All Articles Tagged "essence"
Though Tyler Perry typically gets a cover once every other year or so, Oprah is a new addition to the magazine’s arsenal of cover ladies and she’s looking pretty darn great.
Inside, the pair who is currently involved in a major partnership — TP’s developing two new series for Oprah’s OWN network — talk about leaning on each other and how unique their friendship is in the industry.
“We both know how rare this is,” Oprah told the mag. “Where else in the history of our African-American culture have two really, really successful people who can do whatever they want said, ‘Let’s come together and be even more powerful—let’s take it to the tenth power?’”
Some would say it’s risky business for Oprah and Tyler to work together, but the screenwriter and director said they’re not afraid to mix business and friendship.
“…The most important thing about coming together was making sure we would not lose our friendship because of the business. We had to establish ground rules. The main one: Both of us have to continue to live in our truth. If she doesn’t like something, say it. If I don’t like something, I’ll say it. And we’ll figure it out and keep moving on…”
It sounds like Oprah followed the rules, as Tyler told ESSENCE working with the media mogul on his new series, The Haves and the Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor, “challenged me to push myself in terms of my writing and level of thinking. I’m hoping that the energy of our coming together will go out to other people.”
We’ll see if it does on May 28 and 29 when the series’ debut. What do you think of their cover?
Paris Jackson may only be 15 years old, but she’s got big dreams for her late father’s dilapidated Neverland ranch. According to Event magazine, Jackson wants to restore it for sick and underprivileged kids to use and enjoy.
Jackson made a special trip back to the ranch two years ago to find the famous ferris wheel was removed. “I cried and cried,” said Jackson. “It’s beautiful there. It still has good energy.”
Although her dream to revive the ranch won’t be easy, Jackson says she’ll begin the project when she becomes an adult.
You can read the rest over on Essence. That sounds like a really sweet idea though; she seems to have the giving spirit just like her dad.
Did you ever want to visit Neverland when you were young?
Janelle Monáe Gets A Little Teary-Eyed At Essence Dinner Party While Discussing Her Modest Upbringing
If you’ve passed newsstands recently, chances are you’ve seen Essence‘s May 2013 cover featuring stunning, 27-year-old soul singer, Janelle Monáe. The Kansas City native recently joined the publication and some of fashion’s elite, including Iman, Bethann Hardison and June Ambrose at the Mondrian Soho in New York City for a celebratory dinner in honor of the 2013 cover, Necole Bitchie reports. During the dinner, Janelle delivered a a touching speech where discussed cherishing each day, her humble upbringing and what an honor it was to be chosen by Essence for their May cover. An excerpt from her speech reads:
“There are lots of beautiful young women of color out there who would have been just as gorgeous or even more gorgeous on this cover. And for you guys to see something in me, for my story to connect in a way that you’ve allowed me to have this platform to tell my story to your readers, it’s just something I won’t take for granted. I want to continue to do what’s right, and by what’s right is continuing to lead by example.
We don’t know [she cries and pauses] when we’ll exit. And I try to always keep that in mind when I’m given a day. It’s a conscious decision to make. Sometimes, you can take for granted your days. I didn’t have to have this life or answer to the calling that I just feel in my heart. I love making music but at the same time, I understand the importance of having a message and having something that you’re bringing awareness to, something that other people coming up can be inspired by, something that can guide their lives, something that I can do to open up doors for young girls.
I’m from Kansas and I grew up in a hard-working class family. My mother’s last occupation was a janitor, my father delivered trash and my step father worked at the post office. So whenever I’m given these opportunities, I always keep that with me. I thank God for giving me that life because it just keeps me anchored and I’m able to have as much compassion as I possibly can. [...] I look forward to continuing to partner and do things that can encourage our young girls to be comfortable in their own skin, to know they don’t have to sacrifice or…they don’t even have to be like Janelle Monae to be on the cover of Essence.”
