Essence was cool when my mom read it when I was a little girl. I used to flip through the pages looking at every single girl with awe and adoration. But as I got older, I felt like the publication was geared to 40 year old women who were living in their own false sense of sophistication. But still, I kept in touch with publication. As I interned at Michael Kors, I was so excited each time I sent out an outfit to Essence (like 'yeah, finally!'), considering they refused to send any clothing to 'Trace" magazine saying that they had to properly target their audience. Ugh, the complete disgust I have felt towards this industry. And the way people can really come out of their mouths and be OK with their statements.
I've been selling clothes in boutiques since I was old enough to work. Typically I was the only black girl selling to primarily Jewish women, and I must note that I have always been a top seller. Why? Because Black women just have an unparalleled style. But as you move up in ranks you see less and less brown faces and you have to take a second to pause. Black women have always articulated style and beauty but take a trip to NY and tour publications and fashion houses and you will be in complete shock.
Coming up in this industry I had such an urge to develop my own publication because this industry has failed the beauty and talents of women of color (black and otherwise). And as I held onto Essence as a backbone of black lifestyle and fashion publications, my idea of a successful black fashion magazine was paralyzed with it's decision to hire a white woman as its Fashion Director. Hello Essence, you are the only place that would actually hire us to work! (Did you not realize?) It is not about whether or not the woman was qualified to handle the position, I am very sure that she is. But, I am also sure that there were many Black women who were just as qualified. Its such a shame that we always feel that we have to sell out in order to move forward and keep a business thriving. And this is not an attack against the woman who is hired, this is just a statement of shock and an illustration of this industry. It's...well... disgusting and most importantly... it has become sooo boring!!
.... Time for a change and the change is in the works!