Take one magazine for black women, add one white fashion editor…ta daa! A new publication for Oreos to love and a media crapstorm!
For those of you who don’t read Essence–and my guess is that if you read this blog, you don’t read Essence–the magazine was once a highly political pub aimed at empowering black women. It’s become more of a fluffy lifestyle piece over the years, but the main goal is still the same: Reach out to RBP women, make them feel good, have them buy cosmetics.
As such, most of the top tier staff at Essence has been black.
Thankfully, that’s changed.
The magazine just hired the decidedly not-black Placas and many RBP are pissed.
But here’s the thing. It’s all kinds of awkward to go into someone’s home and see a magazine that touts ethnic identity as being a worthwhile pursuit. So now that Essence has a better chance of looking like any other fashion magazine, we can all relax. I mean, look how great this cover of Vanity Fair looked. Nevermind that Gabourey Sidibe was a total breakout star, she would have totally fucked up this magazine cover about young breakout stars in Hollywood.
Why put a black woman in a position of creative power at a magazine aimed at a black women when she might bring some icky, uncomfortable verisimilitude to said magazine. A black fashion director for example, would probably never let this romantic, antebellum-themed ad make it into her magazine’s pages and look how cute it is!
I’m sure that her experience in the fashion world makes her more than super qualified to be a magazine’s fashion director. And her experience not being black makes her a great choice to take a magazine that sometimes does the “wahwahI’mblack” into the modern day and have even more people picking up and running with the Oreo flag.
So congrats on the new gig, Ellana! Play your cards right and this Oreo will add a new subscription to keep her Harper’s and Horse and Hound company!
Other reasons the media is an Oreo’s friend: If you’re pretty and brown, you might be a terrorist, RBP in the movies can’t be wizards or go on dates, and is Tyler Perry, a sworn Oreo enemy actually an Oreo in disguise?
What do you think of the Essence sitch? Does it matter that a not-black person is directing a black fashion magazine? Are historical issues over and done with enough that fashion is an equal-opportunity self-loathing machine (even white girls have a hard time shedding as many curves as it takes to be a supermodel, I’m guessing). Are specialty magazines passe, out of vogue?