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Essence Magazine Near Folding?+Chris Brown's Outtakes+More

Is Essence magazine near folding?  That's what word around the magazine world is right now.  A press release went out today announcing the retirement of Beauty and Cover Director Mikki Taylor who's been at Essence for 30 years.  We also found out that a major assistant as well the entire fashion team was AWOL today.  And after a huge amount of layoffs last November, 6 more people "left" just last week.  One was major Beauty editor Pamela Edwards Christiani--who is now over at People mag. And we're not going to even go in about the stock photo (instead of an actual photoshoot) the mag decided to use of Reggie Bush for their February cover. Print everywhere is suffering, but is one of the only journalistic print mags for young black fashion and beauty savvy women about to be a goner? Hmmm. More ish when you read the rest....

The first stills of Forest Whitaker in the new "Criminal Minds" spinoff are out.  And he's of course the star.   This is one of my fave shows so I'm excited.  Forest said he'll change from doing 2 movies a year to 1--so he can keep up with his new tv schedule.

Here's some outtakes from Chris Brown's VIBE cover photoshoot from January:

Check out all the outtakes here.

Rihanna just copped her her sixth #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Rude Boy.". The single is the first from her "Rated R" album to hit the top. Congrats.

And here's Zoe Saldana's new feature in Vogue.  Click the thumbnail and check it.



I used to LIVE for Essence &

I used to LIVE for Essence & read it cover to cover. I was through when Finesse wrote a column entitled something like "what black women can learn from white women about how to please black men." As for covers, who can forget when Essence featured Diddy & Kim Porter on a black love issue? Angela Burt-Murray is a joke. Her columns are empty and shallow. Her focus is on glitz and not substance. What a sad tribute to Susan Taylor & the legacy she left.
Disillusioned Former Subscriber's picture

Oh, and I HATED that pic of

Oh, and I HATED that pic of Zoe too when I first saw it. I thought WTH?! We all have bad ones though. God knows I've had my share of cringe-worthy ones (though not usually my fault, I still shoulder some of the responsibility as a staff member).
Dark skinned cutie's picture

One more thing--As consumers,

One more thing--As consumers, you probably don't care, but many fabulous images you see on covers are not original photoshoots. We shoot as often as we can, but it can be REALLY expensive and not always worth the effort. Why shoot when you can purchase great existing art? One of our most popular covers was pick- up art from a regional magazine that majority of you have never even heard of. We purchased the outtakes from that shoot and got rave reviews. don't get me wrong, shooting is great, but if you knew everything that went into it, it's not always an option.
Dark skinned cutie's picture

And forgive my typos ya'll.

And forgive my typos ya'll. It's late and I didn't proof it ;-)
Dark skinned cutie's picture

Listen to @Dionne people. It

Listen to @Dionne people. It is HIGHLY unlikely that Essence is going anywhere, anytime soon. I also work in the magazine industry and find it curious to read all of the complaints about cover choices, stock images, etc. But when we do "fresh," "new" and "different" you all don't purchase the books. I will differ with Dionne on what keeps magazines aflot, however. While it is true that advertisers keep a book afloat, advertisers also base their print buys on circulation, i.e. your number of verifible readers, so subscriptions and newsstand sales being down does matter. Further more, if @Dionne really works at Time, she knows as well as I do how Essence has been able to keep their ad pages up recently, and it is NOT because advertisers just wanted to reach black women. Hell, your comments here prove that (Essence has fallen off so I read Lucky, Marie Claire, etc. Why would they buy in Essence if they can reach you AND whote women in one book?) That aside, be careful people about knocking the print entities we do have--when they are gone, who will properly and fairly represent us? There are black publications out there, look for them at your local stores or subscribe. We ALL need your support. and if you don't liek what you're seeing, then tell us, don't just stop buying. That, unfortunately, is how we lose control of our images and have no say in the face that is put forward of us to the world. Black Mags ---------- Essence Sister 2 Sister Ebony Jet Upscale Black Enterprise On the Green Savoy (now being published by and Atlanta based group) Honey (online only) Vibe (largely online; think print went to 6 issues) Heart & Soul American Legacy (looking for MEAT? Get it here and learn something about who we are and where we come from). On the Green Today's Black Woman African-American Lifestyles
Dark skinned cutie's picture

It has to do with more than

It has to do with more than reggie bush. essence has been out of touch for years, it became elitist and narrow, they need bold, sexy fresh blood to get back on track.
Youwishyouknew's picture

pick up a copy of heart &

pick up a copy of heart & soul. it's STILL a magazine that uplifts black women!
ann's picture

