, etc.

    this is about the reason for the existence of ebony, essence, jet, etc.

    do we remember why these publications exist in the first place?

    they exist to:

    1. EMPLOY and give breaks to our people because white publications do not.
    2. EDUCATE our people about our own selves because white people do not/cannot.
    3. EXPOSE ourselves to the greatness of each another.

    this is not about giving a white woman a chance. obviously, this woman has worked at large publications; people have given her chances and opportunities. and that’s the problem isn’t it? how many bw and bm have been given opportunities at large magazines? very very very few.

    the fashion industry (and magazine industry in general) is known for being racist and exclusive. i watched the vogue documentary september. i recall seeing two black, gay guys – andre and some other guy. i saw no black people at all. it’s probably worse at other mags – allure, bazaar, seventeen, glamour, madamoiselle…

    i’m amazed that people are okay with this. i wish i knew the ages of people posting; i suspect lots of teens and very early 20 somethings who barely even understand why a mag such as essence exists, beyond the superficial reason of to help find a nice lipstick or moisturizer.

    sorry, don’t mean to be too condescending. but, i’m almost left breathless by the lack of consciousness and self-awareness exhibited by people here. then again, that ninja thread really told me all i needed to know.

    i feel sorry for black folk. it seems we will never learn to put ourselves first the way others do.

  • omg

    fanned…

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  • http://sososerious.blogspot.com Sable M.

    Thank you! *snaps fingers* Thank you for laying out what any black owned anything, especially in the media has ever been about!! It’s so disappointing to hear trying to make equal opportunity for white people… it’s totally missing the point, like the big point! What it’s always been about, historically, socially, economic and politically in this dayum country!!!

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    I’m 22… And I must agree that this is not about reverse racism or equal opportunities for white folk. I mean come on, really? You honestly expect me to believe that there is a lack of opportunities for white people in the fashion industry?

    No way… I have a degree in journalism and while the entire industry IS suffering, white folks STILL have it better than the rest of us. It’s not about this woman being qualified. It’s about the fact that there are probably hundreds of Black journalists just as qualified, that won’t be given the opportunities outside of Essence that she would.

    It also may sound exclusive to say that Essence is a Black publication that should have a Black staff, but exclusivity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially when the White publications refuse to hire us, the runways refuse to use us, and this year White models are being painted Black. We need something for US, not more White women claiming th know us better than we know ourselves.

  • de

    Yeah, I won’t be buying them anymore. I do just how THEY do, when someone of color takes over, keep my money in my pocket.

    This is not against a certain color, but of all places for a sister who is well into fashion and beauty to get a job, she can’t even get one at Essence??? I say no! My money sticks with me!

  • de

    Remember those three words when you are up for a job position and they give it to Becky.

  • de

    And that is why this will continue to happen because everyone will not see the problem. Before you know it, there won’t be any of us in anything. And we will all wonder why. Because of the careless attitude of “I don’t we whats so wrong about this”.

    Its not about hiring someone of another race as it is about not hiring someone who already doesn’t get many opportunities. You mean to tell me, this lady couldn’t work as an assistant to the director or something? I mean seriously. We have huge issues!

  • de

    Deep! Will be buying that book :)

  • Honey

    I did not receive my damn august issue yet that’s all I can say right now and this news adds up to my feeling that I won’t be renewing my subscription

  • de

    Very out of touch! Ask that same question when you flip through the pages of VOGUE, Elle, etc. like so many mentioned and go as far as to count how many black models you will see. After that look up how many black editors and contributors you will see. Then count how many beauty articles and ads cater to women of color(not just black). Then come back and tell us who is racist for wanting 1 black woman as a beauty director in one of maybe three HUGE fashion magazines of MANY that cater to black women. Clearly we are not the biggest amount of racists in the world. It is okay for Hispanics and whites, and Jews and Asians to want there own, but dare a black person for he is surely asking for it.

    You are out of touch, my friend!

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  • Furaha

    I subscribe to both ELLE and VOGUE and love them. I look over my mother’s Essence because fashion is not poppin in there.

    But does anybody remember Suede??? It was created by Essence and had excellent fashion spreads. I still look at them for inspiration. Of allll the women involved in Suede, none of them could help Essence? Suede got canceled due to the Time Warner takeover and hence the reason for the situation Essence finds itself in now.

    If I want a white opinion about fashion I’ll go to ELLE and VOGUE so why is there a white fashion editor at ESSENCE???? Where is our voice??

  • chandrab

    can’t you see we are only segregating ourselves more in thinking like this! it just doesn’t make sense to me, to work for years and years to achieve equal rights and then after having come so far we choose to isolate ourselves and lash out when a white person attempts to work with us. say what you will but I think it is despicable that this is even an issue in the first place

  • chandrab

    It feels like someone who doesn’t understand your secrets , your reasoning, your style, is now giving you advice.

    Then could you say this about a predominantly white women’s magazine like Vogue or Harper’s? Are you basically proposing that its impossible for a black woman to understand white fashion, white secrets, white style? IF so people are only further perpetuating racism within the fashion industry, how can we be enraged at Vogue for not hiring black women if we think the same thing about white people working at Essence??
    .

  • chandrab

    But is it really ok for whites to ” want their own”??If this was the case blacks all over america would riot and the whole thing would be headline news. When was the last time you saw anything billed as “all white”?? Not since the damn 1950′s lol. You are so concentrated on your own point of view that you are unable to see other perspectives.

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  • Serenity

    Who the hell still reads Essence?

  • BC

    Nancy Reagen, it’s all in the name…she has about as much a leg to stand on as I do a toilet to take a S__T!

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  • 2nd Thought

    For those who don’t regularly read a masthead, this new hire prob comes does as a great surprise and shock. But considering the new Fashion Director has been freelancing with them for quite a while now- and no one has complained- I
    am unclear why readers think she’s not going to be able to nail the voice and mission of the magazine.

    Why did no one reach out to Essence for an explanation or a quote? Especially if this website is “the little sister” of the publication??

    Question- how many Black fashion EDITORS (not stylists, those are two totally different different jobs) are there in the industry that are willing to work for what Essence can afford to pay? How many even applied for the position? Show me this information and then I might be willing to feel some type of ways.

    This one-sided conversation is so disappointing and typical.

  • http://www.twitter.com/HauteTAUpic The Joy Krystal

    The idea of the black publications being made only for the sole purpose of education and knowledge from our people to our people is understood and respected but just the thought of having someone that is a caucasian sit there and be a leader in a african american dominated magazine is the problem. As long as she puts as much effort if not more than her african american counterparts into making the magazine fit to our lifestyle then i really wont have a problem with it.

    now, if i start seeing more and more lighter faces then we will have a problem…. I am a MAC nc50 and i understand that i’m not dark but like hell will i read or subscribe to essence if they start putting other races other than african american or latino in the magazine.

    Maybe the new director will actually have a nice fashion spread ya know…

    Maybe she can get the magazine to put somebody else on that dayum cover… Sorry Mary,Jada,Latifah,#BEYONCE, Alicia, and Monique but i’m tired of seeing ya’ll.. how about joy Bryant, or Janelle Monae, Solange (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Erykah, Christina milian, Kelly Rowland(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) ,CHRISETTE MICHELLE (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Estelle, Thandie? SOMEBODY other than these people! I’m good and dog gon sure that Mo’Nique is not the only big person who is famous…. they could even put the big Gabby on there or something.. ANYBODY! I think i’m gonna write a letter-not that they’d read and consider it but i am REALLY tired of them on the cover!

    okay let me hush… i’m through

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  • http://www.twitter.com/HauteTAUpic The Joy Krystal

    can we get suede back though? and HONEY?

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  • Burcie L. Payne-Martin

    I will not buy or support Essence Magazine in the future.

  • Lisa

    IA! I would take both of them for Essence!

  • Karen

    I don’t want Honey. The new owners of it have messed it up in my opinion. No thanks. If they bring it back I want Kierna and Joceyln (sp?) owning it. And since that wont’ be happening. no thanks.

  • Lisa

    Courtney, I’m sure Essence shopped itself out to Black editors/fashion people before hiring their latest editor, but Essence has been a bit of a sinking ship for awhile and I’m sure a lot “insiders” know it. They probably didn’t want the job.

  • mallie

    The “fashion” section of Essence could use some new blood anyway; it’s boring as hell. And to be honest, I don’t see what makes it so black to begin with, save for a few black designer pieces it mixes in. Do you think this new white fashion director is NOT going to do the same? You think she’s going to edit out all the “blackness” or something? Gimme a break. She knows her audience and if she wants to keep her job she will serve them well. This is like one of us going into a job and giving it 250% because we know people expect more of us because we’re black. We’ll expect more of her because she’s white and she knows it and if she’s good, she’ll bring her A game.

    And what’s with this outcry about representing “us” in the fashion section anyway? The “us” everybody talks about is out spending big money to buy designer labels headed up by Europeans. Are we being hypocrites?

    Now, don’t get it twisted, OBVIOUSLY I know this is some kind of BS. CLEARLY they could have found a black person qualified enough to fill this role. Magazines are dying right now. DYING. This must have been some sort of move to stay afloat or to appease the powers that be or to appear to be more inclusive than exclusive and therefore reposition themselves in the market. Whatever the case may be, they are trying to keep their head above water and this was one tactic. Regardless of who’s editing the fashion section, it’s still a black magazine and you should go out and buy it and support it and keep it alive.

  • mallie

    ETA: And that rant came from someone who finds Essence HELLA boring, but I buy every month just the same. Yes, buy it. Every month. Newsstand sales mean more than subscriptions. Support black publications. End of discussion.

    /rant

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  • Melinda B.

    Funny you asked if this pub reached out when Essence has yet to officially announce the director in her new full-time position. Freelancing and a perm hire are two different things.

    It’s even more comical that some folks are cramming to redeem Essence from the abandonment of their original brand mission. If the pub is moving in a different direction, they owe to the community who built them to explain why.

    Clearly if they could afford Placas, an editor and STYLIST with a boastful resume, they could afford to place a Black woman in the post.

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  • tcrnyc

    This situation could be a Catch 22. As a black girl in fashion (and the only black girl in my office) I know firsthand how hard it is to be accepted and respected in this industry. Magazines like Essence should be the place where black media and fashion talent are celebrated. And not to be seperatist but, instead to encourage us and reward us with recognition and opportunities. Surviving in the fashion industry is very REAL and difficult, both professionally and personally. On the other hand, from a clear business perspective, magazines in general are struggling and with this new hire’s background and more importantly in the fashion world her contacts, this bold move could be secretly saving Essence’s fashion department budget. Or hell, maybe since Essence knows no one is too fond of their fashion pages anyway, they figured no one would notice, ha!

  • Lucky

    Right on!

  • Lucky

    That “right on” is for nancyreagan.

    I have turned my back on Essence years ago when Time-Warner stepped onto the scene.

    This recent news shouldn’t come as a shock to me, but it did. Pardon me for saying this but I hope Essence’s readership plummets sharply and substantially.

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  • nancyregan

    I would like to apologize for my choice of word I chose to describe my frustration with essence and so many black owned business being sold out from under own communities. But, I find it very hard to comprehend that with all the blacks that I have seen in magazines(that black magazines at that) who have voice thier concerned for how so many beautiful black people are not represented in the fashion industry, yet, we are open hearted to give a job to a non black. Some of us know within our heart the same consideration would not be given to us.

