Essence, Inc. has officially ventured off from TIME Inc. and has been acquired by the founder of Shea Moisture, Richelieu Dennis, making the publication company 100% black-owned. Making it the first time in almost two decades, the announcement was made via Essence Ventures, a company launched last year by Dennis who sealed the deal last Wednesday.
“[W]e are excited to be able to return this culturally relevant and historically significant platform to ownership by the people and the consumers whom it serves, and offer new opportunities for the women leading the business to also be partners in the business,” said Richelieu Dennis.
Created in 1970, Essence is a magazine that dedicates itself solely to African American women. The company sold 49 percent of its shares to TIME, Inc. in 2000 while the remaining 51 percent was sold to the media company in 2005.
“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,” said ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks. “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.”