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  • Susan L. Taylor (pictured), the former editor-in-chief of Essence, was the first African-American woman to receive the Magazine Publishers of America's prestigious Henry Johnson Fisher Award?

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Essence is the a monthly magazine for African-American women between the ages of 18 and 49. The magazine covers fashion, lifestyle and beauty with an intimate girlfriend-to-girlfriend tone. Its editor is Angela Burt-Murray.



The magazine was founded in 1968 by Edward Lewis, Clarence O. Smith, Cecil Hollingsworth, Jonathan Blount, and Denise M. Clark. Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) began publishing in May 1970. Its circulation began at approximately 50,000 copies per month, subsequently growing to roughly 1.1 million. Gordon Parks served as its editorial director during the first three years of its circulation.

In 2000, Time Inc. purchased 49 percent of the magazine, buying the remaining 51 percent in a deal reported to be worth $170 million in US dollars. In 2008, Essence won 12 New York Association of Black Journalists awards in the Investigative, General Feature, International, Business/Technology, Science/Health, Arts and Entertainment, Personal Commentary, Public Affairs and Online categories.


There are sections such as Work and Wealth, Healthy Living, and Looks We Love that cover topics that focus on career, finance, health, lifestyle, fashion, and beauty which share an intimate connection with readers.


  • Rate Base 1,050,000
  • Subscriptions 78%
  • Single-Copy Sales 22%

Essence Music Festival

The Essence Music Festival is the nation’s largest annual gathering of African-American musical talent. The festival is a three day event, which has cultural celebrations and empowerment seminars with nights of musical performances. The festival is held every Fourth of July weekend, and has featured some of the biggest names in entertainment including Prince, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Lionel Richie, Chris Brown and others. The festival brings more than 200,000 attendees to New Orleans.

In 2007, presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made special appearances at the Music Festival. In 2008, after partnering with Essence to develop and tape a cobranded special presentation Black in America: Reclaiming the Dream, CNN reported live on-site throughout the Music Festival weekend.



Black Women In Hollywood

Essence Magazine holds an award ceremony annually to honor black women who have achieved success in Hollywood.

Essence Literary Awards

Essence magazine hosted the first-annual Essence Literary Awards in New York City on 7 February 2008. The awards were created to celebrate both emerging and established African-American authors in nine categories: Fiction, Memoir, Inspiration, Non-fiction, Current Affairs, Photography, Children’s Books, Poetry and Storyteller of the Year.


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