Ladies' Pages: African American Women's Magazines and the Culture That Made Them

By Noliwe M. Rooks | Go to book overview

7
But Is It Black
and Female?
Essence, O, and American
Magazine Publishing

There are a lot of unanswered questions marketers still have about
our audience. Essence is the gateway to that audience.

Michelle Eubanks, Essence Group Publisher

In my 15 years of dealing with people and their dysfunctions, day in
and day out, I’ve learned that the word that most defines this
decade, even this century, is disconnect. What this magazine does is
reconnect people to what deserves priority and to bring meaning to
their lives.

Oprah Winfrey

WHEN I began this project, I believed it would primarily focus on Essence Magazine and the African American women’s magazines that came after it. After beginning what I believed to be “background research” on the magazines that preceded Essence, I came to understand that the cultural issues, narrative strategies, and economic significance of that publication were best understood within the historical context of those earlier publications. But this project would be incomplete without some mention of Essence. It was a significant undertaking and has continued to be an important influence for the thirty-plus years since its founding in May 1970. While I dispute the truth of the general belief that it is the

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