My husband and I have been married for almost seven years, and for the last three months we’ve been separated. We seem to have a multitude of issues, ranging from communication, finances, sex and trust. We married later in life, both of us coming from completely different backgrounds, but in some ways we both still seemed to want the same things. He says he doesn’t feel respect, trust, or love from me, and I’m not sure how to show him. We married very quickly after meeting one another, so I’m almost sure we did not take the time to get to really know one another. I feel isolated from him, like we don’t really connect with each other. We don’t talk, we don’t laugh, and I don’t feel I can share my deepest fears or joys with him. I don’t feel like we are friends at all, much less best friends. I asked him about getting some professional help, to help us get it together, and he agreed and said he would find us a therapist. Three months have gone by now and he has not produced one yet. Any time I mention it, he just says that a counselor can’t don anything for us that we can’t do for ourselves. He feels that if we just try dating and getting to know each other and have some fun, things might just improve on their own. We have been going out and trying to date, but I find myself always thinking about what’s wrong with us and why we can’t seem to get to the core of our problems. I really feel like the longer we stay apart, the less I am going to want to be together. I’m sure I love my husband, but I just don’t know how to get us back to the early days of our marriage when things were good. What advice can you give me?
See what Dr. Sherry has to say about whether or not this woman can salvage her marriage over at Essence.com.
Here’s Why It Ain’t Happenin’: An Answer To Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Question About Putting White Folks On Black Magazines
Jada Pinkett-Smith has been raising lots of good discussions lately, unfortunately this new one is not one of them.
From Jada’s Facebook Page:
“Will there ever be a day in which women will be able to see each other beyond race, class, and culture?
There is a question I want to ask today. I’m asking this question in the spirit of thinking outside of the box in order to open doors to new possibilities. These possibilities may be realistic or unrealistic. I also want to make it clear that there is no finger pointing here. I pose this question with the hope that it opens a discussion about how we can build a community for women based upon us all taking a deeper interest in one another. An interest where skin color, culture, and social class does not create barriers in sharing the commonality of being… women. With love and respect to all parties involved, my question is this…if we ask our white sisters, who tend to be the guardians of the covers of mainstream magazines, to consider women of color to grace these covers, should we not offer the same consideration to white women to grace our covers? Should women extend their power to other women simply because they are women? To my women of color, I am clear we must have something of our own, but is it possible to share in the spirit in which we ask our white sisters to share with us? I don’t know the answer and would love to hear your thoughts.”
The snarky side of me is like, well, the way some of these magazines geared towards African Americans are going nowadays, they might as well start putting white women on the cover. However, Essence magazine’s internal politics is neither here nor there. The real question is, what the heck is Pinkett-Smith talking about?
Now I know there are a million and one reasons why we love Mrs. Pinkett-Smith. She’s a funky alternative married black chick with a rock band; who was in a Matrix sequel; and is courageously raising super free-spirited black children. However, I won’t lie and say that after reading her thoughts about integrating black magazines like Essence, I didn’t feel like saying, “Flower child, please go sit down and stop wearing rose-colored sunglasses at night. They are blinding you.” In fact, I’m pretty sure I did say that to myself. Nevertheless, it is Mrs. Pinkett-Smith we are talking about here. And we love her. Besides, she was brave enough to ask a question, which I am certain others have thought about as well. Therefore, I’m going to try my best to answer as thoughtful as possible. Feel free to expand in the comment section below if you feel so inclined.
Let’s address this idea which seems to permeate a lot of our thinking, particularly among the aspirational class. The idea that racism and all of this segregation between the races is just the result of a cause and effect situation. As such, black folks have an obligation to admit and own up to racism against white folks if we are to join hands collectively for a chorus of “We Are the World.” That is the post-racial and reverse racism talk that folks, including some of our own folks, are so fond of nowadays. If only reality was that easy. We could solve a whole host of discrimination and other social injustices in the world if people with darker hue would just stop doing what it is we’re doing to cause all this racism to happen to us.
