By Ruth Manuel-Logan
Essence, the fashion and lifestyle bible for today’s black woman, just named Constance C.R. White (pictured) as their new editor-in-chief.
White was hired just four months after the magazine’s powers-that-be allegedly gave their former chief the old heave-ho amid much controversy surrounding a hire.
White, whose editorial background spans top fashion spots at magazines such as Elle and Talk is, taking the reins from Sheryl Tucker, who was asked to temporarily hold-down the decision-making position after Angela Burt-Murray resigned as editor-in-chief of the magazine.
Last August, Essence met with a heap of backlash from angry readers, when Burt-Murray hired and placed Ellianna Placas, a white woman, at the helm of the fashion department at the magazine.
Readers were infuriated, and many fired back via Facebook at Burt-Murray’s decision, which was referred to as “mindless,” “insensitive” and “politically incorrect.” At the time, Burt-Murray dealt with the backfire and stood by her decision.
There were whispers, though, that the powers that be were not happy about Burt-Murray’s media trial-by-fire. As a matter of fact, the loudest voice leading the pack of discontented dissenters was Michaela Angela Davis, the former editor-in-chief of Honey magazine, who took to public forums like Facebook to vehemently criticize Burt-Murray.
Burt-Murray alerted her staff in early November of her plans to move to Atlanta with her family. Yet, according to insider reports, she had actually laid the foundation for her resignation back in July, when tempers began to boil surrounding her hire.
Essence has also rehired former editor-in-chief Marcia Ann Gillespie as Special Projects Director. Gillespie, who is considered to be an industry trailblazer and a leader in the women’s movement, was at the helm of the magazine for 11 years, from 1971 to 1980. She is credited for transforming the then-fledging magazine into a force to be reckoned with at the time. Gillespie will reportedly assist White with growing the Essence brand globally.