If this feels like deja vu, you aren’t wrong. Essence readers are once again wondering who will be the new leader of the venerable women’s magazine for the fifth time in the last 13 years.
Back in 2011, Essence tapped former editor Constance C. R. White to shepherd the glossy into a new era, but let her go in February when Time, Inc.–Essence’s parent company–cut back its staff. White says her bosses wouldn’t let her cover the issues that she felt were most important to Black women.
“I had a certain point of view about black women being central to this magazine. The boss didn’t agree with me, and the president didn’t agree with me,” she said, referring to Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc. “It became an untenable situation.”
Since White’s departure last February, Vanessa Bush has served as interim Managing Editor. Under her leadership, Essence has seemed to return to its roots, covering issues central to Black women like its multi-part series on gun violence in our communities, and highlighting the next generation of Black women civil rights leaders.
According to Tanzina Vega of the New York Times, Essence is close to hiring a new editor, but no decision has been made just yet. Many are wondering who the publication’s new leader will be and if she’ll be able to restore the 42-year-old magazine to its former glory while continuing to speak to the issues and concerns of Black women.