    I have seen how the fashion industry represents us such as these white women being painted as black and mimic our style its not a compliment its an insult. I believe in time Essence will go the way of BET filled with foolishness. Everyday when I encounter any magazine be it news, fashion, or just plain ole nonsense, I can rest assure that the person on the cover does not represent me nor my people.

    Yet,we are admonish for having the nerves to embrace our culture without racism but the idea of being proud of who we are and what we have achieved. I do not believe in excluding others based on race but it so obvious if we did not have our own magazines we would not be able to embrace our culture, our bodies, our scent, our difference.

    I hope this new Director will show others that diversity work and its not just affirmative action working on her behalf because affirmative actions has certaintly not worked for most blacks. So call me what you like but Im will no longer support magazines that do not support their own communites with hiring talent that would otherwise be overlooked.

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  • Ngozi

    LOL…don’t forget Jill Scott, Gabrielle Union and Tyler Perry they’ve graced the cover too many times. I completely agree with you put some fresh faces.

  • http://www.mybestfriendslittlesister.blogspot.com MBLS

    I think it’s great. We’re always complaining about how the industry isn’t diverse enough and yet we’re not open to diversity in our own institutions. It could be that the new fashion director realises that the fashion industry lacks diversity and wants to make a positive contribution. As long as she’s qualified for the job, I’m fine with it.

  • MissyLytle

    I agree. For all of those concerned about the Racism we faced not one person seem to give a concern that because Essence thought one white woman was okay for one job, tens of thousands will be discriminated against when they have face what is perceived as racism from our community. I don’t know if people are reading mainstream media is writing about this. But don’t sell me your reaction is based on the traditional prejudices our community face through White Media, when in fact you just turn around and hand them a sword. There is a big difference from stating you can think of Strong Black talent better suited then challenging someone’s ability on race.
    “How can a White woman dictate and decide what style and beauty is for the Black woman?”
    The same way not only a black but a black man-Andre Leon Talley- has to an overwhelming White female base for Vogue for decades. Hard-Work, talent, respect & knowledge of your readers. Until it is proved otherwise, I don’t have a problem with it.

  • opinionatedgal

    I’m surprised that there are not more progressive comments on this topic. Consider this:

    Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is dance company which tells stories of the African Diaspora and beyond. They maintain a balance, largely of black dancers, but not exclusively black. They’re artistic director is not black, but that doesn’t take away from the integrity or message of the company.

    I’m sure that Essence has maintained a staff comprised largely of the diaspora, but it doesn’t have to be exclusively that. And these jobs are not “lifelong” positions, they have to try new things.

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  • hc in sf

    Essence has been going downhill ever since Time Warner took over and IMHO, forced out Susan Taylor and the other folks who were with the magazine when it was Black owned. Before the Time Warner takeover Essence was a magazine that related to all demographics of Black Women but now it seems that Essence wants nothing to do with anyone over 35. The last straw as far as I was concerned was with this year’s Essence Music Festival when they kicked Frankie Beverly to the curb. Frankie packed them in at JazzFest in New Orleans and said he didn’t understand why he wasn’t invited to close out Essence this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Essence soon hired a white woman as editor.

  • Tonya

    I don’t care any more about who gets hired for what any more. Alot of stuff has been sold over to whites now, BET, MTV UPN, TV ONE ROCK,POP,R&B, JAZZ, RAP,HIP HOP,BLUES,TV SITCOMS, HAIR PRODUCTS, TRAFFIC NECESSITIES, UTILITY NECESSITIES, FOOD PRODUCTS & NOW FASHION. U see whites want 2 be like us now! They want the appearance we give 2 society and our men 2 make them feel they can have & take away what we survived off of 2 make them feel powerful again. U see how they doing Obama, they pissed becuz we took away their power. Am I being racist, no it’s the truth. We’re no longer entitled 2 fulfill big dreams of success alone, we need 2 grab some white from somewhere 2 make it happen since THEY DO RUN THE WORLD! We just happen 2 b passin through like we’ve always have.

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  • momfirst

    I’m disgusted by many of the postings I have read. We rant about wanting equal opportunities yet many of these postings are riddled with profanity and lack correct grammar. If we want the job, we have to express ourselves more clearly, more correctly, and more politely. I can’t tell you how many times I have interviewed young black women who can’t express themselves without using profanity and angry language. Recently, out of 20 applications, 6 being from black women, not one of the candidates made it through the interview with a cheerful demeanor without interjecting an angry, combative attitude; using correct grammar; and without using some form of profanity.

    Getting a job isn’t about GIVING a person an opportunity. The interview is about proving to the employer that I have EARNED the opportunity to show off my talents in this job. Its about being the best qualified applicant for the job. Sure, the fashion industry is fixated on “white beauty” but that doesn’t mean this woman wasn’t the best applicant. We weren’t in the interview room with the candidates. \

    I will reserve my decision about Essence’s hiring decision until they give me the reasons for their decision. I need to know who else applied. What did this white woman do in the interview that made her stand out above the rest? After this information, if the magazine hired her because of the color of her skin, then I will be angry. I wouldn’t want any job because I think I deserve the opportunity based on the color of my skin. It just feels low and dirty as if I have no other worth. It is not the type of equality I want.

  • http://pertheblog.blogspot.com Tracie

    This one, I would have to say, Im on the fence about. I totally understand where the women are coming from in this article especially when talking about blacks not given many opportunities in the fashion world…(thats something Essence should have TOTALLY taken into consideration!)

    But, apart of me thinks its somewhat unfair to say someone shouldn’t be given a chance b/c of the color of their skin. Granted, she probably don’t know JACK about black culture (ESPECIALLY HAIR..which is something Essence should have considered!) hELL i DON’T KNOW…maybe shoud be an assistant or something…lol

  • http://pertheblog.blogspot.com Tracie

    “I have seen how the fashion industry represents us such as these white women being painted as black and mimic our style its not a compliment its an insult. I believe in time Essence will go the way of BET filled with foolishness. Everyday when I encounter any magazine be it news, fashion, or just plain ole nonsense, I can rest assure that the person on the cover does not represent me nor my people.”

    TRUE THAT HONEY, TRUT THAT!

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  • isolde

    ********************************************************************************************
    “I’m disgusted by many of the postings I have read. We rant about wanting equal opportunities yet many of these postings are riddled with profanity and lack correct grammar. If we want the job, we have to express ourselves more clearly, more correctly, and more politely.”
    ************************************************************************************************
    @Mommy Dearest

    I’m sorry, but do you normally assume that the manner in which people express themselves on blogs is identical to the way they would present themselves when seeking employment, or are you making an extra special exception for the mostly black clientele on Clutch?

    ************************************************************************************
    “I can’t tell you how many times I have interviewed young black women who can’t express themselves without using profanity and angry language.”
    ************************************************************************************

    You know, one could argue that the quality of the applicant pool your company attracts is indicative of the jobs being offered or the quality of the company itself. I think we can all rest assured that the position of fashion director at a Time Warner publication attracted a more sophisticated clientele than the talent that answers your classified ads ;)

  • omg

    what do the responses here have to do with your experience interviewing black girls who don’t speak correctly? what do your experiences interviewing potty-mouthed black girls have anything to do with who got the job at essence?

    not a dang thing.

    you are conflating so many issues. you need your own thread.

    but, what i will say is that you are absolutely wrong if you think a black woman/man at that level is walking into those offices cussing and carrying on. also, essence doesn’t really hire strangers. they hire people they know. that industry is very small and a lot of times you gotta be hangng around a lot to even get a freelancing gig.

    i’m sure the folks at essence know almost every fashion stylist, etc. around. they chose, for whatever reason, not to go with a black person. it’s just that simple.

    and my dear, every place i’ve work is about giving others a chance. are you crazy? that’s what networking is about. that’s what the good ole’ boy network is about. giving people you know – friends, family (based on gender and even race) an opportunity. that’s actually how groups of people get ahead – jews, whites, koreans, etc. they help each other.

    as an aside – do you realize all the black people who got into the (exclusive) entertainment business as a result of bill cosby giving them an OPPORTUNITY to write, direct, etc. on the cosby show? or even when you look at hip hop – folks like puffy, jay z have given opportunities to black folks at all levels – stylists, caterers, sound engineers, advertisers, designers, etc. because of the ownership they’ve had.

    and a result of these OPPORTUNITIES, blacks in entertainment have been able to branch out because they have gained experiences based on OPPORTUNITIES given to them.

    lol. please. you’re a mess. get over yourself.

    and criticizing people for not expressing themselves in a certain way on a forum such as this is plain silly – and i write for a living. lol.

  • Akai*

    @Momfirst: Dug your comments and thank goodness for those of Bee, Nicole, MBLS, MissyLytle and CLF.

    If Oprah can influence and dictate trends nation and worldwide, the arguments against Placas are lame lame lame!

    I don’t know how true this is, but a friend of mine told me the annual salary for the fashion director position at Essence is dismally low compared to comparable positions at other publications, so CLF sharing that there were many AA women in the industry that simply did not want this job makes sense. And, all this hyperbole about ‘they would never hire us’ is just bull; this is a line disproved by women across the country and one short and sweet example is in Obama’s administration (the companies some of the women on his staff have worked for and their backgrounds).

    It’s not enough to merely have a degree and if an individual showed up with only that and said things like “I don’t care what they kumbaya dummies think,” I wouldn’t hire them either. It’s a package deal and education, experience, proven track record, presentation (hair, attire, nails [and ya know what I mean]) etc. all count; and, I wouldn’t hire an intolerant (i.e. insists those who view things differently ‘lack consciousness’ or are “ass kissers”) nor one that was not a consummate professional, well-spoken and an adequate writer at the very least. People need to understand business more instead of taking racial offense all the time because, when trying to save a company during hard economic times, what’s important is hiring the right person (not color) to turn things around in order to keep as many people employed as possible.

    Too often those quick to accuse others of racism show, via their words, that they are racist (even as they maintain some tired line that they can’t be racist due to having no power). I can’t believe any minority that desires and expects fair and equal opportunities would say some of the things I’ve read, and some people are acting like the entire Essence staff is now white when one woman was hired as fashion director. As I previously stated, if an individual is going to take a “this job should have went to a black person” stand, they should have integrity, follow it all the way through, and insist white companies like Intel, Citicorp etc. only hire whites. …if only that wouldn’t bring them right back to where we are since Essence/Time Warner is not “black owned.”

    Justifying racism as right or noble because it is a ‘reaction to white racism’ makes one no better than a member of the Aryan Nation IMO. It’s always a game of finger-pointing to blame ‘whitey’ but Ed Lewis sold the publication and made a mint just as surely as Johnson sold BET to Viacom for $3.3 billion dollars. Of course people understand why these companies were started, and so what? This is business and I don’t feel Time Warner (or Viacom) can be blamed for buying a company and they are entitled to run the companies how they choose and hire whomever they please and find qualified.

    Side note: Those most underrepresented (models) are Asian and Latina but anyone bound and determined to always be the ‘on poor me’ victim would never see that truth and continue to act as if there are no black models on the runways or in magazines.

