Essence Communications Inc., the media company founded 50 years ago by Edward Lewis, Clarence O. Smith, Cecil Hollingsworth and Jonathan Blount, made waves within the magazine industry with its trailblazing ESSENCE magazine property in 1970. After ECI was acquired by Time Inc., a new group has reacquired the company and brand, making it fully Black-owned and woman-led going into the new year.
Essence Ventures LLC announced today (Jan. 3) the acquisition of ECI. ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks remains in her role and will now be on the board of directors. Adding to the coup, the entire ESSENCE executive team will be all-Black and all women.
“This acquisition of ESSENCE represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,” Ebanks wrote in the group’s press release. “In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”
ESSENCE will reestablish the brand and expand its reach in the fast-moving digital marketplace, with a focus on the magazine, online properties, and other ventures in development. ESSENCE remains committed to informing and empowering women as it has done for nearly 48 years.