After months of speculation, Essence Magazine has officially announced an Editor-in-Chief: Vanessa K. Bush. The award-winning journalist, editor and author joined Essence over ten years ago as the Beauty and Fashion Features Editor and climbed the ranks to Lifestyle Editor in 2003 and Executive Editor in 2005.
She recently served as the acting Editor-in-Chief, during which time she introduced Essence’s #HeIsNotASuspect social media campaign to combat racial profiling and spearheaded the “Guns Down” initiative to fight gun violence as well as “Where Smart Starts,” their education program. In addition to her work at Essence, Vanessa has experience at Life and Glamour Magazines and she co-authored “Tyra’s Beauty Inside & Out” with beauty icon Tyra Banks.
Martha Nelson had this to say about Vanessa’s new role: “Vanessa’s more than 10 years of experience as an editorial leader at ESSENCE will ensure continued success for the preeminent African-American women’s media brand. She has the full support of Time Inc. to execute on her vision to honor this loyal and cherished audience.”
In an article called “My Promise To You,” on Essence.com, Vanessa writes:
The ESSENCE mission of empowerment has never been clearer–we must continue to counter the stereotypes that pigeonhole us in ways that stunt our success. We must celebrate our achievements, offer wise counsel in ways that bring meaning and peace to our lives, and provide a forum for critical conversations to take place, the kind of conversations that will help push our community forward.
It is my sincere hope that you will always see ESSENCE as a source of hope and inspiration. We will continue to build on our history of raising community awareness, and we take pride in our place as a trusted authority and source of journalistic excellence.
So as we look ahead with a new direction full of promise and joy, I make this promise to you: ESSENCE will always be the place where Black women come first. There’s nothing I’m more passionate about than bringing you the best, because you deserve nothing less.
Vanessa also invites readers to join her for a Google hangout next Friday, August 9th at 12 noon ET where she’ll take questions and advice about how Essence can better serve its readers.
Her commitment to serving black women and passion for our communities may be exactly what Essence needs to be restored to its former glory.