Truth of the matter is that reverse racism is complete bullcrap. And I’m not so convinced about the concept of a post-racial society either. I don’t have the column space to go through the history and development of the Western world, so for the sake of time, let’s just say that there have been socio-political constructs, which enabled folks of a lighter hue opportunities to amass power and wealth through the marginalizing and subjugating of people of a darker hue. These strategies have been reinforced through such tools as colonization, slavery, genocide and apartheid, the latter of which enabled the systematic denial of careers, educations, housing, land, resources and other basic wealth building to black people.
Therefore, many of these black publications came about in response to not only a visual need to present a more balanced version of beauty, but out of a response to an economic and professional isolation. These historically black publications gave black folks a voice in shaping what is fashionable and beautiful by way of employing predominately black men and women writers, photographers and decision makers who make up the editorial board. This is important to note as despite the continued breaking of color barriers on the covers and stages of some of the world’s most known media outlets, behind the covers is the shrill reminder that the national rate of black media professionals working in mainstream press rooms still remain below an already dismal five percent, this according to the National Association of Black Journalists. And as we are witnessing what is happening at CNN with journalists of color like Soledad O’Brien and Roland Martin getting pushed out, this situation for black media professionals doesn’t look all that promising in the new year.
In a perfect world there would be no need for Essence, Ebony, Jet or any other publication geared to folks of darker hues only, in this case, African Americans. However, we don’t live in the perfect world; instead we live in a world where all things are not equal. And as this entire society serves as a shrine to the white man and woman image, imagination and value systems, the only counter action is to acknowledge, uphold and in some cases create belief systems of our own. Now are the publications, which have charged themselves with carrying that torch always perfect in how they even represent us? No. And that is an entire new column topic right there. But if a black publication can not even encompass that basic missive of giving voice to a group, who have been continually denied access to historically white publications than it is no less racist. Because the backlash against a system that has oppressed people of color since its inception is not racist, it is justice.
I never thought that sex would come between my husband and I. I was raised a devout Pentecostal Christian and have only been with one other man in my lifetime – a mistake before I got married. The only thing I learned about sex growing up is that it was bad, dirty and for reproduction only. I am no longer with that particular church but am still a very Godly woman.
When we got married a year ago, my husband used to lovingly call me a prude. He would tease me about being uptight but never with any malice, although he tried to “get it” every night. I would say yes around once or twice a week. Since then, it has become once or twice a month.
Last night, he accused me of not loving him anymore. Of course I love him and the sex is okay, but sex is just not a priority for me. At the end of the day I am exhausted. I’m 32 and he’s 35, so we’re not kids anymore. I know it sounds crazy but I still have my upbringing in my head; sex is for procreation. When he touches me, I don’t really feel aroused and because of it sex feels like a performance. One day he asked me to just touch myself so he could watch and I looked at him like he was crazy. (I’ve never even done that alone.) Since then, it’s been different between us. He called me “icy, frigid and uncaring.”
I want to turn him on again but where do I begin? I feel awkward. I don’t want to be a prude anymore but now I feel like his eyes are starting to wander. Is it too late?
Living Coach Abiola Abrams has for this woman on Essence.com.
There are always three sides to a story: his, hers and the truth. Former Essence editor-in-chief Constance White has decided to put her truth out first.
In a recent phone conversation with Journal-isms, White says she was fired from her position as EIC and that the job was never what she expected when she was hired in 2011.
“I went in there with passion and excitement and high expectations. It wasn’t what I expected at all. What needs to happen is the reader is getting lost and the reader has to be at the center. To make their world smaller is unacceptable.”
White added that readers have sensed what’s been going on behind the scenes for quite some time.
She also said that a lot of her issues came from her disagreements with Time, Inc editor-in-chief Martha Nelson. White said Nelson actively worked to limit the voice of black women:
“When was the last time you saw Essence in the community advocating for or talking with Black women?”
Welp. If you listen to the conversations of black women about Essence, there is almost always a discussion about the portrayal in the magazine and how “desperate” they make women seem.
