So That’s How It Went Down? Former EIC of Essence Constance White Says She Was Fired

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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?

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