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  • Fatimah

    Fortunately that is not how I govern my life, waiting for “Becky’s” to take what I perceive to be mine. Honestly….these are the scare tactics that keep and maintain black women in perpetual states of fear. Not into it!

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  • Sonja

    Where does the line for racism end? What if the woman who had been hired had one black parent and the other white? Would she still be too white for readers?

  • Tami

    So a white fashion editor for an African American magazine supposedly for Black women…What a damn joke…So what if she is qualified? What about us Black folks…No African Americans can be found that are extremely talented. Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you…A disgrace…That’s why we as a people are in the shape we are in, because we are always giving breaks to others, and no-one puts us at the top of the list…

  • Boss

    Good read, none the less, our girlfriend died along time ago, not because some “WHITE WOMAN,” is heading out fashion magazine. WTF!

    This whole argument is an outrage and the reason being,

    You guys are the same people who get on Clutch and chop down writers for doing interracial pieces and sounding off about white women being cool to date our men now cause its 20-flippin-10,

    You’re more appauled because some white heffers going to be telling you what panties will look good on your butt size, or what kind of shirt is perfect for a job interview, than you are about losing our black men to white women?

    GTFOH!!! Get yall priorities straight, and if you’re making mountains out of mohills DO IT FOR SOME SHIT THAT MATTERS!

    SMDH!

    I’m embarassed by this argument.

  • Boss

    Im even more embarassed that I took the time to post on this piece because it only fuels popularity to something ignorant!

    These reason why black america is f-ed up is because we find the most mundane, irrelevant things to get angry over.

    Shit, do you know how many black women lose REAL jobs to white women everyday? Do you know how many black women lose their husbands to white women everyday?

    As I stated before, aren’t yall the same class of fake SHEROES that get on here telling folks to stop beating dead horses over racial things, but now you’re all losing your jollies over Svetlana introducing lederhosen to the black community!

    YEAH OOOOOOOKAY!

  • stefania

    The possessive “its” has no apostrophe.

  • Alchemy

    Boycott Essence! I stopped paying to read it when it sold out to Time Warner. Now this is absurd. We can count on ONE hand the number of major black magazines for black women and black men. Now, WE have to diversify??!!

    Black people stand up! Don’t go for this!

  • http://esmerasli.wordpress.com/ SavingWater

    It’s unfortunate that it won’t be a “black” woman in that position, but I see that no one has mentioned that Ellianna Placas is a Latina. Secondly, if she wasn’t as ‘skinny’ as her photographs portray her as and as apparently “white” looking in her physicality, I wonder if this would matter?

    I am concerned that if she does try to introduce a “white” based mentality on fashion and femininity that it could be potentially harmful for the magazine and obviously for those who read it. I am curious how she got the job – I hope that Essence saw her as qualified, diverse, strong minded and with enough experience dressing and designing for women of color. Maybe that’s why she was chosen?

  • http://hollygocrunkly.tumblr.com hollygocrunkly

    I LOVED Suede!

    I’ve never been a fan of Essence, it’s always sort of struck me as a magazine version of “Waiting to Exhale.” When Time Warner took over, I figured it was on a downward spiral of shame anyway. Looks like I wasn’t too far off.

  • omg

    being a latina does not preclude you from being white. just as it does not preclude you from being black.

    also, you think people are throwing shade at her because she’s thin? well, i have not even seen her picture. it doesn’t matter to me. i’ll bet a lot of people haven’t. didn’t even know a pic was out there.

  • Akai*

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    Fraulein17 wrote: “omg i swear black people are the most racist out of every race living! why is it acceptable for black people to be prejudice/racist as hell?”
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    *giggle* No comment!

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    SavingWater wrote: “Elliana Placas is a Latina.”
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    Dangit! The name was a dead giveaway, but why oh why did you take it there? *snick*

    Some people are simply bitter and insecure and I doubt it would matter to them since – in the other thread about Burt-Murray’s response – her “mixed race self” was criticized in between angry ranting about “lighter” this and “crusader for the white man” blah blah blah.

    Time and again I’ve seen how these things tend to go down here with people often going off half-cocked not knowing the full story and were she mixed (as most) or brown some will/would still label Placas “white” …so c’est la vie! Between the “Becky,” “white heffers [sic]” and other statements…it was interesting to sit back, read and be reminded of the truth that racism is not exclusive to one ‘race’ or color.

    Michaela Davis was yacking about “people of color” and I’ve a couple of distant relatives like Davis (with her blue eyes, light skin and blonde hair) that pathetically and stupidly try to overcompensate for their features by being very vocal and coming out their mouths with uber-Zulu-militant sh!t and dramatic (“a girlfriend has died” *rolleyes*). That’s why I wrote that she was being pure drama and needed to think harder and be honest.

    Burt-Murray made it clear why she chose Placas. It was because she’d “been contributing to the magazine on a freelance basis for the last six months, because of her creativity, vision, the positive reader response to her work and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margo-Harris-Lockhart/539470112 Margo Harris-Lockhart

    “but I see that no one has mentioned that Ellianna Placas is a Latina. Secondly, if she wasn’t as ‘skinny’ as her photographs portray her as and as apparently “white” looking in her physicality, I wonder if this would matter? ”

    I questioned that earlier in the discussion, and research leads me to believe that she is Latina.

    Her being part of the diaspora makes a difference to me personally and I think would be a good move for the mag.

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  • Kimberly Carter

    This is what I believed happened with this position. From what I have read Ms. Placas has worked as a freelance writer for Essence for the past six months. According to what I have read the position of Fashion Director has been opened for a period of time. I believe that Ms. Placas was brought on as a freelance writer for six months to give her a “feel” for the magazine with thge agreement that she would be hired as the Fashion Director.
    The Black women’s voice is being silenced in all areas, and we are told that if we speak up we are racists. So now everybody can speak for us and about us but ourselves. If she is a Latina why not go work for magazines for Latinos? Why does diversity always fall on the backs of Black people? So we become diverse, but no one else does and it is Black people who are not being hired. I believe there is more to this story that is being told. Give it 1 to 2 years and Essence will be a multicultural magazine. Watch!

  • TMA

    Exactamundo. This is really another big disappointment in a string of disappointments from Essence. I stopped subscribing several years ago. I’m sure Susan Taylor is somewhere shaking her head.

  • Akai*

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    Kimberly Carter wrote: “…we are told that if we speak up we are racists.”
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    That’s nothing but more hyperbole and, no! What’s racist is when individuals insist a candidate of their race should be chosen based on race – not merit and qualifications – which is what has occurred in comments regarding this issue. Didn’t people fight and march against that (whites only hiring other whites for certain positions or only allowing whites to attend schools, eat a restaurant, live in a neighborhood, or sleep in a hotel) back in the 50′s and 60′s? As another said, either one is racist or they are not and being flat out racist – especially over something that’s not even that serious – tells the true story.

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    Kimberly Carter wrote: “So now everybody can speak for us and about us but ourselves.”
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    Oh dra-ma! Placas will be fashion director and this is oneposition within that publication and not as if the entire Essencestaff is now non-black. Again, it is one position!

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    Kimberly Carter wrote: “If she is a Latina why not go work for magazines for Latinos?”
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    Well Placas was good enough for Oprah who hired her as a freelance fashion editor at O Magazine, but should all African Americans only be hired by AA-owned companies? Should any and all AAs currently working at Time Warner be summarily fired right now?

    Those coming with this “waa, they won’t hire us” line should check out Black Enterprise’s list of the 100 Most Powerful Executives (CEOs, CFOs, COOs etc.) in Corporate America.

    Should American Express, Aetna, Symantec, Honeywell, General Electric, Xerox etc. etc. nix them all because they’re African American? These are the among the top companies out there, so does this not show an attempt at diversity for these companies?

    One commenter wrote something about having just graduated Howard and (I suppose) knowing classmates that are qualified to be fashion director at Essence. I thought “Are you serious?” because being effective and successful takes a whole lot more than simply showing up black with a degree.

    ******************************************************************************************************************
    Kimberly Carter wrote: “Why does diversity always fall on the backs of Black people?”
    ******************************************************************************************************************

    How is this on ‘your’ (general) back; what businesses are owned where you’ve the option to be diverse or not? It’s Time Warner’s company and their editor (Burt-Murray) made a business decision.

    I was going to link a picture of Placas yet decided not to. It would be of no use but I would love to hear Robin Givhan’s (fashion editor, The Washington Post) opinion on this.

  • NA

    In this economy it is ridiculous to let a position go to someone who can be hired elsewhere. Black unemployment is at an all time high and a sister could use that job and she would rock it. This is a scandal and I am going to organize a boycott.

    And if they think this will draw Latinas think again, Unlike Blacks they are loyal to their people it seems.

  • NA

    And I heard that Radio One, TV One, and BET have whites in key positions. I guess Blacks don’t know how to spell loyalty. Divide and conquer.

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  • MISINFORMATION

    Elianna is Australian so get ur facts straight. We constantly engage in all sorts of misinformation that we all run with hence so much confusion amongst Black people globally- ugggh! This is more about economics than just simply Black & White & all of u who think it’s a nonsensical issue should look up the #’s on Black unemployment & the lack of any Black people working at Publications who cater specifically to a White mainstream audience.

    “It is not simply nor solely about a matter of Black & White, but about legacy, strides & the fact that not much has changed for the majority of Black people in the world even though many would like to convince us that it has & that there is no need for any forms of affirmative action or exclusivity in the type of black pride & support that built these publications & media outlets when we had none & were specifically being shut out. As Fela says “Teacher don’t teach me no nonsense“… cuz dem all crazy. This anger & protest is more to me about economic empowerement than just fashion & Black & White, particulary at a time when there are more unemployed Black people in America than any other group of people.

    “The black fist is a meaningless symbol. When you open it, you have nothing but fingers — weak, empty fingers. The only time the black fist has significance is when there’s money inside. There’s where the power lies.” Jesse Owens”
    http://globalfusionproductions.com/fbl/who-defines-ur-blackness-more-black-publications-hire-white-fashion-directors-we-are-still-asking-why-young-black-children-still-choose-the-white-doll-over-the-black-doll/

  • Layla

    How would Vogue not hire a minority (as you said) when Andre Leon climbed the ranks at Vogue and is at the top now??? Let’s not get caught up in playing victim to the “white man repression” and twist facts around.

  • Layla

    *SNAPS!* You said everything I was thinking but couldn’t find all the words to say it.

  • richard beavers

    Follow the money trail and where it ends is the answers to all your questions. Those with the money yield the power. Essence is no longer a Black owned publication this is just the beginning. Stay tuned. Support Black Owned Businesses.

  • Nadia

    Thank You and AMEN!!!!

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  • Nadia

    How do you know that they didn’t consider June or talk to her? You don’t. My guess is that they tried to get several distinguished black fashion people for Essence, but for THEY decided to pass on it.

