WATCH | Anderson Cooper Discuss Essence Decision To Hire White Editor

Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray told Media Ink she’s aware of the controversy now playing out on Facebook after the magazine named Ellianna Placas, who has worked at O: The Oprah Magazine and US Weekly, as its fashion director but said she’s not changing course.

Michaela Angela Davis, who was also founding fashion director for Vibe magazine and a onetime editor-in-chief of the print-version of black fashion magazine Honey, started the cyber controversy yesterday with a Facebook posting that has attracted dozens of comments.

I find this comment particularly interesting and truthful especially among my own group of black folks…..who by the way respond to very little in terms of commenting be it good, bad, ugly or whatever. Zinch…..nada, crickets…Not one single WORD was uttered! What is particularly disturbing is when it is time to support our black publications, artist, photographers, musicians, educators and one another within our own communities…the same silence occurs. Therefore leaving the individual to embark on a different path and restructure their goals to meet the objectives of their endeavors. I would not give a hoot if you cursed at the top of your lungs when commenting on a post on my blog, if your going to use my photography services at least don’t low ball me but give a donation…something? Speak up and support folks from a place that reflects your interest in growth, empowerment, enrichment and diversity. Live it as well….sometimes an individual will have to be an lone ranger when seeking change and it appears that folks are going to watch Angela Burt-Murray saddle up Essence magazine with an white editor as they take the magazine to the next level with or without you! What is sad is when real issues are brought up that face black America folks fall silent and want to ignore the conversation entirely. Hiring a white women who is clearly experience is not an issue to me…it shows me a company that is willing to practice diversity. I am sure Essence can not survive simply on being an all black only publication with an all black staff? There is a world full of women who would embrace that magazine if it reflected a global society.
Case and point.: When I am finished reading my monthly Essence magazines I give them away to non black folks  regardless of their skin color…it never occurred to me that they would not be interest in the black publication. What is really interesting about this conversation is we never heard backlash about Oprah hiring white editors and producers, she is clearly a black women. Ms. O knew out the gate that she wanted the direction of the show and the magazine to appeal to a wider diverse audience. Now why can’t Essence do the same?
But interestingly enough, the things I think should most upset people and inspire boycotts and Facebook protests, often seem to go relatively unnoticed. Like when Essence conducted a three-part education series this year on the plight of black children falling through the cracks in under-performing schools. Crickets. When we reported on the increase in sex trafficking of young black girls in urban communities? Silence. When our writers investigated the inequities in the health care services black women receive? Deadly silence. When our editors highlighted data from the Closing the Gap Initiative report “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America’s Future” that showed that the median net worth of single black women was $5? There went those darn crickets again. When we run pieces on how unemployment is devastating black men? Nada. When we run story after story on how HIV is the leading cause of death for black women age 18-34? Zilch. The things that really are the end of our world apparently aren’t.
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