Essence magazine hires White Fashion Director is this a problem?

“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

Angela Burt-Murray told Media Ink: “I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience. However, I selected [Placas], who has 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. We remain committed to celebrating the unique beauty and style of African-American women in Essence magazine and online at”

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  • Kelly  On July 27, 2010 at 6:39 am

    They can take their racism back to Africa, for all I care. Whiners and wieners, the whole lot.

    • chris griffin  On July 28, 2010 at 1:58 am

      Why must white people always, tell black people to go back africa? We were here before you assholes, so go read a book or two, I recommend THEY CAME BEFORE COLUMBUS. Your racism is the real racism that kind whic creates caste system and tries to stifle progress. People like you like to down play your blatant racism with empty rheotric of reverse racism,but you do not fool me, after it is just simply smoke-screen deploy by whites to continue their ignore real disparities produce by their politics,systemic racism and tribalism.

      • Kelly  On July 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm

        Because, Chris – Many of you talk about Africa as some mystical paradise in which you were snatched. (You were sold by you brethren – maybe you should pick up some books. And the Kennewick Tribe were here before the Indians wiped them out.)

        You are not Americans (by choice) but are African-Americans, who live in enclaves and complain as soon as someone of another race complains – sure, I may be a cultural bigot, because I live in one that works, but no, you can’t get away with throwing the “race card” out there any more – that train left, buddy.

        Thanks for proving my point about whiners and wieners, Chris.

      • Michel IX  On July 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm

        Who cares what whites say or think? Black People need only keep in mind that whites are most likely to be about their own interests. This is logical. We likewise should be about ours. Africa is our future! Anyplace of the whites is a hell hole prison to us. Nationalism and separatism is our goal.

  • elogam  On July 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    If Essence was privately owned they could set whatever “informal” standards they wanted, i.e. hire only people of color for positions of authority and power. Now they are owned by a publicly-held company and are expected to hire the “best qualified” applicant without consideration of race. She should not be judged by the color of her skin but by the content of her (fashion sense). As far as whether or not this new person will “know black women”, well she better. If that’s your audience and you do not know your audience, you will join the 12%-20% of unemployed individuals we have in this country today.

    • lavendertimes  On July 29, 2010 at 11:12 pm

      “well she better know black people” and their fashion sense? that sentence alone makes the point that there were qualified others but this woman is a former Oprah employee and we can only guess what her extra edge was over qualified black women. and for the record hundreds of black women can write books about the large number of unqualified white women we have worked with and trained for positions we were more qualified for than they. THATS why we object strongly. Affirmative action still helping white women. I was a reader since 1977 i left with susan taylor.

    • Kelly  On July 30, 2010 at 3:57 am

      “Whitey, Chris?” I bet you think great men like MLK are “oreos” who left the ‘hood. Grow up I got a little jumpy, but felt bad about it and expressed so, but if you can’t, you have no place with me.

      BTW, I have issues with servitude – my people were indentured.

  • musesofamom  On July 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    kelly. i post your comments even when I disagree with them because you keep them respectful, but this most of us live in enclaves business is baloney. I am not a whiner but there is real racism in this country contrary to the new populism. I don’t throw the term around loosely, but when I see it I call it and you call that whining so be it, but I call it the truth.

    • Kelly  On July 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm

      I’m suppose I’m posting from a Canadian viewpoint – we’re nothing but enclaves in the big cities. (And the Human Rights Tribunals breed resentment.) But thank you. I was a little knee-jerk there, and I upset Chris. I’m not well-worded like you and Elogram. I’ll try to be a little more circumspect in my wording.

  • AMNAU EELE  On July 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    In 2009 Michelle Obama was not obligated to wear clothes designed by a black designer.
    In 2010 Essence magazine is not obligated to hire a black fashion editor.
    Why so much anger black women?
    you have no problem gluing the white woman’s hair to your scalp, so why do you have a problem with her being your fashion editor?
    Essence picked the best woman for the job and that woman is a white woman.
    So why the anger, when the mother of your first black president is white?
    The logical next step for Essence magazine is to feature President Obama’s white mother on the cover of Essence magazine for mother’s day 2011.
    Amnau Eele
    Black Artists Association

    • lavendertimes  On July 29, 2010 at 11:15 pm

      that is just a mean and untrue generalization

  • Michel IX  On July 29, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Essence is white owned, need anything be said further. This is the mode and model of all Black endeavors. When we own it, we get to control it. When the whites own it, THEY get to control it.

  • Tahsha Brown  On July 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Well since Blacks women are all in an uproar simply stop subscribing and go your own way.





  • Peter Jay  On August 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Hi from Australia – wondering what all the issue is about? Its the 21st century – skin colour, sexuality or religion should not come into it? How about the best qualified person got the job. Thats true equality and isnt thats what you are all after?


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