  • AMNAU EELE

    All you fake hypocrites that are angry with Essence magazine for hiring a white fashion editor was very angry with me and my organization 2 years ago for something you thought i said in WWD magazine .
    You all believed WWD when they wrote that I and the other members of my organization Black Artists Association was angry with Mrs.Obama for not wearing clothes by a black designer.
    Just like the Sherrod case, no one in the mediia fact checked or verified had I even interviewed with WWD or made any of those statements before they ran the story.
    The false story ran and you never saw me in the media the way you saw Mrs. Sherrod . I didn’t see the point, so I ignored it and kept on my journey.
    To this day the media and none of you on this site can prove in a court of Law that I made those statements or that I even interviewed with WWD.
    I had black men and women I didn’t even know walking up to me on the streets of NYC making threats on my life and cursing me out.
    People called me all kinds of vicious names online, even the designer of color B.Michael responded with a silly statement.,
    Supermodel Tyson Beckford’s agent Beth Ann Hardison the mother of Kadeem Hardison of the old tv show “It’s a different World” said my comments were not appropriate..
    Let’s ask Bethann to prove I made those comments, she can’t.

    Fashion writer Robin Givan( a black woman) of The Washington Post and editors
    ( some more black women) at Essence magazine attacked me and so many others…

    The fake story ran on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, BET, TV ONE, every media outlet. Yunjie De Nies who now covers The White House for NightLine emailed me.
    All based on a bogus story in WWD written by a racist white writer named Rosemary Feitelberg.
    Google my name and read all the negativity now attached to my name and if you believe anything you see online about me and my organization , then I have a potion for 99 cents that will make you rich as Beyonce.
    By printing that bogus WWD story about me, Essence and the rest of the media joined the ranks of those that tried to use a edited tape to smear Mrs. Sherrod’s reputation and life’s work.
    It even cost the lady her job.
    I didn’t lose my job, I just got death threats, cursed at, stuck with a bunch of negativity connected to my name on the internet and all thanks to a fake article that was verified by no one..
    Now.. some of those same black women that told me “You need to shut up, Mrs. Obama can wear whatever the hell she wants to.”
    These same women are now angry and crying because Essence magazine has chosen to exercised their right to tell their black readers “Shut up, we can hire whomever we want to and we’ve hired a white woman to be the fashion editor of Essence magazine”.
    Essence said she is the best, so why are you complaining black women?
    Essence has hired the best to help you.
    So why are you angry?
    If it’s not important for Mrs. Obama to wear or support black designers, then why is it so important for Essence magazine to have a black fashion editor?

    98 percent of the products shown in Essence magazine is owned and created by white talent, including the hair that the magazine encourages black women to glue to their scalps. So, if you have no problem gluing the white woman’s hair to your scalp, then why do you have a problem with her being your fashion editor?

    A white woman is the mother of your cherished first black President Obama, so what’s the problem?
    Essence magazine editors are always complaining about “Black men choosing white women for mates over black women” and the magazine is filled with stories with headlines “Like Brothers Come Home: what to do when he leaves you for a white woman”, well… maybe the new white fashion editor can show the black woman with those issues a few of her fashion secrets , that make “The Brothers Leave your black Home” and maybe you can use her fashion secrets and get him to come back..

    I told a “I’m angry at Essence for hiring a white fashion editor” black woman to her face yesterday that had attacked me on something she thought I said in WWD 2 years ago when she shouted in my face “Mrs. Obama doesn’t need to wear clothes by any black designers, you need to mind your own business!!”
    Anyway you cut it, former kool-aid drinker( as she now identifies herself), you were right, Mrs. Obama does not have to wear clothes by a black designer and the fashion editor of Essence magazine does not have to be black.

    I don’t read Essence magazine and I never will.
    So it doesn’t matter to me if a dead NYC rat becomes the head editor at Essence magazine.

    Thank You,
    Amnau Eele
    Black Artists Association

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  • Layla

    What is going on with all the assumptions being made here? People assuming that black fashion editors/stylists weren’t approached for the job in all the months the position was vacant. People assuming that just because someone is black and and may some experience in fashion, they should get the job. That being black is a uniform, limited category when it comes to viewpoints, opinions, experiences, history and yes even style and fashion. NO!

    I thought I went back in time to the days of “whites only” and “colored people” signs reading this article and some of the comments. She’s 1 white woman who’s going to be do fashion for crying out loud. The whiteness contained in her body will not detract from the hundreds of black people employed by Essence, and it won’t suddenly somehow make a Essence a nonblack magazine. She was hired b/c she has a great resume and was thought to be the best for the position. Period. To make this huge commotion over this b/c the woman is white is just plain hypocritical: talking about equality but don’t practice it? crying about racism but have prejudices against this woman b/c of the color of her skin?

    Michaela Angela Davis made this? high drama (girlfriend died, seriously?) when they’re so much REAL injustice and social, economic, healthcare crises for us to deal with. I hope Andre Leon Tally didn’t have to deal w/such idiocy when climbing up the ladder at Vogue. But then again, we would’ve heard about that and all hell would’ve broken loose.

  • Akai*

    Amnau, if this is really you, you crack me up but you outta’ stop.

    I was on the grind during that one and you know doggone well you said it; so, own it!

    Further, we searched high ‘n low and there is no evidence the Black Artists Association even exists.

    The problem was everyone at WWD wasn’t smart enough to recognize whackdom when they encountered it. But when it comes down to the credibility of a fairly respected publication vs. someone who claims to have predicted 9/11 and had a judge toss out their frivolous “absurd” lawsuit…think I’ll go with WWD.

    Kthxbye…

  • Veronica

    White women are taking our men while Latino women are taking our jobs. Almost every store I go into these days have all Spanish people as employees. Maybe the companies are making some kind of profit to hire them, I don’t know. Here’s something I do know, all of a sudden everybody wants a black man. That’s just another form of disrespect and a way to once again, take something from us. If u wanna black man, hang around black women and I’m sure Ms Latino knows that!!! I’m surprised at Essence, they’re doing what everybody else doing… We can’t have nothing , can we?? No other race lets us into their circle without having a motive and we constantly let them in with open arms. Don’t be surprised when Essence Magazine is owned by Latinos and there’s not a black face on any page. That’s how they work… together!!!!! We shouldn’t even be called Black people anymore, Disrespected people is a better name!!!!

  • Veronica

    Wake up, you are in the days of whites only. We don’t have have to go back there, we never left!!! This is not about who has more experience or skill, this is about who has more skills within the black community. Black people have been dealing with crap like this for decades (and decades to come). As soon as we voice an opinion about it everybody else is like ” What’s the matter, what’s wrong?” Its such a shame that all of the years that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has been gone and we’re still fighting to be treated equally. There’s something wrong with that picture!! I’m so tired of hearing that change doesn’t happen “over-night”. It shouldn’t have to change because it shouldn’t be that way in the first place.

  • Jennifer

    It’s Essence. Who cares? I haven’t read this piece of crap “magazine” since I was waiting at the beauty shop for a relaxer on Saturday mornings…six years ago.

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  • http://www.madamethejourneyblog.com Paula

    Uproar in these instances prove, that we really don’t want equality. We honestly only care about injustices – when we’re the oppressed and not the oppressors. Reverse racism is just as disgusting as other forms. People condemning this decision based on the color of someone’s skin color and not their character, is disappointing.

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  • isolde

    This isn’t reverse racism. People throw around that term without even thinking about what it means or whether or not it actually exists. Racism isn’t just prejudice. Racism is power and prejudice combined. Labeling the Placas uproar as reverse racist would imply that everyone is on equal footing and that blacks/people of color have the power to systematically discriminate against whites as whites have done to POC’s, and that’s not the world we live in, now is it? So, why pretend otherwise?

  • Tami

    I just don’t see African Americans moving collectively together as a people…I feel that we are doomed…and that’s just by watching what is going on around me…And Ms. Amnau Eele, you said you didn’t make those remarks regarding Mrs. Obama wearing something by a Black designer…I believe you didn’t…But if you had, I would have totally agreed with the statement. Sometimes, we have to stop being so fair & put our Race first, give our People the jobs before we give others till we get it together…Folks do it all the time.

  • Beef Bacon

    ! I do not have an issue with anyone getting a job with any company. We should be free to hire and fire whomever we please, based on whatever reason. Isn’t this what we fought and died for?

    Truly, ask yourselves why it is so upsetting that, a supposed black magazine supposedly ‘sold out’? Obviously some of us feel that some things should just be for US as a people. However, how can this be, when we have fought so hard to INTEGRATE!

    IMO, I DO have an issue with people who look like me (brown, black, whatever you want to call us) not knowing if they want to be integrated or not. Who cares that Essence hired a non-black person? We have died, bled, and fought like HELL to get in their world and now we want to keep things separate. WE cannot have it both ways.

    I am not being pessimistic, but realistic. Its time that we as a community take care of our own and stop expecting others to assist, care or help us with ANYTHING. WE have enough resources within our OWN community to do for ourselves what we beg, plead and downright force others to do for us.

    Seen Last Airbender? WE are like the earth people who do not know their power. WE allow others to control us because we have not realized that we can do for ourselves. Some of know this but obviously not enough.

    I understand that we felt entitled to some assistance, being that most of our ancestors were FORCED to be here in the first place. Once freed, we were left to fend for ourselves. However, this is where it got twisted. At first, we were a tight community that held each other down, then after ‘integration” we lost that. Was it the money and power that blinded us?

    This is not about being racist, it is about SELF PRESERVATION. WE cannot worry about others until we focus on our community as a whole. Blacks are the ONLY community that is not unified! I always see people post comments about other races when we are CLEARLY a black crowd, dealing with BLACK issues. Obviously, being worried about what and how other people do, is to our detriment. WE are so busy comparing ourselves to others; we do not even know where to begin to lift ourselves.

  • sgonza

    How much more crap are we going to complain about? If the President of Midol was a man, would he not be qualified to run the company because of he was not a woman? Geeezzz! Grow up!

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  • Cocoa Girl

    In case anyone is wondering why black women take issue with Essence magazine hiring a non-black fashion director, read on. This person (blackconseco) so eloquently summed up the larger issue at hand in response to Ms Burt-Murray’s response over at thegrio.com. Bravo!

    * * *
    I can see why so many are frustrated and questioning this hire. Essence has always meant more to its readers, myself included than just a magazine. It’s been about not just celebrating the culture of black women and reflecting and helping define the image and identity of black women.

    For generations, the culture and imagery of Black women and black men in the publishing world has largely been at the mercy of white males and white female editors. Essence was one of the few outlets where Blacks actually had their own voice and geniune input in shaping what hits the pages targeting them, not just as pretty faces, photographers or as writers, but also where the real power lies—on the masthead—as editors.

    When I read comments defending the Essence’s new hire as being “colorblind” and “hiring the best person for the job regardless of race” this concerns me as it falsely implies two things: (1) Being Black is little more that a superficial construct and not a culture (2) ethnic heritage shouldn’t play a part in hiring folks for a magazine which celebrates the look, identity and culture of a very specific community.

    If Blackness is little more than skin color, then Essence probably shouldn’t have any Black staffers or models or vendors at all. After all, skin-color is nothing special. Now no one buys this because we all know that being black is a culture, an ethnicity and a heritage of which skin-color is an integral part.

    Furthermore, the mag publishing industry for all its economic woes fueled largely by a technological revolution is still rife with bias against people of color, specifically Black females, even moreso in the mags that focus on beauty and culture where, with precious few exceptions white women are still perpetuated as the standard of not just physical beauty but overall femininity. It’s an ongoing struggle with magazines not targeting women of color to get the writers, photographers and yes–the editors to treat women of color as equal women who are just as much the standard of beauty and femininity as the white females they so love to uplift. (Vogue’s annual white-washed “Hollywood beauties” covers being the most recent and prescient reminder of this.)

