Essence Terminates Editor-In-Chief, Vanessa DeLuca And Longtime Editor Patrik Henry Bass

April 20, 2018  |  


There are some interesting things going on over at Essence. At the top of the year, the company announced that after acquisition from Time Inc., it would be completely Black-owned, under the leadership of Richelieu Dennis, founder of Essence Ventures and Shea Moisture.

Then yesterday, Essence President Michelle Ebanks, who also serves on the board of directors, announced that the publication was terminating their Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca and Editorial Projects Director, Patrik Henry Bass.

According to Journal-isms, Bass heard about his termination from a phone call from the company as he was riding the R train.

Journal-isms shared this statement from Ebanks.

“As we forge our new path as an independent company, ESSENCE remains committed to its authentic vision — highlighting the beauty, power and magic of Black women.  We are also committed to continually evaluating how we need to transform and evolve to best serve the interests of Black women around the world in a more elevated and comprehensive way.

“This includes addressing the needs that align with our future as a fully-integrated, cross-platform content company that reflects the diverse range of who she is, where she is, and how she lives. To ensure that we have the infrastructure necessary to support this path forward, we are realigning our editorial team structure to include more content integration and audience development across all platforms, including digital, social, video, live experiences and the magazine. ”

Ebanks sent this message to the staff members.

“As you’re aware, we’re transforming our company to ensure we are positioned to successfully address the demands of an evolving industry. I am writing to inform you of changes to our editorial team and wanted to share with you that ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca and Editorial Projects Director Patrik Henry Bass will be leaving the company.  We will not be replacing these roles moving forward and will share more with you in the coming weeks regarding our realigned structure.

“In the immediate term, Digital Content Director, Yolanda Sangweni, and Executive Editor, Jacklyn Monk, will oversee content and operations across all platforms — including digital, social, video, live experiences and the magazine.

“Vanessa has a diverse and accomplished history with ESSENCE.  She first joined the company more than a decade ago as the magazine’s Beauty and Fashion Features Editor and went on to serve as Lifestyle Editor and Executive Editor.  During her 5-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa sharpened ESSENCE’s journalistic focus and the brand’s creative vision by developing new multi-platform editorial franchises, including the Woke 100. Committed to bringing ESSENCE content to life, she created programming for the ESSENCE Festival and other live experiences.

“As part of this transformation,  ESSENCE Editorial Projects Director Patrik Henry Bass will also be leaving the company. Patrik has contributed tremendously to ESSENCE’s editorial legacy over nearly two decades.  He joined the company as Books Editor and served as Features Editor before expanding his role as Editorial Projects Director.  In this capacity, he co-programmed the ESSENCE Festival’s Empowerment Experience and edited a variety of successful ESSENCE books, including The Obamas in The White House and Black Women in Hollywood: A Salute to Trailblazers at the Oscars, among many others.  . . .”.

DeLuca was named Editor-in-Chief of the publication in 2013. Bass joined under the leadership of legendary Essence Editor-in-Chief Susan Taylor. He has worked under eight of Essence’s nine editors-in-chief.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any future changes, as we’re sure they’re on the way.


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