PhotobucketThere’s sad news in the magazine world. According to Maynard Institute, Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Constance White is leaving her role as well as the beauty editor Corynne L. Corbett and the creative director Greg Monfries. Before taking the role as Essence EIC in March 2011, White served as the founder of Talk magazine, a style reporter for The New York Times, the executive fashion editor for Elle magazine and an associate editor for Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine.

What could cause such a talented African-American woman who brought so much confidence and diversity to the African-American culture to leave such an inspiring position? According to Peter Kafka of All Things D, Time Inc., the mag’s publisher, is cutting about 500 jobs as the fourth quarter revenue was down seven percent. We’re not sure if this has anything to do with the Essence layoffs, but if so, it explains a lot.

Though we will miss White, Corbett and Monfries, spokeswoman Dana Baxter confirmed to Journal-isms that Vanessa Bush would step in to take White’s place as managing editor. We could only hope that she will continue the magazine’s layout that inspires women of dark skin, light skin, natural puffs, hair weaves, curvy and stick skinny to remain confident and beautiful.

  • Misshightower

    How many of us subscribed?

  • Leslie

    I subscribe to Essence, this is very sad news. I always knew when it was sold to Time Warner it would be only a matter of time before things such as this would happen. Sad truth of being part of a conglomerate.

  • Blvdjewel

    Or, how many of us “unsubscribed”? Essence lost its pulse when Angela Burt Murray was still there. After Constance took over, the need to have to login via Facebook to comment on online articles was the last straw for me. Also, there are other online publications that are stiff competition for the brand.

  • Kacey

    Yeah, Essence (like most other publications) has been on a decline for the last decade or so.

    Since Time took over there was a noticeable change in content and it just seemed to be moving in a direction that the readership didn’t like. However, three things really sealed their fate (1) Susan L. Taylor left; (2) they put Reggie Bush on the cover and (3) they hired a white fashion editor. Lots of people have been done with Essence since then.

    If this magazine were to go out of print it won’t be missed by me because I think it stopped genuinely catering to the interests of black women a long time ago.

  • Val

    Why is this sad? What’s really sad is that Time, Inc. still owns Essence.

  • Deidra

    Essence has been on the decline for a while. It seems to be shifting towards a black version of Cosmopolitan–too much fluff and filler. I figured something was amidst when I saw there was no proper news link on the website. It’s a shame really–I wish there was a greater variety of magazines that cater to women of color.

  • GeekMommaRants

    To Essence I say bye! Clutch is my new home!

  • Child, Please

    As someone who grew upon Essence, I hate to see the continuing cloud of bad news covering it. I do miss Susan Taylor (those were Essence’s best years) and I think she got out because she knew the inevitable fate of the magazine. I wonder how she feels about the changes today and if she wishes she had stayed and fought to prevent it from at lease getting this bad and especially losing readership.

  • WaterLove

    I’ve had an Essence subscription for over a decade, basically since a young adult. I agree with the other commenters that the magazine has changed, but I still enjoy their Beauty&Hair, Features, and Wealth&Money sections. An added plus is that iPad users get the magazine downloaded for free as part of the subscription. I am no longer into print, so that keeps me reading.

  • Kimberley

    I haven’t had an Essence subscription since 2001. My mom has maintained her subscription and I read them in bulk when I visit for the weekend.

  • Kimberley

    I thought Essence was boring during Angela Burt Murray’s time as EIC. I saw some improvement with Constance White but that FB login annoyed me so I rarely visited their website.

  • Kimberley

    There has to be more to the story. Constance White didn’t even last a full two years as Editor-in-Chief.

  • Misty

    Essence was relevant to thinking women back in the 70s and early 80s. Honestly they won’t stop sending it to my household for free, even after emails and calls to report the error, so that is how I “read” it now. But growing up with my auntie”s copies in the 70s, I truly got an education in black womanhood—history, culture, global African women’s experiences, politics, literature…

    I was introduced to women like Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Barbara Jordan, Winnie Mandela, Shirley Chisolm, Dr. Johnetta Cole, Maya Angelou…and many of these women graced the covers, unlike today where Jill, Mary J., and a few others rotate.

    It’s been as fluffy and irrelevant as can be and with the quick turnover of editorship over the years I imagine a lot of messiness exists in the corporate structure.

    It’s for black male-identified women (that Reggie Bush cover you mention Kacey) and girls, and I guess the remembrance of what it once represented to me makes it so insignificant now.

  • Mikela123

    I also came of age in the nineties when Essence was at reaching its peak under Susan L. Taylor. She came to my college and spoke – made me so proud to be Black woman.

    It really hurts to see how Essence has went downhill since then. I agree with Kacy regarding the Reggie Bush cover debacle. It really really was one of the turning points highlighting the editorial staff’s disconnect from African American women. That and articles encouraging Black women to go to strip clubs to “broaden their horizons” and meet Black men. Article after article on “what’s wrong with Black women” and what we need to do to attract Black men, or “don’t worry – Black men still love you Black women!” Harping on negativities and for once making me feel bad about a Black woman.

    These day I rather read Allure and Marie Claire hoping they include Black models once in awhile rather than Essence.

  • Chillyroad

    So your readership has gone from the pan into the fire? You’d rather take scraps from white folks than read a magazine that features many more black models black artist writers photographers musicians etc.

    Black women really like to cut their nose to spite their face.

  • Marketing Gimmicks

    Essence needs a fresh makeover, relatable content, and they need to strategically create community. They’ve had a household brand for decades and they squandered it by not capitalizing on community. But they stay trying to jam Essence Music Festival Tickets down your throat at a time when people are feeling very insecure about their finances and this country’s overall direction.

    With that being said it’s is also a sign of the times for print. No one desires to pay for print publishing anymore and black folks are running out of celebs to recycle. Hell even the regurgitated Mary J Blige Covers have thankfully come to an end. Uncle LL is currently on the cover. He’s a nice guy but what an overall whack move.

    When I saw Nene Leakes on the cover of Ebony I knew the Black Publishing world was pressed and running out of PR gimmicks to sell.

  • Deb

    I was actually going to post a comment asking what Essence used to be like in it’s prime. I hear nonstop about how much it’s gone downhill but I don’t hear details about what it used to be like.

    Wow, it sounded like it was truly an amazing publication.

  • Robbie

    I am surprise to hear this but the way that essence is going is unfortunaley allienating it to many of its readers. I stopped buying it a long time ago, because it no longer speaks to me. I still wish the magazine all the best and hopefully, they can bring in the right team to help the struggling publication.

  • Misty

    You got it! There are other options.

  • Misty

    Oops, I meant—-You got it! (Being sarcastic). We have more options than a magazine that doesn’t speak to us, even if it features blacks. I consider Essence “scraps” when it takes for granted my loyalty just because I am a black woman. Clutch, for one, speaks more to me than Essence does. And that is one of the other options that I speak of.

  • Chillyroad

    Yes. Those other options include those publications where we can hope wish and pray they got a black woman selling Pine Sol. We have indeed made it to the promised land.

  • Chillyroad


    Thanks for the clarification. I like Clutch sometimes just for the idiotic comments from the peanut gallery. But I’m not going to read those other mags hoping they include a black model like Mikela foolishly suggested.

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