    Speaking of which, how many black editors are working at beauty/fashion/culture magazines where the magazine’s focus is on Latinos? Asians? White males? White females? Gays? Jews? Not many if the EEOC studies and blogosphere complaints are to be believed.

    Is it because black editorial candidates in those cases were rejected because they weren’t good enough editors or lacked the management skills for the job? In some cases, yes. But we all know that in exponentially more cases, a call was made that being part of the community those mags cater to was integral to the job description. it was decided that all things being equal, a white woman at a magazine celebrating white female fashion/culture/aesthetics is the best fit.

    That’s not bias, that’s just intelligent hiring.

    Yet Essence mag’s recent hire reminds us that too often in the black community while successful platforms for our voices and imagery remain few and far between, we aren’t willing to make the hard choice to say “being black is part of we do and important to businesses and brands we aspire to build in our community,” and then act accordingly.

    There’s nothing open-minded or progressive or MLK-legacy worthy about putting your authority to shape your own identity and culture in the hands of folks not part of your community.

    I’m sure Ellianna Placas is a good editor with a proven track record of success at other pubs. But you can’t “talent” your way into black identity. You can’t resume your way into a culture.

    Not that any of this matters. After all, Black readers were silent on the plight of black schools and other “hard news” issues that Mrs Murray mentioned. So clearly we’re not allowed to speak up now, right? Just as the EIC wants everyone to consider her thought process in hiring I can see why so many are frustrated and questioning this hire. Essence has always meant more to its readers, myself included than just a magazine. It’s been about not just celebrating the culture of black women and reflecting and helping define the image and identity of black women.

    For generations, the culture and imagery of Black women and black men in the publishing world has largely been at the mercy of white males and white female editors. Essence was one of the few outlets where Blacks actually had their own voice and geniune input in shaping what hits the pages targeting them, not just as pretty faces, photographers or as writers, but also where the real power lies—on the masthead—as editors.

    When I read comments defending the Essence’s new hire as being “colorblind” and “hiring the best person for the job regardless of race” this concerns me as it falsely implies two things: (1) Being Black is little more that a superficial construct and not a culture (2) ethnic heritage shouldn’t play a part in hiring folks for a magazine which celebrates the look, identity and culture of a very specific community.

    If Blackness is little more than skin color, then Essence probably shouldn’t have any Black staffers or models or vendors at all. After all, skin-color is nothing special. Now no one buys this because we all know that being black is a culture, an ethnicity and a heritage of which skin-color is an integral part.

    Furthermore, the mag publishing industry for all its economic woes fueled largely by a technological revolution is still rife with bias against people of color, specifically Black females, even moreso in the mags that focus on beauty and culture where, with precious few exceptions white women are still perpetuated as the standard of not just physical beauty but overall femininity. It’s an ongoing struggle with magazines not targeting women of color to get the writers, photographers and yes–the editors to treat women of color as equal women who are just as much the standard of beauty and femininity as the white females they so love to uplift. (Vogue’s annual white-washed “Hollywood beauties” covers being the most recent and prescient reminder of this.)

    Speaking of which, how many black editors are working at beauty/fashion/culture magazines where the magazine’s focus is on Latinos? Asians? White males? White females? Gays? Jews? Not many if the EEOC studies and blogosphere complaints are to be believed.

    Is it because black editorial candidates in those cases were rejected because they weren’t good enough editors or lacked the management skills for the job? In some cases, yes. But we all know that in exponentially more cases, a call was made that being part of the community those mags cater to was integral to the job description. it was decided that all things being equal, a white woman at a magazine celebrating white female fashion/culture/aesthetics is the best fit.

    That’s not bias, that’s just intelligent hiring.

    Yet Essence mag’s recent hire reminds us that too often in the black community while successful platforms for our voices and imagery remain few and far between, we aren’t willing to make the hard choice to say “being black is part of we do and important to businesses and brands we aspire to build in our community,” and then act accordingly.

    There’s nothing open-minded or progressive or MLK-legacy worthy about putting your authority to shape your own identity and culture in the hands of folks not part of your community.

    I’m sure Ellianna Placas is a good editor with a proven track record of success at other pubs. But you can’t “talent” your way into black identity. You can’t resume your way into a culture.

  • Mrs. M.

    I have decided to drop Essence Magazine for a myriad of reasons, far too many to mention here. I don’t have to tolerate and PAY for the abuses coming from whomever is behind what is selected to appear in this magazine. I will NOT continue to spend my money here.

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  • Kam

    Make your own job and find other men.

  • Kam

    There is no such thing as reverse racism. It’s just racism.

  • Confused

    *****

    Its such a shame that all of the years that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has been gone and we’re still fighting to be treated equally. There’s something wrong with that picture!!

    *****

    You are still fighting to be treated equally… did it not occur to you this Latina woman might be fighting that same fight? You are projecting on her exactly what you claim to be fighting against. How would everyone feel if Latina Magazine refused to hire black women? Or if Maxim or GQ refused to hire women at all? If More wouldn’t hire anyone under 40? Niche markets are about the audience, not about segregating their workforce. Would you be this outraged if Essence hired a white intern, secretary or cleaning lady?

  • Simon

    I agree!

  • Simon

    I cancelled my subscription today.

  • Simon

    Essence was black owned until 2005, Time Warner bought the remaining 51% from Ed Lewis. Unequivocally, supporting black business owners is mistake. Bob Johnson and BET is exhibit A, although, BET was a scatophagus exercise from the outset.

  • TiTi

    Simply, stop complaining and purchase your own publication. I am so sick of the opinions. The bottom line is “YOU DON’T OWN ANYTHING!!!” There’s AA wealth in this country, invest in your own . If this is your case your trying to make; then your going to have to seriously look into ownership. Some of you fashion heads mention above has been in the the fashion industry for a longtime, has made tremendous contributions. i just don’t understand within all this time, u never considered ownership??? u appear to be extremely informed w/ loads of contact and resources. Use them and stop relying on others to butter your bread.

  • AMNAU EELE

    No Tami I didn’t make those remarks to WWD about Michelle Obama but as you can see with the idiot comments by clowns like Akai, the truth doesn’t matter to some people.
    Akai thought nothing of calling me mentally ill because he thinks i can see the future.
    He trashed my family’s art form that has been sitting in The Met Museum NYC for years and the archives at The NY Historical Society labeled under “CityLore” curated by Ms, Sally Herships.
    Akai thought nothing of spreading more lies about my lawsuit against NBC and the tv show Heroes, even though it clearly states in all of my legal documents that NBC admitted to the courts to :accessing and copying” my original copyrighted IP and so much more.
    you’re right Tami,many black people are doomed because they refuse to deal with truth and reality.
    Ny lawyer and i are searching for Akai right now and we’re going to file a lawsuit against him for defamation because we want him to come into a court of law and prove that i am mentally ill and that i interviewed with WWD and that I made any of those statements.
    we want to bring some “truth and reality” into his life.
    We’re going to expose him and bring him out of hiding from behind his computer.
    If anyone on this site can help me locate him , I will pay you, please email me at;
    [email protected]
    I’m ready to meet you in court Akai are you ready to meet me?
    Thank You,
    Amnau Eele
    Black Artitsts Association

  • AMNAU EELE

    One day after a NYC judge went on the front page of The NY Law Journal and said my lawsuit “MALLERY VS NBCU” was “Absurd” and put me on trial without my knowledge , issued a ruling against me without my knowledge and the judge or her court never bothered to contact me or my lawyer about this trial or ruling, the hack (Tim Kring), that tried to rip off my original copyrighted intellectual property to create the lame tv show Heroes went to the media and said this when asked:”how did you get “Heroes” on the air at NBC Tim”?
    Tim Kring answered:
    ” In Hollywood they say if HITLER wrote a great screenplay they’d send a limo to the airport to pick him up… Great creativity comes from everywhere, I was flubbed(before) and I didn’t just want a show on the air, I wanted something big, bold and I wanted to prove them wrong. Only problem was I didn’t have an idea, so I was just left angry and worried about it… I lied and cheated and schemed and manipulated all the way through the idiocy that is the notes process when you do this, was able to push the production through relatively unscathed and in the form that it would work in… That’s how Heroes got on the air… It’s not the most original idea in the world, you build and borrow. Just put these pieces together in the right way, at the right time, and on the right network.”
    Read more of this interview at: http://blog.the-eg.com/2007/12/04/tim-kring/

    A few days after Tim Kring gave this interview to the media the NAACP gave him a image award.

    Today, the FBI is now investigating “MALLERY VS NBCU” and Tim Kring.
    and” The Twins” are still in court with this issue.

    if anyone of you email me at: [email protected] I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions about this lawsuit, the WWD article, Luba art , the Russell Simmons “One World ” magazine article written about my twin Eele’s rare ability and art form and I’ll email any legal paper in this lawsuit to you also.
    WOW!! and Thank You to everyone that has already emailed me about your interest in my story.
    Amnau Eele
    Black Artists Association

  • AMNAU EELE

    Thank You everyone for the tips and info on Akai, please keep them coming and I will pay the person that leads us directly to his front door.
    BAA’
    Amnau Eele

  • Akai*

    Amnau, you know who I am (I’d tell you my last name to make it clear, but that’s not safe).

    23, long curly hair, blue eyes, about 5’8″…I’m the chick that tried to get an interview with you about a year and a ½ ago to talk about the Black Artists Association etc. I saw you around Tribeca and you hemmed, hawed, then walked away.

    But I tell ya’ what…I’ll consider meeting you in court when you provide proof that you’ve paid NBC’s $100,000 in court fees that the judge ordered (ooh and if you use your ‘divinity’ skills to ‘divine’ what’s going to happen at my BFF’s party next week).

  • assata

    I have been a reader and subscriber since high school. I have gift subscriptions that I give every year. This will be the last. This is insanity at it’s best.

  • AMNAU EELE

    I get it, you’re a liar and full of bullshit.
    you play online all day.
    what’s not safe about it clown?
    when you’re sane, the truth is your safety.
    You never met me in Tribeca or anywhere and you should have no fear of giving me your last name, address or phone number.
    I don’t have to pay NBC or the courts, and I never will.
    Try calling Tim kring’s lawyer Marcia Paul of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine NYC and asked her when she plans to come get $100,000.00 from me, if I even owed that amount, which I don’t.
    I don’t owe NBC one penny and I never will.
    You’d have a better chance of growing a ass the size of Beyonce to match your blue eyes before anyone at NBC take me to court for $100,000.00.
    which is more money than you’ve ever seen in your pathetic life.
    Here’s what’s going to happen to you next week, you’re going to get served with legal papers to come to court.
    Which we know is a waste of my time and the court’s because I’ve already ran a credit check on you and there’s not much there to sue for.
    We know where you are now and we’re surprised that it was so easy to find you.
    moving on… Once again Thank You to everyone from this site that has emailed me about these issues and Thank You for your kind words.
    I will keep you all posted through my email address on the fate of “MALLERY VS NBCU” which as I stated in a earlier Post on this sitel is now being investigated by the FBI.
    Thank You,
    BAA
    Amnau Eele

  • AMNAU EELE

    To everyone that has emailed me today from this site,
    Let the Essence magazine flap go!! There’s a better fashion magazine on the scene now called” Arise” out of Africa via london.
    move on divas…. Essence doesn’t count.
    And Thank You to Ami for finding and emailing my old photos out of Vogue and Elle Paris magazine to me. How did you ever find that on the internet?
    BAA
    Amnau Eele

  • assata

    I agree

  • G Johnson

    “What’s makes her not qualified? I hope that beauty can be found in every woman.”