White also says she was never able to make the creative hires she desired to better the publication. In January, White says she and Nelson had a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment and she was told to leave her position. When she asked if this was something they could discuss, White says Nelson told her the final decision had already been made.
Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc., released the following statement on Friday:
“We truly wish Constance well. Essence exists to affirm and inspire Black women. We always have and we always will.”
Finally, White says although she is concerned with how Essence will continue to maintain its position in the publication world, she wishes it all the best.
Wow. What do you think about all this? Have you noticed changes in Essence over the last few years? Have they been positive or negative?
‘I Used To Shrink In The Presence of Other Beautiful Women:’ Gabrielle Union Speaks Transparently During Essence’s BWIH Luncheon
When most people look at beautiful Black women in Hollywood, they don’t always see flawed individuals who sometimes feel scared and even a little self-concious like we do. It sometimes becomes difficult to fathom that someone so talented, so exquisite, so fierce could possibly be battling with self-esteem issues or feeling a little less than adequate. During Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel, actress Gabrielle Union delivered a captivatingly powerful speech that served as a reminder that behind those images are real people. She fearlessly tackled common issues that still plague the entertainment industry today and spoke boldly against them. Check out an excerpt of her speech below:
“We live in a town that rewards pretending. I had been pretending to be fierce and fearless for a very long time. I was a victim masquerading as a survivor. I stayed when I should have run. I was quiet when I should have spoken up. I turned a blind eye to injustice instead of having the courage to stand up for what’s right. I used to shrink in the presence of other dope beautiful women. I used to revel in gossip and rumors, and I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt whose shine diminished my own.
I took joy in people’s pain and I tap-danced on their misery. I chased and accepted a love and a marriage that wasn’t worthy of a date. I lived to hear ‘Hey, if we’ll go Black, it’ll totally be you,’ as if the routine exclusion of women of color in the casting process is okay, as long as I’m considered.
It’s easy to pretend ‘to be fierce and fearless because living your truth takes real courage. Real fearless and fierce women admit mistakes and they work to correct them. We stand up and we use our voices for things other than self promotion. We don’t stand by and let racism and sexism and homophobia run rapid on our watch. Real fearless and fierce women complement other women and we recognize and embrace that their shine in no way diminishes our light and that it actually makes our light shine brighter.
So many of us in this room are sisters. We don’t always get to see each other and its good to see you here today. Women who we’ve laughed with, cried with, and struggled with, thank you for not turning your back on me, thank you for not tap dancing on my misery, even when I wasn’t always returning the favor.”
Check out footage of Gabby’s speech here.
It’s hard out here for a fashion diva. So many choices. Do I rock a turban? Remy weave? Matter of fact where is my Michael Kors bag? Let this fashion diva tell you just how hard it is out here in the style world in this hilarious video.
Every year Essence magazine honors some of Hollywood’s most influential African-American women in television and film. The sixth annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon will take place today as part of Oscar Week.
According to Essence, Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the Power Award; Alfre Woodard will be given the Vanguard Award; Gabrielle Union will receive the Fierce and Fearless Award; and Mara Brock-Akil will be celebrated with the Visionary Award. Newcomer and 2013 Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis will also be honored with the Breakthrough Performance Award during the star-studded lunheon.
This year, Essence has partnered with Lincoln, making the 2013 MKZ the official vehicle for the event. Writer, producer and creator Mara Brock Akil and James Bond ‘s latest “Bond Girl,” Naomie Harris, will arrive to the event in the MKZ.
Akil’s company, Happy Camper Productions, partnered with Kelsey Grammer ‘s Gramnet Productions and CBS Paramount to create the groundbreaking series Girlfriends. In 2012, she produced Sparkle and is now preparing to debut her new show Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union.
Lincoln will present Harris, who starred in the last Bond installment, Skyfall, with the Lincoln Shining Star Award. Harris will star in the upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic, Long Walk to Freedom opposite Idris Elba .