Go riri...love u still

Go riri...love u still breezy....
JamaicaHot's picture

Essence was once a phenomenal

Essence was once a phenomenal publication - the content was of high quality, with empowerment being the central theme. The content challenged Black women to dig deep and achieve their dreams, and goals. The mag is now just superficial fluff encouraging irresponsible mindless consumerism and celebrity worship. Essence was actually created by two black men as a gift to black women - they pushed one of the founders out who did not agree with giving AOL Time Warner majority ownership - shameful, pitiful. I stopped being a fan years ago.
IMHO's picture

what do you guys think of new

what do you guys think of new magazine "Juicy" its out in may and its a gossip mag, like "People" for Black Women I'm excited
lisa's picture

Essence is old fashioned and

Essence is old fashioned and has played itself out. It doesn't really speak to the issues of today's educated Black Woman. Now people are finding their sources of information from various entities and print magazines are occupying a smaller niche. All magazines and newspapers are suffering economically but when the economy improves newer versions of Essence for today's BW will appear. Just not Essence. Ebony is also having a rough time of it.
Kasee's picture

Love Criminal Minds.....can't

Love Criminal Minds.....can't wait for the spin off!
PammieGirl's picture

I have been sorely

I have been sorely disappointed with Essence since it was bought. I stopped my subscription but I have read the recent one. It's turned somewhat into a gossip mag....I.E. Shaunie O'Neal's article was all about Shaq dirt and not her new show. I can't even depend on them for my usual things like book titles (missing this month) and good recipes....Sunny is ok with the Easter dinner but normally it's garbage. Sad to see it go out like this.
PammieGirl's picture

As someone who works in the

As someone who works in the magazine industry and has worked for the company that owns Essence, I have two words - girl please. Essence had layoffs as did almost all of Time Inc. magazines, it's the nature of the business. People leave magazines all the time, they get fired, move on, or stay, it's the nature of the beast. I want everyone to flip through Essence, if they have a mag, right now. Is there a lack of ads, no, this is what keeps magazines affloat. Go to the revived website, is it viable, are there ads, yes, again this is what keeps mags affloat. Subscriptions have little to do with magazines staying above ground. While Mikki Taylor leaving is a big shock to me, because she's an icon, people go on to bigger and better things. Fashion teams come and go, for instance the current fashion team isn't the same one that was there five years ago and really not even one year ago. Because key people leave does not mean the end of a book, it means that new people come in and things change. This is not new to Essence this is ALL mags. All mags go through layoffs, key people come in, key people leave. Corynne Corbett, who is a mag star in her own right, is coming in to replace Mikki Taylor for now. GOOGLE HER. She was once an editor for Heart and Soul, which folded and came back and has an awesome site, That Black Girls Blog. It's cyclical and it's life.
Dionne's picture

I am not surprised to hear

I am not surprised to hear that about Essence, I kept up my subscription out of support but after the Reggie Bush incident, I decided not to renew my subscription. For the past few years, they have recycled the same celebrities for the covers i.e. Gabrielle Union, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce with basically no new content. I was disappointed in their decision to have Mikki Taylor on Charm School as well as their coverage of the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Juanita Bynum drama. They seem to have forgotten their goal of uplifting and empowering Black women and tried to emulate white magazines with no success.
jbeezy's picture

Essence is needed and it

Essence is needed and it would be sad to see it go but they are ALL OVER THE PLACE! There is an article about saving money to buy a house right next to pictures of $1,000 shoes. WTH? And don't get me started on the relationship advice. One minute it's all about finding a man and the next they are saying you don't need one. What about those of us who are married or divorced? Everyone is not 25 trying to find a ball player. Then Beyonce, Halle, Jada and Mary on the cover every other month? They need a new editor and fast. It has fallen off big time since Susan TayloR left
Gina's picture

Essence was became very

Essence was became very obvious in many of their attempts at social manipulation of BW. Especially the way they pushed IR ad nauseam became redundant...
MistaO's picture

Freakin love Criminal Minds.

Freakin love Criminal Minds. You can't tell me I'm not a profiler now lol. I will be watching Minds 2.0. Or will I? Don't know yet lol. Thought Shemar was gonna be in the spin-off.
Sha from Da Brook's picture

I was officially done with

I was officially done with Essence after they put Reggie Bush on the cover.
Erica (original)'s picture

I think woman of color are

I think woman of color are responsible for keeping Essence alive. This is the only magazine that uplifts woman whether you like it or not. It's Historical and no other magazine does what it does. I take pride in being a woman of color and some other magazines promote our sexuality before the complete woman.
Darlene's picture

