Black Magazines, Black Fashion: Burt-Murray Goes White and Vogue Africa is Fiction

Total Fiction: Vogue Africa

Vogue Africa by Mario Epanya

Vogue (Africa) doesn’t exist, but the pictures circulating the web are fascinating, intriguing, and perplexing. The photographer is Mario Epanya. He wanted Vogue (Conde Naste) to have this magazine showcasing Africa.

I’m curious and would like to ask: couldn’t he find investors in oil-rich Nigeria, diamond-rich South Africa, or booming Botswana to help out? I think his idea is outstanding. We can see from the cover and many more on some blogs – he obviously has the models and the talent.

Why must black men always go to white men with a cup in hand begging for something when he already has all the resources he needs to get started?

Vogue Africa Images

Angela Burt-Murray Prefers White

The Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine decided to go interracial, but only for her hiring decision(s). This appears to be the one time she believes in quality and the philosophy of “may the best wo/man win”. She wouldn’t dare encourage black women to seek men (of any race) that’s best for her. She saves the philosophy of seeking quality for herself.

Burt-Murray prefers to suggest black women go to strip clubs to find that purple unicorn “good black man” tucking $1 into LaFlowanda’s g-string. Great idea, Ms Burt-Murray. You gonna keep it real for those young women who are S.O.L. as they face a 2 million black male deficit.

Angela Burt-Murray wrote this stunning, articulate and brilliant essay explaining that the “White editor won’t diminish our love of black women.” The people who run Essence claim they have love for black women.

Oh, yeah! Dis must be love. Is this the kind of love, where your broken bones and black eyes are a result of love taps? That you complain too much, otherwise he wouldn’t have to hit you? You should be grateful he loves you, because no one can love someone such as yourself? Yeah, that kind of love.

She can keep it.

Who Should Replace Her

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t care about the fashion editor hire. I feel her comment about “quality” could apply to the following.

  • Encourage black women to be open to men (any race) who are quality as opposed to any-black-male-with-a-pulse worship. Stop encouraging their involvement with baby daddys, men in relationships, men in jail, ex-cons, men seeking FWB / hookups, and actors who mysteriously cannot find a “date” in Hollyweird.
  • As to her position as Editor-in-Chief, I said it on Huffington.com and I’ll say it here:

Next hire: a white woman to replace Angela Burt-Murray, because that white woman will have the vision and understanding of black women’s issues. Good hire, Time-Warner!

Her replacement can be those white women who sleep with black men featured on the cover of Essence, are given a black pass by blacks who put them on their blogs, defended by blacks who say silly things like “they’re not white”, and are called “black” due to negro-proxy*. That way Burt-Murray’s replacement wont actually be a white woman, but the modern-day black woman replacement we see featured everywhere. We wont even notice the difference.

It’s Not About Diversity

Folks can chatter about the importance of diversity in Burt-Murray’s hiring decision. Yet, I know this: one could literally find hundreds, if not thousands, of unemployed black women desperate for a job. She could have rotated the gig and given many of these black women a chance. Instead we get a high-school level snark essay about issues she think we should protest and boycott. She took the safe bet. I get it. Her bosses told her who to hire; she couldn’t come out and say it. Diversity is a catch phrase for: I don’t write the checks.

The case with Vogue in Africa and Essence is this: de boss man is de white man. But he’s not the villain here. His priorities are different. His focus is on money: advertisers, distribution, expenses, and circulation. Multiculturalism and diversity are the least of his concerns, but it makes a nice cover when you are forcing negroes to do your bidding.

However, black folks have nothing to complain about. If you want to showcase “black fashion and black beauty” in a high-end fashion magazine put your money where your mouth is.

I will tell you why it doesn’t happen: do black people really believe black women are as beautiful as white women?

Are we able to produce (without begging anybody for something) a first rate magazine? Yes, of course.

The reality is this: the effort has been tried and tried many times in the past, and you know what happens? No one bought the magazine(s).

*theroot.com – has this mess. the “blackest” white people around. this site is dr. gate’s brainchild.

Linky-Loos

  1. thegrio.com: why-africa-vogue-is-considered-out-of-fashion
  2. thegrio.com: essence-one-white-editor-wont-diminish-our-love-of-black-women
  3. thegrio.com: essence-white-editor-caught-up-in-off-color-controversy
  4. clutchmagonline.com: hires-white-fashion-director-leaves-loyal-readers-asking-why
  5. huffingtonpost: essence hires white fashion editor
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Susan Taylor Leaves Essence Magazine

Good luck to Ms. Taylor.

I met her many years ago when I was a kid. Back then, I had this idea I was going to be a writer, journalist, author and whatnot. She was gracious and classy, which unfortunately cannot be said of the other people who work in the field. They helped me decide that working in the media was not for me.

According to the NY Times, December 2007, Susan Taylor is leaving Essence Magazine:

Ms. Taylor, 61, joined Essence in 1970, the year it was first published, as a freelance fashion and beauty editor after founding her own company, Nequai Cosmetics. She became editor in chief in 1981, a post she held until 2000, when she was promoted to publications director.

I suppose it was to be expected: it was going to happen sooner or later. The magazine was started by Clarence O. Smith and Edward Lewis. In 2000, they accepted Time Warner‘s money. The media conglomerate ended up holding 49% of Essence.

Why should he look a gift horse in the mouth?

From interviews I read with Edward Lewis, having Richard D. Parsons (who’s African American) as CEO of the Time Warner – he felt sorta “safe” working with them. The rest of the company was sold to Time Warner in 2005 when the dynamic duo of Essence parted ways. One of the catalysts for their breakup: Bob Johnson’s sale of BET, which made him America’s first black billionaire.

I wasn’t aware of this, but Johnson Publications (Ebony Magazine) was also an investor in Essence. There were some criticisms from other black business owners as to why there wasn’t an effort made to sell it to fellow blacks.

I can tell you right now why that didn’t happen. Barry Gordy was the first to sell-out and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Black businesses still thrived and grew. Plenty of black media entrepreneurs learned from his example and followed in his footsteps: Russell Simmons, Andre Young (Dr. Dre), and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), etc.

Has the magazine changed since it acquired a new owner? Yup. The Puff Daddy with his baby momma issue, which celebrated an unmarried, totally messed up couple told enough people where things were heading.

Essence appears to get much more advertisers now. It has so many white girls in the ad pages, I sometimes wonder if I’m reading Cosmopolitan. Getting with a media giant gets the ad dollars flowing like never before.

Irony, however, is Essence’s main forte.

I’d say that a good percentage of the advertising is devoted to what is considered (by whom?) a black woman’s main problem: her hair. And what is the solution to this hair dilemma? Extremely harsh hair relaxers aka perms.

Essence recently devoted an article to alopecia, which is a very serious problem among black women. This is like a magazine that’s devoted to health, stuffed with ads for smoking, occasionally filling in with an article contemplating the causes of emphysema and lung cancer.

I question if the change of ownership, among other things, going to be at the cost of black female dignity? I mean, just because a brand says it is black-focused doesn’t mean it’s going to be good and mindful of blacks.

There are many magazines out there that are aimed at the black audience, who owns them, and whether their final message benefits their readers is another story.

Lastly, I read that Essence‘s circulation is 1 million readers a month, 29% of them male. Interesting.

Sources

Essence of a break up. (Business News)
Essence Editor Is Leaving Magazine
Ed Lewis defends Essence magazine sale
Time Inc. to Buy Out Essence

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