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Essence Unveils Transformative Vision Around Community, Culture and Content at it's "Essence Made" 2018 Upfront

May 10, 2018 - Essence Communications, the number one media company aimed at Black women, today debuted a transformative vision to grow its digital businesses, launch television and video extensions, expand live events and establish community-driven editorial franchises.  In an interactive, visual and technical display of new offerings at its “ESSENCE Made” 2018 Upfront, ESSENCE unveiled an exciting new slate of omni-channel programming, live experiences and immersive content.

“This is a new day for ESSENCE, and we are thrilled to share what that means for the community we serve,” said ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks.  “For nearly 50 years, ESSENCE has covered, mirrored, uplifted and celebrated the beauty of Black women and the dynamism of their lives and their interests with unparalleled depth and breadth.  As we continue to evolve with her needs, we are transforming to meet her everywhere she consumes content, which includes reimagined programming and key partnerships that now enable us to deliver information and experiences in even more meaningful and inspiring ways across the Diaspora.  From the pages of the magazine, to live events, mobile and television, ESSENCE is owning our narrative in only the way that we can through empowering content in all formats, across all screens, on all platforms.  ‘ESSENCE Made’ is a guarantee – a virtual seal of approval from the women we serve – that our content has been co-created and curated through her unique experience and in her authentic voice.”

ESSENCE also announced key partnerships with acclaimed entertainment attorney Nina Shaw, MACRO and Endemol Shine North America that include television and other scripted and unscripted content development focused on telling the stories of Black women, with more details to be announced in the coming months.

Under the theme ‘ESSENCE Made,’ the 2018 Upfront presentation represents the next step in how the iconic brand aims to serve a multigenerational audience of Black women globally across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms.  With an audience exceeding 15 million people, ESSENCE engages its community around shared interests and passions, including Beauty & Style, Entrepreneurship & Business and Culture & Community, which the brand is bringing to life in new and innovative ways through its upcoming programs and partnerships. 

These include, among others, for Beauty & Style – a new hair, skin and makeup franchise debuting in the Fall Beauty issue (curated by the ESSENCE Made Collective and featuring print, digital and video content and a social media awards program), the ESSENCE Beauty Carnival Tour (beginning in 2018 and traveling to multiple markets in 2019), the 25 Most Fashionable Women franchise (in the September print issue and online) and the ESSENCE Street Style Festival Tour (starting in Brooklyn and expanding to multiple markets in 2019); for Entrepreneurship & Business – the debut of Best in Black-Owned, the Future 15 Awards and Summit (in the November print issue and digital highlighting Black millennials representing the next generation of leaders who are inspiring our community with innovations and achievement), an inaugural list and bi-weekly video series spotlighting Black female tech innovators and covering all aspects of technology, and a collaboration with the New Voices Fund to support women of color entrepreneurs; and forCulture & Community – a year-long Girls United initiative to mentor young women and a collaboration with Givewith to power ESSENCE’s inaugural National Day of Service.

ESSENCE also announced the creation of the ESSENCE Awards: A Celebration of Black Excellence, as well as additional original video content within ESSENCE Features, including ‘Career Whisperers” (professional development), “So…This is Me” (self-acceptance), and “On My Way” (entertainment).

“Black women have long been cultural leaders setting global trends, and we are proud to provide her with continued inspiration for living her best life, without dictating her path,” said Ebanks. “We know all of the challenges, historic and present, that Black women face – from being told our beauty isn’t beautiful, to being denied access to capital, expertise and resources to grow our businesses, to over-indexing in technology, social and digital tools yet being hidden figures in their development, to having our stories produced and directed by cultural observers rather than by the Black female storytellers and image makers who are cultural participants. We also know all of the beauty, style, grace, genius, resilience, and creativity that Black women embody, and we are committed to not just telling all of these stories, but to offering solutions to our obstacles and creating the platforms for Black women to grow, be recognized and to shine.”

About Essence Communications Inc.
Essence Communications is the number one media company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 15 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content.  With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival.  Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of women of color.


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