“Michaela Angela Davis, former Editor-in-Chief of Honey Magazine and former fashion editor of Essence, said via Facebook “It’s with a heavy heart I’ve learned Essence Magazine has engaged a white Fashion Director. I love Essence and I love fashion. I hate this news and this feeling. It hurts, literally. The fashion industry has historically been so hostile to black people–especially women. The 1 seat reserved for black women once held by Susan Taylor, Ionia Dunn-Lee, Harriette Cole(+ me) is now-I can’t. It’s a dark day for me. How do you feel?” Essence magazine has been the go to magazine for black women for 40 years. We took pride in the fact that it was FUBU (For Us and By Us), but when Time Warner bought the magazine a few years ago we knew the atmosphere would change and it did. So before someone says oh this is reverse racism please don’t. How many fashion magazines feature women of color in a prominent way? Not many. Essence is one of the few. Ebony also does but it is on its last leg. Recently Vanity Fair did an issue devoted to new Hollywood starlets and they were criticized because they did not include women of color. Why should they? They do articles that appeal to their base. They know their audience. So will this new white fashion director know the black woman? Is this the first step toward taking the emphasis off the black woman and making it have more mass appeal? Time will tell.
UPDATE- July 28, 2010
From Essence Magazine Editor-in-chief