On the heels of former Essence Magazine editor Constance C.R. White’s admission that she was pushed out of Essence, Edward Lewis, one of the founders of Essence, told Journal-isms on Monday, that he’d do it all over again.  By “it”, I mean selling Essence to Time Inc.


Richard Prince’s Journal-isms:

Edward Lewis, one of the principal founders of Essence magazine, told Journal-isms Monday that he “absolutely” would again sell the publication to Time Inc. regardless of the complaints of fired editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White and readers who support her.

“It’s very difficult for any size magazine to be standing out here alone without some other support elsewhere,” Lewis said by telephone, adding that the magazine business has faced the additional challenges of changing technology and a punishing recession since he sold Essence to Time Inc. in 2005.


In the interview with Journal-isms Lewis denied that Susan L. Taylor was pushed out, an accusation White made. He also cleared up misconceptions about Gordon Parks involvement with Essence.

“Gordon Parks really had nothing to do with it,” Lewis said. Parks at one time unsuccessfully claimed control of the magazine.

Lewis also left White with a few words of advice, “She’s got a wonderful resume and accomplishments. I hope she would continue to stay in the magazine business, and I wish her the best.”

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  • This is why black people don’t have anything; they are always selling their business, property, or ideas to whites (fried chicken, barbecue, peanuts, gas mask, the ice cream scoop, potato chip, ..and so on). The magazine could have been handed down to his family for generations.

    • stef

      as i mentioned in my post the odds of essence going bankrupt and closing were higher then them being able to go it alone.

      this aint got nothing to do with black people but the state of business in America today. the reality that small companies are getting eaten up by the big ones. its happening in every industry.

  • Keshia

    Big ole stupid smile smh

  • butreallytho

    Looks like somebody’s been snacking on “General’s Fried Chicken”.

  • stef

    I understand his comments would it have been better if the magazine just failed, readership of print media is down, digital media is way up, the costs of printing and running a huge magazine are way up. If he would have kept it “black owned” but raised the price we would have complained, if he would have kept it black owned but cut the number of pages we would have complained . otherwise it was a non win situation With computers, smart phones and tablets print media is a dying medium

    • Mademoiselle

      Sorry, but that sounds like a cop out for him not stepping up to the task of difficult work. Digital media shouldn’t have driven him out of the business; it should’ve given him a new platform to do innovative things as a black owner. Also, black people don’t just balk at high prices (I’m hard pressed to find a black person who hasn’t shelled out hundreds of extra dollars on Apple products); they, like everyone else, won’t spend money where equitable value doesn’t exist. If he needed/wanted to raise prices, he should’ve made sure the quality increased to match. If he needed/wanted to cut pages, he should’ve made sure what was left in was the hard hitting pieces. Giving up because he was on the verge of failure just means he was too lazy to figure out how to succeed (or too arrogant/ashamed to ask for help).

  • I am a previous die-hard Essence magazine subscriber; from my teen years in the 70s until the late 90s. I’ve come not to like Edward Lewis, one of the founders & publishers of Essence, due to comments he has made over the years. He made it clear that he was ALWAYS about the MONEY and never concerned himself with the ISSUES of African American women; he left that to people the founders hired like Marcia Ann Gillespie and Susan Taylor, the original Editors-In-Chief. Additionally, he discounted and refused to attend the Million Man March on Washington, a successful brotherhood event, then tried to justify his decision when a huge positive response to the event was given by attendees and the women who supported it. There is no doubt in my mind that he will stand for his decision selling Essence to Time Inc. because he never really cared about Black women in the first place – he ONLY cared about making money.