Essence Magazine Takes Heat over Hiring White Editor

Angela Burt-Murray

Uh oh Essence! You done did it now.  Obviously, black women have been patronizing Essence magazine because it was the black women’s magazine.  Now you’ve gone and got yourself a white woman to sit at the helm of the fashion pages and tell a black woman what’s right for her image? Her fierceness?  Her swag?  The move to hire a white woman in the top spot was not celebrated and has ruffled the feathers of some black women who are incensed by a sort of break in tradition.

The previous editor for fashion was Michaela Angela Davis. (Is there any relation between her and Angela Davis?  There is the paleness of her complexion as one resemblance.)  She wrote a biting little diatribe on the 40-year old magazine’s decision on her Facebook page.  One part of her rant said, “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.”

According to CNN, the white woman in question is Elliana Placas, who Angela Burt-Murray, present Editor of Essence, explained had worked for Essence for six months before being hired on permanently in the position.  She shot back at Davis letting her know that her decision was not made all willy nilly, but with thoughtful consideration of someone who had proven themself to be a great addition to the Essence team.  Read her side of the story here.

Now, Michaela is simply expressing her point-of-view on the sitch-ee-ayshun!  But, do you feel she has a point?  I have to admit, there are some valid points in some of the controversial words that have been expressed.  But is it time for us to racially “grow up?” Or is she right to try and hold some things sacred?  Read the full story here before you make your comment.

-J.C. Brooks

6 thoughts on “Essence Magazine Takes Heat over Hiring White Editor”

  1. They have a right to hire whoever is best for the job. As Blacks we want people to hire us not based on the color of our skin, we should want the same for others.

  2. 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

  3. Only a sister can create the “essence” of a Black woman because she has lived as a black women; experiencing the Black woman’s story….be it her pain, the racism, the attitude, her allure, the beautiful queens that we are!

  4. I am not trying to sound racist here- but I am sure a lot of black women took solace in reading this magazine because it represented them and they could relate. With the addition of this new person, especially since she is not of African origins, this may not carry over well with their vast readers. If someone is qualified for a job he or she should be given the opportunity to use said skills and be marketable – but what’s so disconcerting is the fact that thru the hiring phase NOT ONE person of color was qualified to run this magazine? This is truly unsettling and a slap in the face of the readers of this publication. I don’t read the magazine – but I felt I needed to voice my opinion on this matter whether relevant or not! With the sales of magazine at an all time low (really brisk sales) one would think they [Essence] would do what they needed to do to increase circulation/subscribers, yet this is totally not the answer. Someone in upper management is going to get the boot… mark my words! LOL!!!

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