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Essence Is Once Again a Fully Black-Owned Publication After Time Inc. Sells Magazine and Its Music Festival to Black Skin-Care Mogul

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For the first time in nearly two decades, Essence magazine is once again a fully black-owned publication.

The magazine, a mainstay of black culture for almost half a century, was bought by Richelieu Dennis, the founder of Sundial Brands, a large personal-care products company, from Time Inc., Essence Ventures announced on Wednesday. Mr. Dennis would not discuss the details of the sale.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Mr. Dennis, 48, said that he bought the magazine “to serve and empower women of color.”

“This will give Essence a platform and a voice to serve its consumers, which are women of color,” Mr. Dennis said during a flight from his native Liberia to the United States. “They have allowed us to invest into the business so that we can bring in the infrastructure and resources.”

According to a statement released by the magazine’s owner, Essence Ventures, Essence will keep its current executive team, which consists entirely of black women, including Michelle Ebanks, the magazine’s president. The executive team will also have an ownership interest in the business.

The acquisition represents “the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multi-generational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,” Ms. Ebanks said in the statement.

Essence, a 48-year-old monthly lifestyle magazine, has a majority-black readership. The magazine focuses on fashion, pop culture, music and black life. It also holds an annual music festival, which was headlined last year by Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige and Chance the Rapper.

Richelieu Dennis, the founder of Sundial Brands, said he bought the company “to serve and empower women of color.” Credit Benjamin Norman for The New York TImes

Essence currently reaches over 16 million people via social media, print, digital engagement and live events, according to a spokeswoman for Essence Ventures.

In 2000, the magazine’s founders, Clarence Smith and Ed Lewis, sold a 49 percent stake in Essence to Time Inc. The company bought the remaining 51 percent in 2005.

Mr. Dennis said that he approached Time Inc. about buying Essence after Time Inc. was sold in November to the Meredith Corporation, the owner of Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle, in an all-cash transaction worth about $2.8 billion. Mr. Dennis sold Sundial Brands to Unilever that month.

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SOURCE: The New York Times – Sandra E. Garcia

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Child sex-trafficking victim Cyntoia Brown, 31, married a Christian hip-hop artist while she was in prison serving 15 years of a life sentence

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Cyntoia Brown tied the knot with Christian hip-hop artist Jaime Long while she was in prison, reps for the couple confirmed the day after she was released from prison having served 15 years of a life sentence.  

Few details about the couple’s relationship have been disclosed and it remains unclear when or how they met. 

A man who answered J. Long’s cellphone — who insisted he was not the rapper although he knew him — said he could not give any details of the prison ceremony and referred DailyMail.com to his spokesman, Wes Yoder who did not immediately return calls or emails. 

Long knows a little about life inside prison, having been jailed in 2004 for assaulting a public servant in Texas. 

Brown has not been able to have conjugal visits with her husband since they have been prohibited in Tennessee state prisons. A bill passed in March created a conjugal visit policy, but it won’t go into effect until 2020. 

Long has been active in the music industry under the name ‘J. Long’ since 2009. 

The native of La Marque, Texas, comes from a long line of musicians. His uncle, Huey Long, was a vocalist and guitarist for The Ink Spots, one of America’s most influential all-black vocal groups that rose to international fame in the 1930s. 

His grandfather, Curtis Long, was a famous guitarist who played with the likes of B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland.  

In an interview with Emcee magazine in 2017, Long said: ‘It was like I was destined to be in music. I can remember falling in love with the drums when I was about two years old. 

‘Everyone in our family played instruments or was a singer. I loved everything that had something to do with music.’ 

News of Brown’s marriage was first announced in a statement from Atria Books earlier this week about the 31-year-old’s forthcoming novel.  

Yona Deshommes, associate director of publicity for Atria, an arm of Simon & Schuster, said Brown is looking forward to ‘starting her life as a recently married woman’. She did not say who Brown married or when the wedding took place.  

The soon-to-be author will go by ‘Cyntoia Brown-Long’ when her book, ‘Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System’, hits the shelves on October 15.  

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Chris Rock Slammed As Racist After ‘Bet He White’ Joke About Mass Shooters

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Chris Rock made a play on Betty White’s name while joking about the latest mass shootings that took place over the weekend, and the post has riled up some fans, with many are accusing the comedian of being “racist” against white people.

Rock shared a meme of a photo of the “Golden Girls” star and it was captioned: “The first thing people say when a mass shooting is announced… Bet he white,” an obvious pun on Betty’s name.

The post received mixed reactions, with many criticizing Rock for linking mass shootings to white men — see the post below.

View this post on Instagram

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A post shared by Chris Rock (@chrisrock) on Aug 6, 2019 at 7:17pm PDT

While the majority of America’s mass shooters and domestic terrorists are white/male supremacists, some of Rock’s followers said it was unfair to assume active shooters were white.

Here are some of their reactions via AOL.com:

“If a white person posted this about black people their career would be over but when it’s the other way around nobody gives two s***s,” read one comment. “You can’t fight racism with racism, you’re just contributing to the problem. Sad a 17-year-old kid has to say this.”

“This is racist,” complained another.

“Don’t ya love how this is racist but nobody cares because he is black,” one person wrote. “We all need to unite instead being toxic on social media and solve the problem.”

“Stay out of politics clown,” read another angry comment. “The rich need to stop this.”

“Although it’s comedy, it’s still racist,” added a commenter. “Flip the races and say, ‘When we hear somebody was mugged, we think… ‘“

“Do you not like white people? Not all of us are bad people,” one asked Rock.

But those who found the humor in Rock’s post told the comedian’s “pressed” critics to “stop taking things so seriously.” Many also slammed the claim that Rock was being “racist” against white folks.

“Black people can’t be racist because they have never exerted and forced their power and will over other people deemed lower than their race,” a Rock fan fired back at a commenter upset with the star. “You don’t understand and just wanna cry about the unfairness of your privileged life.”

“You’re about to trigger some conservatives,” one predicted.

“I am white and I approve this post,” added a follower.

“It’s a stereotypical fact,” wrote a Rock supporter. “A gag done by a comedian. What’s a comedian’s job again!? To make inappropriate jokes/gags. This one just happened to be a little too true, to the point that it stings.”

Rock hasn’t responded to the negative reactions.Chris Rock Through The Years

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Serena Williams Poses Unretouched for Harper’s BAZAAR

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At 17, I won my first Grand Slam, and I knew I had more in me. In fact, I was so sure that when I packed up my life and left my dad’s house to move in with my sister Venus, I told him he could keep my US Open trophy. Don’t worry, I assured him. I would get another one for my house. Now that was confidence. I went on to win the US Open not one or two but six times.

Since that fateful victory in 1999, I’ve won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 39 Grand Slam titles in all, and countless gold medals. I have been asked what keeps me motivated to continue playing tennis. To me, the answer is simple: I love the sport. When I’m giving speeches I always say how important it is to love what you do. If you don’t, then find something that speaks to you. Follow your passion. Of course, there are times when loving tennis is hard. 

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