I used to love love love

I used to love love love essence. I would be excited to spend my Saturday afternoons in Barnes and Noble buying Essence & Black Enterprise as well as Lucky Mag and Vogue or Glamour. But recent years I found myself only buying essence for "support". I have not liked the direction they were going ever since Time Warner took it over. (Its the same thing as Viacom taking over BET) I really dont have a problem with Reggie Bush being IN the magazine, but to put an OLD pic of him FROM ANOTHER PUBLICATION on the cover of the February Valentines issue with the words "Black Men. Black Love and Relationships" was a HUGE slap in the face, because I PERSONALLY know that he does not want anything to do with a Black woman unless its his mother. (and I'm sure that's minimal) I immediately said, NEVER again would I purchase the magazine. P.S. >>> Essence knew they were wrong for putting Reggie on the cover, because they tried to rebound by putting the Obamas on the March cover to relapse for the loss of sales and backlash....now Zoe Saldana. And we as women cant have a double standard, because she is the same person as Reggie Bush when it comes to relationships. I think that's a dominican thing though.
CaramelKandie's picture


JayRight's picture

Essence really has not been

Essence really has not been the same since they sold it. This is really not a surprise. I think if a magazine is really good, people will buy it. I stopped my subscription about 4 years ago. I really do not buy many magazines other than People, InStyle, and OK.
CaraB's picture

Essence has really lost it

Essence has really lost it edge! I have been a subscriber for years and after several incidents with the magazine and website/email alerts, I sent an email a few months ago, letting them know that I will not be renewing. I want to read Essence for empowerment, not to know what NENE and those other dirty housewives are doing. Essence needs to fire Angela-Burt Murray and bring in a Fresh NEW EIC. Angela had her run, she revamped the magazine, now its time for someone else to take the reigns. They put the same stupid people on the cover and they don't do a good job of diversifying the storys. It's sad that they will go down like this, especially when there are no more black magazines.
Allison C's picture

I pick up an essence mag

I pick up an essence mag every now and then, but I look at the website daily. I love the fashion and hair stuff, especially he street pictures of everyday people. I think their apparent downfall is not really reflective of the economy, we are not stable yet, but we are doing better. Essence has been making poor choices for about 3 years now. You see the same people on the cover at least once a quarter. If I see Will & Jada for Feb. again I will scream, and this is one of the reasons I stopped getting the mag on a regular basis. Also the mag has a nice fashion and beauty spread, but who can really afford the things they say are a must buy. Unless you are single and live with your parents (obviously have no real responsibilities) blowing $800.00 on shoes or a bag is stupid. They are not reaching REAL WOMEN. P.S. I liked the Reggie Bush cover. He may not have been able to make time for the photo shoot because of the NFL season. Everyone was tripping because of Kim, but whatever. If he likes it I love it!
Shamrock's picture

Crazy how I have been

Crazy how I have been complaining about Essence for a while now to family and friends. Since they didn't subscribe they could careless. I am surprised to hear about Susan Taylor leaving but the time has come. Similar to Anna Wintour and Vogue. The content has been less then stellar for some time and Essence seems to be selling other peoples wares. If I see Clown Ass Steve Harvey and his beautiful wife Marjorie (showing of her ring), Mary J Blige or Nia Long on the cover again I will scream. Love the ladies but It seems very staged. The Reggie Bush "incident" was simply an embarrasment and I swear I seen this stock photo of Zoe before as well. I haven't been excited about an essence issue in a long time. Getting married and having money is not the epitome of success. Important yes but def not defining. More articles about life, AA women who are living a great life, people stories...Not how to trick a man into wanting you. I could careless. I am wondering should I keep my subscription? Crazy?!?!?!?
BtchPlze's picture

Damn Chris is looking good. I

Damn Chris is looking good. I just want 2 eat him up. YUMMY!!!!!!!!
TamTam's picture

I have subscribed to Essence

I have subscribed to Essence since I was in junior high school. This would really suck if the mag went under. No one else is really talking about our issue and things I want to read. Love the "Rude Boy" song
Butterflygirl's picture

Rihanna and Chris both look

Rihanna and Chris both look smokin HOT!....Love Rude Boy. Essence....been going down hill since Susan Taylor left.
Team RihRih's picture

Natasha, the word is "savvy"-

Natasha, the word is "savvy"- pet peeve=bad spelling
Aaargh's picture

@natural hair nerd I agree

@natural hair nerd I agree with you. I do too love Essence, but I am not surprised that they are in jeopardy. Many periodicals are in suffering. And we all know when America gets sick, blacks get pnuemonia. Also, their latest issues have not been that thick, which means litte advertisements. No ads, no money. However, I still think that magazine is a good publication. I love Mikki Taylor and although they are repetitive, I do think they are for the black woman. With some fresh ideas, a little reinvention, and support from the black community, I think they would be able to survive. I know many women were upset about the Reggie Bush cover, but one poor choice is no reason to write the publication off.
T's picture