    You know what makes her not qualified in my opinion; when it comes to the white fashion industry, black women as a model for beauty have been rejected over and over again. A white fashion director will have no understanding of that experience and so is more likely to subtly project more black self hate in the fashion articles she choses to highlight.

    Black kids are indoctrinated daily with images that tell them white is beautiful and black is not. Psychological test show black kids choosing the white baby and rejecting the black baby. These same subtle queues will be injected into the “white” Essence.

    Yes, white Essence because as it stands now Black Essence is dead.

  • Akai*

    Waahaahaahaahaahaahaa, anyway…

    …my, my, my. (Still) such anger, Amnau!?

    Seems this article was the perfect vehicle for you to start up again on your rants, spewing of delusions, and desperate need for attention.

    You take care, now, and I look forward to receiving those papers (since you ran a a credit check on me ‘n all *giggle*).

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/kiamuze Kia Muze

    I agree with Richard Beavers. Follow the money trail…..

  • GINA BAYATTI

    Angry? What is there to be angry about?
    are all black women angry to you because they choose to give you the truth about your lies?
    delusional?
    That would be you and your blond hair, green eye fantasy, right?
    which is it?
    did Ms. Eele meet you in Tribeca or are you just a liar?
    Needing attention?
    Ms. Eele walked the Couture runways for YSL before Naomi and with Naomi Campbell.
    Sorry, that walk down YSL’s runway gave her all the attention she needed and then some.
    why are you getting off this site,? Is it because we found you and we now know who you are and where you live?
    Ms. Eele sending you legal papers would give you something of value, since the credit check showed you have no value.
    And I should know because I ran it.
    Now… look out your window
    I’m sitting right across the street from where you live posting this to you, that’s the power of technology.
    Now get your sorry broke ass outside or should I come up and see you?
    Oh, I’m sorry, did that sound angry?
    Allow me to be nicer… would you like to come down and join me for tea?
    you’re tired and boring.
    And you sound like a petty tranny.
    Move on squall and close your legs while you’re at it, because all of a sudden it doesn’t smell very well out here.
    Gina Bayatti
    Asst to Ms. Eele
    Black Artists Association

  • smarter than you

    Ummm it’s “appalled” — now improper spellings and poor grammar is more disappointing then all. Get it together sister girl.

  • Akai*

    Paula I agree with you regarding the condemnation of this decision.

    This situation has gotten a fair amount of media attention and, when the next incident occurs where someone is demanding fairness/equality, this is another one that will be remembered.

    As I previously mentioned, some people “maintain some tired line that they can’t be racist due to having no power” in order to don some halo of innocence, sugarcoat and deny their own racism and intolerance. But, see with your own eyes and don’t fall for that or allow anyone to make up their own self-serving definition as there are several for the term(s) racist/m:

    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    Note the word “usually” (which is not exclusive and does not mean ‘always’). In this case the term “racist/m” is apropos as it is more than apparent that – due to Placas’ skin color or ‘race’ being different from an AA’s – many hold “a belief” that she is incapable of serving, or ‘achieving’ success, as fashion director for Essence.

    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

    The term “racist/m” is appropriate with this definition also since blacks had the power in that a BW (Burt-Murray) made the decision. Though Time Warner is white-owned many AAs are mad, whining and insisting the powers-that-be and decision maker at Essence (a BW) should hold to a racist “policy” of only hiring blacks for either this position or others.

    3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    A lot of the fashions worn by females are heavily influenced by gay males and always have been but, anyway, this definition also fits. Some people are totally disregarding the fact that Placas freelanced at Essence for 6 months and has a proven track record, in addition to having worked for O Magazine.

    Had Placas the exact same qualifications, but was African American, there wouldn’t have been this chorus of complaining. Naysayers are protesting merely because of her ‘race; that is “racist/m” and, no doubt about it, an “intolerance of another race.”

  • Zaharah

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau and for demographic purposes , if she is not of African ancestry, she is white. PERIOD!

  • Akai*

    Teeheehee…whatever you say Gina/Amnau/Applewhite/Teletubbie or heck, whoever.

    But c’mon, now; my hair is not blonde (and you know this) but, anyway, you’re absolutely right. Everything you say is the truth and I’m a liar; I’m uneducated, my family is penniless and we pan-handle in the subway; I never saw you around Tribeca; the staff at WWD are liars; you received “death threats”; you’re innocent yet the media is out to get you; you’re constantly cursed and verbally attacked by men and women on the streets of NYC; the court system and judges are also liars out to get you; you accurately predicted the September 11th attacks; and, yep, you really did write the original concept for Heroes. …Oh, and, you’re right across the street from me (think that just about covers everything) *giggle*.

    I’ll even apologize for using the term “whackdom,” so could you do me one teensie-weensie favor? You’ve a Yahoo e-mail that any 10-year-old can easily create, but would you provide a link to the Black Artists Association’s website? How ’bout sharing any name(s) said association is registered under in the state of New York? Financials? Anything? Pretty please???

  • Zaharah

    It’s – a contraction for (it is), for which the blogger correctly used.

  • Impersional

    I find it hilarious how when blacks speak their mind on this issue you hear so much back talk about how they sound too…. black. Meaning they identify with who they are and their background in a country that places a premium and cache on Europe and sounding white as the most prized asset. Turn on T.V., go to the movies, the book store, listen to the radio and go on the internet and white is all over, white speech, white culture, white history, white beauty and everything else. And this is in a country that is becoming more and more non white on a daily basis and in which whites are not truly the original indigenous natives. The point of all this is that one solitary example of a black magazine standing up and defending the black woman, black culture and positivity is in no way the epitome of diversity. How is that when the 99% of the editorial and leading positions in most magazines in the U.S are held by whites or non blacks? So now the 1 isolated spot that caters to blacks being taken by someone non black is an example of diversity? That means 99.9% of the editorial decisions on beauty and fashion are being made by non black people with .1% being a meaningless statistic. That is not an example of diversity. Any idiot who would say otherwise, when blacks make up more than 13% of the country and an even greater percentage in certain parts of the country makes absolutely no sense. Not to mention the thousands if not millions of other black and brown people of other backgrounds in America as well.

    But that is exactly the point. This culture and nation has always been intent on pushing white as the perspective and point of view that is correct and the standard to be measured by. And having outlets that put forward the black voice, black perspective and black expression is not racist, it is just the opposite. It is freedom and diversity. Not unless you believe living in a fake white washed world with no black voices is the ideal vision of reality.

    If someone is going to argue about racism in hiring for any job then they had better be talking about the 99% of jobs run and controlled by whites who regularly hire white and have a history of affirmative action programs for whites.

  • nancyregan

    Wow, you certaintly do write a good lie I must say. I highly doubt if you interviewed any young women and I doubt they behaved in the mannerism you speak of. And if you don’t like the grammar, sentence structures or whatever bloggers have commented on. You and others truly need to get a life because how someone writes on a site does not define who they are if thats the case than most of us like you would assume that authors are murderers, rapist, looneys and so on. So if your looking for perfection stick to sites that will make you feel like the ass that you are for be so judgmental of others.

  • Akaisucksdik

    Dumbbitchakai maybe you should grow the f@@@ up B$$$$ you wanna talk s@@@@ about people grammars I’ll give u my number u fat slob

  • Angela

    Great article! Hits the mark on what the “real” issue is about. I’m a former magazine editor who left the business a few years ago because I couldn’t find a job. As Michaela and Joan point out, most of the mainstream magazines DO NOT hire African Americans, especially in top-level positions. So I was very disappointed in this decision and only time will tell just how “qualified” and “talented” this editor is. (If only I had a $1 for every white person who was hired or promoted over me who was also considered more “qualified” or “talented” but who, in reailty, was TERRIBLE!) Like Najwa, I’ll flip through the September issue but I won’t buy it! And if enough black women STOP BUYING Essence, Time Inc. and Ms. Burt-Murray will get the message loud and clear!

  • Akaisucksdik

    Your an I-d-i-o-t did you get missy worry about your own spelling and grammar there will be no ass kissing awards for correct spelling or grammar so gtfoi.

  • Akaisucksdik

    Akai is nothing more than a coward and internet troll hiding behind his computer to harrass and initimidate commenters “it” needs to get a life I hope you find the scumb and bring it to justice.

  • Nancyregan

    Angela,

    Sorry to hear and this is what most of us are talking about, its, good to hear someone who has first hand experience on being denied a job simply because you and I know your not their choice of skin color.

    But, the kumbaya cheerleaders want to believe its not happening, it is, their just too blind to see it. I want to see them walk into telemundo, asian world, or any ethnic organization aside from anglo saxon and apply for a job. Not only will they not get very far they probably wont even get an invitation to sit their behind down.

    If black were treated equal like other cultures than it wouldnt be a problem nor an issue. And we still have yet to overcome our own challegnes in our communities and seeking employment heck sometimes even black own companies don’t hire their own its all about the green backs.

  • Courtney

    Vibe magazine has gone Essence one better and hired a White partycrashing fraud named “Drew Felder a.k.a. Adrien Field” as their fashion “Market Editor”! Drew is a New Jerseyite who used to lurk in doorways outside of parties and beg me and other guests to get him in. He then created a fake persona and kicked the ladder that he climbed up to get in out from under him and began crashing parties claiming that he was alternatively either writing for Vogue.com or doing a TV show. Found out today that he landed at Vibe! This charlatan is definitely not more qualified than any number of people that I know personally that would’ve been more appropriate at a Black magazine.

  • dalia

    uh, it’s “couldn’t care less.”

  • http://none Cici

    I think this is ridiculous. I understand that there are thousand of black women who are qualified for this position. In the beginning of this article, you state what make all the difference in this situation. The company majority owners are not African American.
    African Americans make up majority of the sales quota.

    I see why people are in an up rage, but I must say this is racism from blacks. The truth of the matter is that racism is across the board. Whites practice it and so do blacks. Mexicans, Indians, Asian…we all have our prejudices. It is what makes us human, but it is also what makes us inhumane.

    This woman may or may not know what she’s doing in this position, but she was not giving the chance to show that. If black people want to complain about blacks not being hired, then start a business and employee your people. But whining that a white woman got a job at a majority white owned company is not only futile, it’s ignorant.

    “I feel like a sister died,”……..really? lmao smdh

  • Salsassin

    Ahhhh the hypocricy. For six months no one complained about Elliana’s work. Now a blacker than though light skinned woman who was a former director and stuck out in African American crowds as well, is making a huge deal. But she didn’t make a huge deal when they hired her.

  • Soupie

    Michaela is fair skinned, but very obviously of African heritage. I worked for Time Inc. and it is a company that does not welcome blacks; I felt very, very uncomfortable there and I’m incredibly assimilated, for what it’s worth. I think this can be said for the industry in general. If that works for you, OK. It seems like many of us really don’t want equality and want to pretend that we’re living in a just society. Look around you–is there true equality on your job, in your community, in this country? I know that facing the fact that racism is alive and well is uncomfortable, but perhaps it’s time to get real–and to hope and plan for a better future. As for Essence, meh. It’s a tacky, trashy magazine geared toward a demographic that I don’t relate to. Shut it down.

