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Former Essence Magazine Editor Was Fired Over Clashes About Portrayal of Black Women



AFRICANGLOBE – Many were shocked when news hit that Essence editor-in-chief Constance White was leaving her post at the helm of the magazine after less than two years in the position. It was widely reported that White’s departure was of her own volition, but a new interview with Richard Prince’s Journal-isms reveals that she was fired.

In her own words, White explains that her termination was the [result] of several disagreements with Time Inc. Editor-in-Chief Martha Nelson about how Black women should be represented by the monthly.

She told Journal-isms: “Essence, the nation’s leading magazine for Black women, was originally Black-owned but has not fared well under Time Inc. ownership, White maintained. “Nelson vetoed such pieces as a look at African-American art and culture, and ‘I was not able to make the creative hires that needed to be made.’’

‘Disposable’ Editors?

She elaborated by email, “When was the last time you saw Essence in the community advocating for or talking with Black women? […] No more T-shirts with a male employee’s face on it being distributed at the [Essence] Festival.”

[…] “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. “It became an untenable situation.”

“This is a magazine where the central DNA was laid down by Gordon Parks,” she said, referring to the famed African-American photographer who helped found Essence and was its editorial director from 1970 to 1973. White intimated that her efforts to maintain Parks’ standards had been rebuffed.

“How is it that from 2000, when Susan [L. Taylor, longtime editor] left — she was pushed out — we have had about five editors, including two acting editors, yet Essence continues to decline? So where’s the problem? And the editors are the Black women. ‘They are disposable. Let’s keep changing them.’

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New web series, ‘African Time,’ focuses on individual experiences of Africans living in the United States


The lightheartedly named African Time is a lovely new web series produced by the Waave + Dada artist collective.

Each short episode consists of a different individual discussing their individual experiences as Africans living in the United States.  There are no frills to speak of, with subjects speaking directly to the camera, usually in front of a black backdrop.  Yet, many of the characters and their anecdotes are captivating enough where it doesn’t seem to matter how bare bones the whole production is.  This is especially true for the episode (video above) entitled “Smiles and Popcorn,” in which the mother of one of the series’ creators, Mawuena Akyea, discusses her confusion with what she calls the ‘cut-and-paste smile’ of white America and the absurdity of the buckets of popcorn (and refills) available at American movie theaters.  More than anything else, Mrs. Akyea provides viewers with a unique and subtly biting analysis of some of the nuances of American culture.

Not all episodes hit the spot like the one with Akyea’s mom as well as that the middle aged immigrant from Sierra Leone talking about parenting. However, every episode offers insights into American culture that only outsiders and new Americans could provide.  And that’s the thing about the African Time web series: even though the intention may be to provide a glimpse into the lives of Africans in the US, it ultimately reveals more about American society, with all of its problems and idiosyncrasies.

Article Source: Africa is a Country

Watch Episodes below;