I won't go there with the

I won't go there with the politics. As far as I'm concerned, once you become a politician you are all brown, the color of shit because that is all you know, reek of, and speak about.
Sara's picture

This is a pic from rhiannas

This is a pic from rhiannas album people...you're late.
swaggamcjagga's picture


Ketara Rose's picture

@everyone is entitled to

@everyone is entitled to their own opinion!---Shemar is with the original show. Forest is going to be part of the cast for a spinoff. What you see here may be his being introduced on the original show so people can become familiar with him. Just guessing. Shemar is still there.
Tiye's picture


hahahhahahhaa's picture

So did I miss the memo or

So did I miss the memo or something? What happened to Shemar Moore? Congrats Rihanna! love the pics Chris!!
everyone is entitled to their own opinion!'s picture

No, no, no! I really love

No, no, no! I really love Essence, especially since they finally put up a real website for themselves. I like this month's issue, and I liked Mikki Taylor. And Suede was the ish, right along with the one Vivica A. Fox was putting out, but I can't remember the name... Jewel? They ALL bitin' the dust, but I am very sorry to hear about Essence. There's hardly anything else left if they take that away from us:-/
natural hair nerd's picture

@Mo---you hit the nail on the

@Mo---you hit the nail on the head. I was not happy with Essence Magazine and I for one actually perfer to read Cosmo (smh) I just dont understand why its so hard to give black women a great magazine.
ahsatar's picture

@ I'm Just Sayin - you aint

@ I'm Just Sayin - you aint neva lied! Suede mag was the ish - wish someone would revitalize that mag...their downfall was spending too much $ on parties and not enough on the production...Sigh...
anatomically correct's picture

well i hope they keep the

well i hope they keep the ESSENCE FESTIVAL going. I love going to New Orleans every year for it!!!
cap's picture

Awwww, I'm sad for Essence.

Awwww, I'm sad for Essence. White folks took it ova???? I had no idea. Ok it's the cracka fault. They don't want us to have shit. They are determined to shoot down BO's health care bill. They just don't want him to be the one to get it pass. Mark my words it it doesn't pass the next one in that white house on the hill will put his spin on it and those crackas will pass that bitch!!!Fight the power my people. Stop buying material shit and buy durable goods. Big ups to Christ Brown. Love you. You are a kid who made a mistake and people need to let that shit go already. That is all!!!
sandy's picture

I wish Essence could be

I wish Essence could be saved, but the truth is the quality was just not there anymore. The interviews, the beauty advice, etc. They needed people who actually knew what they were doing and should have targeted a young, recent college grad, as well as older women, recently retired, focuing on beauty, health and financial issues.
zappy's picture

well then... they better send

well then... they better send me my money back..
BigBOOtyGoddess......'s picture

Congratulations Rihanna on

Congratulations Rihanna on your 6th number one hit!!!!!!!!!!! It's well deserved. I LOVE you Rih!
jjj's picture

Sorry to hear about essence,

Sorry to hear about essence, but i swear if you look at the cover stories for the past 5 years, its been all the same. Like someone said when they sold to the white people they lost touch. I remember EARL GRAVES, the publisher of Black Business Enterprise being really pissed off at the Essence executive for sneakingly selling controlling shares to WARNER. He said he and so many other black were wealthy enough to buy the mag but Essence did not even give them a chance. People just 'heard' Essence is sold. Well they got bitten in the butt. Plus I know that there was truly no black magazine really about black women that would EVER put Reggie Bush on the cover. Obviously NO respect for the audience. I cancelled my subscription right away and so did many others. And they did not even Apologize to us for it. Sorry but they are no longer hard hitting or really drilling into the issues of black women. The articles were to wishy washy and began to insult our intelligence. Another thing they were so into Religious crap. It is such a stereotype about black women. They forgot they were also the black Cosmo for black women. They could not find the balance. Sorry about that.
mo's picture

Sad to hear about Essence but

Sad to hear about Essence but not at all shocked. They have been going downhill for awhile. And I lost all respect for them when they became all about the Obamas. Don't get me wrong I like the first family but focusing so much on them showed me that they had nothing else left so they rode the easy horse to sell mags.
Sara's picture

Are we pretending that

Are we pretending that Essence is a quality fashion magazine for young people. I avoid that magazine like the plague. There is nothing current, fresh or new about it and it could not hold a candle to Suede (which unfortunately folded).
I'm Just Saying...'s picture

Not surprised about essence

Not surprised about essence just have to wait and see what happens.
Zoe Saldana's picture

I was just talking about this

I was just talking about this on my web site about magazine and print. thanks to like Project Duh, TheYBF and others we can just come online- quick, easy and convenient.
Drew-Shane's picture

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