  • Jason

    In full disclosure let me say I hate essence because essence hates Black men. Having said that is an outrage. I mean really. For one what advice is this woman going to give Black women about hair care? Who is she to decide their fashion? For another white women ALREADY have ALL the jobs in the magazine and fashion industry. Isn’t it essence’ job to mentor and develop Black talent? If not them then who ?

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  • Malacyne

    I’ve stopped my subscription to Essence months ago. I concur with Ms. Morgan: when the fashion industry becomes less racist and allows more people of color to participate in the industry (at all levels) then I will warm to the idea of a white woman editing fashion for a black women’s magazine. I wouldn’t let a white woman hair stylist touch my hair and I don’t think that has anything to do with racism.

  • http://none Cici

    Telling us about our hair products? Telling us what shirt to wear??? Who exactly?? I can’t remember the last time I let a magazine decide what I bought in the store…smh

    This argument is dried up. If we want to argue about something, I’d rather discuss the fact that African Americans are still being paid far less than whites. That’s faaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more relevant.

    She has the job, and bitching about that will not change that fact. No she will not do like Sherrod and resign…won’t see that happening any time soon. And you can just guess why…

    If we wanna complain about inequality in regard to women of color, let’s talk about sistas hating on otha sistas shall we….that too is faaaaaaaaaaar more relevant. It is the tragic hate within the black community that keeps us suppressed.

    That is our crippling crutch. Hate among ourselves. I’m sick of hearing about this. I want to see articles with more purposeful context. Seriously ladies…and then we’re swiping at each other on here about how to correctly use it’s….lmao smh, pathetic in the least.

    On to the next one…Yet another thing we can talk about, black businesses. The lack of longevity with them, and the lack of them existing period. Where is the loyalty with black ppl? I know Dr. King and all the other black crusaders are turning in their graves over the selfish and repugnant behaviors we exude to each other…shit it makes me sick and I’m only 24.

    I await the day that we all as people wake up. Stop having sight and tap into our vision. Sure the world will never be fair, not until God comes back. Until then we should learn to deal with each other and accept nothing less than what we deserve. And learn to work together! Without hating, without envy and God willing without prejudice.

    I’ve had some black women hate on me in the work force because of my ethics and knowledge. They think I want their job, when my ideal position isn’t even listed. I could go on for days…but jus know this isn’t the first or last time a white girl will beat a black woman out of a job. Want to solve the problem then start a business and hire all black ppl.

  • Talicha

    WOW!! I am appalled at this article and the responses! I guess the day has come, in America, where people of color can get together and racially attack and judge someone else based SOLELY on the color of their skin, or lack thereof. I am very disgusted by this, now if this scenario was the reverse, all hell would break loose. We should be ashamed of ourselves; less than a century ago, we were being killed, beaten, spit on, raped, and sold because of the color of our skin, but now I guess its a new day and we have mustered up the courage and focused our energy on transposing that same treatment on another person (and here’s the punch line) because of their lack of color! Lest we forget.
    Sincerely,
    an irate woman of color.

  • Talicha

    You sound just like those racists men and women who were against desegregating the schools in the south. You know the one’s who spit on, beat, and humiliated our grandparents and older relatives? Funny how we repeat the exact same treatment we’ve fought against for years on another group of people. What’s next are we going to lynch them too, or maybe even better, sell them and use them as slaves? I know! Lets rally up and cover ourselves in black sheets and burn crosses on their lawns! (Sarcasm)
    Sincerely,
    irate woman of color

  • Free

    Meh. ‘Essence’ is about 12 issues from being shut down entirely as they have been out of touch for some time with what interest black women today and because of the fact that they’re still focusing on irrelevant issues and topics from 15-20 years ago. I imagine this is their way of trying to ‘shake things up’, but sadly, I fear this decision will deliver the final blow to a once important voice.

  • Anastasia

    Honestly…who cares? I think its hilarious when black folk get all up in arms about black companies hiring white people or black men dating white girls. Who cares? If this woman knows fashion good for her. If she wants to work with black women, good for her. This isn’t some secret society we have. It’s life. I don’t need to be afraid of cross-cultural partnerships. What I need to be afraid of is when I start thinking like the people that set the flippin’ boundaries, stigmas, and stereotypes in the first place…sorry not on my watch. Welcome aboard Girlfriend!!!

  • http://none Cici

    Thank God there are some sensible ppl out there…amen!

  • Iain Akal

    I believe that a Black person should be the authority on black fashion, our fashion has been hijack to much in time the Kente Cloth has been taken by white fashion designers and implemented in their works.
    Kente is an Asante ceremonial cloth hand-woven. not machine based
    anyway,
    I feel that every other magazine of this kind is run owned by whites and the fashion editors are white so to give this position away ina BLACK MAG is just not right. the next thing is the editor will be white, then they sell of the company and the owners will be white.
    Hence the end of an era.

    On the other hand the person has been given the job I believe based on their merit so let her work speak for it’self. if she is not cutting it then hopefully they will do the right thing.

    You know they have men selling clothe to women so maybe there is a logic but I won’t stand by that one.

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  • Wanderer

    CiCi girl you better write that truth!!!

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  • Shiva_Amina

    Essence lost me quite a while ago as a reader as they delved deeper into superficial celebrity issues and printed a cover with Diddy and then gf Kim Porter as the ideal image of AA love.

    As for them hiring a white woman as a fashion editor…who cares? If black magazines are not welcome to the idea of mixing the races in their offices, when do you think major white covers like Elle and Vogue will ever seriously consider consistently mixing the races in their offices? You can’t be angry about Essence taking the same action that so many minorities have been in an uproar about white magazines not. Either you can roll with the change or hate on the moves that the magazine has made and cause the death of another black publication over an HR decision.

    Those of us who choose not to support the magazine for the quality of the work found within its pages are leaps and bounds away from those who choose not to purchase a magazine they love simply because they hired a white editor. And in case some of you forgot, she was writing for the magainze and was published several times within its pages long before her hire and yet no one had anything to say about her worth as a contributor until she was on the payroll. An incoming new wave of racism?…did we not learn from our own treatment?

  • Adrianne

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that the Essence magazine we are idealizing has been gone for some time now. After being scooped up into a larger publishing conglomerate, it was inevitable, but it has long been out of step with the myriad incarnations of contemporary black females. I fear this is the last year for my subscription and it has very little to do with the recent hiring of a new fashion director.

    I’m more offended by “advice” columnists like Steve Harvey who encourages black women to alter themselves (mentally & physcially) until they are almost unrecognizable to catch a man while not pressuring him to clean up his act; Jill Scott who complains about black men not stepping up to the plate and caring for their illegitmate children when she purposely (by her own admission in an Essence interview) set out to create such a situation with her own child; Bishop T.D. Jakes who counsels women to pray that the Lord will take away their pain and think about the life to come instead. As Alice Walker wrote, “You ought to bash Mr.___________ head open, she say. Think bout heaven later.”

    When the magazine recently featured interviews of same-sex couples parenting, you would have thought they suggested setting the children on fire based on the negative response.

    The sad thing is, essence.com consistently includes more useful and timely content than the printed piece. Maybe it’s time to put the magazine to bed permanently and focus on building a quality presence online.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Betty-Chambers/1436216113 Betty Chambers

    Using the logic of everyone who’s into racial opportunity – Angela Burt should be replaced by a white woman. Makes sense, right?

  • Lucky

    I’ve seen many of your videos posted on YouTube, Sal, but I had no idea you were a fan of Essence magazine. :sarcasm: Obviously you decided to jump aboard when this story made national news headlines. For decades, Essence proudly tauted itself as the magazine for today’s black woman. Michaela angela Davis is a far greater reflection of black womanhood than Ellianna Placas could ever hope to be.

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  • Kadesh

    I will NEVER buy this magazine again. EVER.

  • TEXASGRL

    I left Essense when Susan Taylor left. The picture that Essense paints for Black American Women is and has been for a long time of lower standards. Sooo I took my subscription elesewhere. Susan knew this was coming so she left gracefully…. I do glance at it in the bookstore because who ever shoots the covers does them well: they are always beatiful. Sooooo Long Essence.

  • Almah

    “The same treatment?” How can you compare some black women’s understandable reactions to…enslavement and torture?

  • Joyful

    I AGREE. Seriously if some predominately white magazine hired a black fashion editor and there was this much outrage it would be UNACCEPTABLE.
    SO WHAT if she’s white. If she got the job, more than likely SHE’S QUALIFIED FOR IT.
    SHEESH people, people in the fashion industry know what works on all body types and skin colors. IT’S THEIR JOB. Just because she’s white doesn’t mean she’s going to start dressing black models in super awkward clothes that only white girls should wear. And what kind of outfit would look terrible on a black person but good on a white person anyway? Lest you forget, most models in the industry have no curves to speak of anyway so you should be more worried about fitting your size 10 figure into some stick straight dress that looks awesome in the magazine on a stick straight girl of any color and awful in the recesses of a dressing room on a girl with an actual ass or something.
    GROW UP!
    *whew*

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  • kendra

    Um, could someone please explain to me how hiring yet another white woman as an editor at a fashion magazine helps improve diversity? I’ll wait . . .
    I mean, is there a dearth of white women in these jobs that I don’t know about?

    LOL, at people using dictionary definitions to define racism. Who do you think wrote the dictionary? Racism wasn’t even always defined as a social construct.

    Clutch, thanks for brining this to light, and everyone should also check out the Jezebel thread on this as well.

    http://jezebel.com/5598785/why-would-essence-hire-a-white-fashion-director#comments

    A lot of the commenters there tackle the myth of “reverse racism” really well.

    Reverse Racism = white privilege under attack

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  • lisa

    I am a long time Essence reader from the my days back in high school unitl a few years ago. I stopped buying Essence because the articles were being recycled and too much time kissing black celebrities asses. Considering the white editor has been working there for 6 months and there were no compliants, Essence should had hired her

  • Once again, I’m rendered neutral

    I could never get into Essence, or any “lifestyle” magazines. Like…every person’s experience is going to be different. So it’s really hard to publish something that reflects EVERYONE’S experiences as a whatever (a Black person, a Black woman, or a woman period). I understand the upset but don’t identify with it, because this magazine doesn’t represent me and never will.

  • Nikki

    Wait, wait, wait…so many of you are missing the boat. No one is bashing this woman, they are bashing the decision. For some of those comments about how this would be unacceptable if this were a black woman and a white magazine I encourage you to research. Every magazine has a demographic. The editors at teen vogue and people will never be 70 year old grandmas, regardless of how much fashion sense they have. This magazine’s audience is the black woman, so Essence owes it to the industry to stay loyal to that base. When oh when are you same women going to wake up and say that you are tired of hearing the phrase “the first black ____” (you fill in the blank). Those of you who are in urban cities have no idea how treacherous and growing racism and imagery still are in the southern states. I was the same way until I moved to the South. There are still a great deal of rural areas across these lands who only see these sort of publications and that unfortunately represents the black woman and man everywhere. This is a bad move. A very bad move. As Miss Davis pointed out, this was the only one fashion editor of color of likely hundreds and it should go without saying that such a fact alone is a sad statistic.

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  • Kari

    Amen! I’m disgusted by everything about this article. Disgusted by the drama filled rants all cloaking racism towards this white woman and the decision made to hire her as she was MOST QUALIFIED. It’s hypocritical to expect others not to focus on our color but that’s the MAIN issue Michaela Angela Davis and comments seem to have here. Disgusting. Lest you judge (based on color) lest others will.

  • Kari

    Seriously? Girlfriend you need to get a grip. “Our men” aren’t commodities on the shelves at stores for others to “take” them from us. And Placcas is a white woman, not a latina woman. Facts straight please. She didn’t “take” the job either. She freelanced for months there, went through the hiring process and was given the job. This victim mentality is so unattractive.

  • Kari

    Great video! IMO you nailed it the hyocrisy and racism. Fact is that I don’t identify w/Michaela as a black woman (or whatever she is) and fact is that I don’t identify with her fashion sense either which in my book seems more grunge based on what I’ve seen her wearing. Elianna’s been doing the job well in my book and I wish her the best of luck.

  • Dana

    Are you kidding? I can’t believe I am actually reading such insane comments and from people who are in the public arena????
    Would the conversation be the same if a black woman was promoted to fashion editor of a magazine primarily read by white women? Of course not. It would be celebrated!
    Do you think Barack Obama cannot lead a country because a number of it’s inhabitants are white????
    Get a grip people!
    Take your glasses off. Look around you! I have never heard of anything so racist in my life! Don’t try to hide it. Your comments are absolutely racist! As racist as they come. None of your comments are based on anything about this woman except the colour of her skin. I am disgusted. Outraged. I would not hire any of you based purely on your sickening view of the world. Grow up. Get a grip. Hopefully if people like you stop working in the media than we can start to change the way the next generation – your offspring in particular – view their world.

  • Sarai

    My first reaction when I read “I feel like a girlfriend has died” – B*TCH PLEASE! Nobody died!!! The melodrama coupled with blatant racism makes my stomach turn.

    I think it’s incredibly arrogant and insulting for Michaela angela Davis to question Angela Burt Murray’s expertise, experience and plain and simple, the ability to do her damn job! Who made Michaela the authority on Essence or on being a black woman?!? Puhlease. It’s offensive on so many levels. FYI Michaela black fashion editors and stylists WERE approached but THEY declined the position.

    Yes Essence is a magazine geared towards the African American community in CONTENT but it should not follow this segregationist and illegal approach Michaela’s endorsing by hiring the best black person instead of the best person, period. And from what I’ve read Elianna has already given more opportunity to aspiring black designers than her black predecessors!

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  • Oluwatoni

    In reference to your comment: “If black magazines are not welcome to the idea of mixing the races in their offices, when do you think major white covers like Elle and Vogue will ever seriously consider consistently mixing the races in their offices?”, I don’t think Elle and Vogue care what the hell black magazines do and who they hire. Essence could hire an entire white staff, and Elle and Vogue would still never hire an equal number of staffers of color.

    I am a devoted subscriber to Essence and will continue to be, particularly because I am aware of how subscribers like myself keep them afloat. I wonder if any of us would have even noticed any change in the fashion if this news hadn’t been put out there to the public about the white editor.

    One thing that I definitely DON’T want to see is any decrease in the number of models of color wearing the fashions in the magazine. As long as the editor’s decisions are well informed by research of the magazine’s demographics, than it’s really not that big of a deal to me.

  • Blair

    BOYCOTT ESSENCE!

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  • Talicha

    So…in a setting where the majority of people are of color, by definition to diversify this setting would be to bring in more of the white minority. Now just incase you missed this, the majority of people in this setting are in fact of color, so who do you think would be considered the minority in this situation? This white woman. Now I want you to put yourself in this white woman’s shoes, because chances are you’ve been through the same circumstance you just weren’t aware of it. When a work place or school wants to diversify its population, who do they bring in? Us. So out of the pool of white people who were overly-qualified for the position you hold, you got the job, because once again this facility wanted to diversify its population. Think really hard, isn’t this the flip situation going on at Essence magazine today? I guess, it isn’t easy walking a mile in the shoes of the pool of white people who didn’t get the job/position you hold today.

  • http://www.dgsimagery.com dgsimagery

    Fashion is colorless. As such, the race or gender of a fashion editor does not dictate my style or purchases. Essence’s decision to hire a white woman as their fashion editor was bold and monumental. I am somewhat saddened that this helm will not be lead by a woman of color. However, as long her editorial content is filled with fashion elements that are designed by, celebrate and include women of color; I will board this fashion train and ride it from season to season!

  • Angela

    Anyone who thinks we live in a “post racial world” is living on another planet! I’m an African American magazine editor who has been in the business for 20 years and I can tell you there are some VERY qualified black editors out here who ARE NOT being hired or even interviewed for jobs at maintream magazines, like Vogue, Elle, Self, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, and the list goes on and on and on. MOST of these magazines have staffs that are 99% white–and none of these white editors seems to have a problem with that! And a lot of them WERE NOT hired because they were the “most qualified.” Yes, Ms. Placas was a freelancer–not on the fulltime staff–at Us Weekly and O. But I know black editors who have worked at leading publications as well. A few have even applied for jobs at Essence. What happened? Nada. Silence. Crickets. All sounds Ms. Burt-Murray indicated she knows quite well. So I don’t buy her excuse that Placas was the best woman for the job. Black women are told on a daily basis that we’re “not good enough,” and Ms. Burt-Murray has joined that chorus. I have bought my LAST Essence!

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  • Dee

    Good lord people. I find so many things wrong with this uproar that I almost don’t know where to begin. I’m appalled and frankly disgusted that we as black people have come to a point where unbridled racism is acceptable and encouraged. Since when is the solution to engage in the same discriminatory behavior that we’ve been fighting against for years?

    I don’t see color in fashion especially when the majority of magazines recycle the same European designers time and time again. When was the last time you saw black celebrities NOT wearing Chanel, Gucci, Versace, and don an outfit by a black designer? Even Michelle Obama didn’t choose and showcase a black designer for all of the inaugural functions. She went with what looked good on her. I also don’t think that being a black woman, that I have an automatic sisterhood w/every single other black woman out there, or that we share the same fashion sense.

    Not too long ago Michaela Angela Davis put together a panel to discuss black beauty. That panel was uniformly “lite bright” as she herself is. THIS represents black beauty to her? When called out on it, she backpedaled and claimed she didn’t realize that everyone was so light complected until later. I find it almost laughable that she is the loudest opponent to this hiring yet she herself didn’t represent the full scope of black beauty. Don’t confuse loud for being right.

    I’m not suprised at Angela Burt Murray’s response and frankly I’d be pissed too. Michaela chose to publicly lambast ABM and her decision. Michaela knows Angela and could’ve discussed it privately and get insight into the decision – because she clearly did not know who was previously interviewed and declined, and what went on behind the scenes before Placcas was hired. It was beyond disrespectful.

  • Tolu

    Talicha, I completely agree with you. The disadvantage of African Americans in the fashion industry will not be overcome by repressing others as a method of an eye for an eye. If someone thought this white person was qualified then she is qualified. Is that not what the civil rights movement was all about, giving qualified people qualified positions? This white person may not know the hair care products that is best for my hair or the lotions best for my skin (and she just might), but as an editor she maybe the best to connect me to those who do know and may be the key to opening doors for African American designers to those who still refuse to speak to them unless they see a white face. Racism is racism no matter what race is preaching it.

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  • Penny

    Amen Cici!!!

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  • Wild Thing

    We have a black president, can’t we have a white director? Yes.

    A color blind reader

  • Wild Thing

    Says Malacyne – first comment – : “I wouldn’t let a white woman hair stylist touch my hair.”

    Should celebrity hairdresser Kim Kimble (black) be allowed to take care of white women’s hair?
    Oh my God! She does already…!!!

    Please, please, enough with such silly “black & white” comments, which are really… beyond the pale.
    Right under the hair, there’s a thing called “grey matter”.
    Time to use it.

  • Wild Thing

    Malacyne, you wrote: “I wouldn’t let a white woman hair stylist touch my hair.”

    I have a question for you: Should celebrity hairdresser Kim Kimble (black) be allowed to take care of white women’s hair?
    Oh my God! She does already…!!!

    Please, please, enough with such “black & white” comments, which are really… beyond the pale.
    Right under the hair, there’s a thing called “grey matter”.
    Time to use it.

  • Wild Thing

    Quite right, Tolu

    Publishing is about teamwork. The fashion director is not going to test hair care products herself. No fashion director does that, whether black or white or any color of the rainbow.
    A fashion director is a manager.
    Essence’s new one, Ellianna Placas, is white : so what?
    Her boss, Angela Burt-Murray, is black : so what?

    Michaela Angela Davis got herself some buzz with her rant about being “heart broken” upon learning that Essence had hired a white fashion director.
    What purpose does it serve?
    Wasn’t she also a stylist for Donald Trump? I mean a “black” stylist for a “white” guy?
    So what…

  • DaveN

    Essence is only a magazine that showcases African Americans on its covers and fashion spreads. All of the photography is created by White photographers – that’s correct – all White photographers. So now Essence has a White fashion editor to go hand and in with the White photographers. These days most African American photographers are bankrupted – economically out of business. Magazines like Ebony, Vibe, (even Oprah) rarely hires African American photographers. So why so much emphasis on who is dressing us (literally that’s what the fashion editor does) if there is so concern over who is photographing us?

  • Wild Thing

    What is “black fashion” anyway?
    Michaela Angela Davis wears a lot of “white” designers’ clothes and shoes.
    Is it a problem?
    Fashion is international. It has nothing to do with race. Beauty is universal. Enough said.

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  • scoti

    I am surprised and disappointed, I don”t get the “post racial world ” . Essence was a place where black women wrote about black women our issues and experiences with a voice we could relate to . So are we to assume this is another white publication that will dictate our aesthetic?

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  • http://[email protected] ross

    I agree with Dee. far too long i have been noticing a dispoportioning level of lightness in black magazines, black tv shows and publications even in commercials that is geared towards blacks. the women on those commercial are almost if not always passing. even when the couple is dark skin their kids are somehow mixed. i have nothing towards mixed people my nephew is mixed and i love him so much. but it wouldn’t hurt to have a little diversity among the races. it wouldn’t hurt to have more dark skin women on those publications.

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  • Rome’ Miller

    I’m gonna try to keep this complex issue simple . The fashion industry is a BILLION dollar a year business with peoples of color being large contributors . I remember when Italian Vogue came out with an issue dedicated to past and present black fashion models that which became one of the best selling issues ever … but i also remember that issue costing more than previous issues due to the support of our peoples in arguably the best fashion magazine out there . But i must add : What IS the image of a Black Woman today ? .. The influence of hip-hop has straightened my sista’s hair and has Europeanised her to which her image is now BIG business .

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  • http://BlushingAmbers.com Amberly

    Wow! 306 comments so far… I think Essence should really take a look at what’s been said here…

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  • http://www.hairobicsallnatural.com Marissa

    It shouldn’t matter if someone is black or white. As long as we enjoy the reading material that’s all that matters.

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