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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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R. Kelly Is Charged With Bribing official in Illinois to Marry 15-year-old Aaliyah in 1994

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According to New York Times On Thursday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn accused Mr. Kelly of bribing an Illinois government employee in 1994 in order to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah, according to the indictment and a person familiar with the matter.

The fake ID was to be used to obtain a marriage license that listed her age as 18, the person familiar said.

The new allegation expands on an existing racketeering indictment filed in New York against Mr. Kelly that accuses him of sexually exploiting underage girls and coercing them into illegal sexual activity. This year, Mr. Kelly has been criminally charged in several jurisdictions over sex abuse of minors.

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Billy Dee Williams Comes Out As Gender Fluid At 82

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With the new #StarWars movie on the way (I know y’all see those baby Yoda memes everywhere), fans are looking forward to surprises and recently, they received one about one of the film’s stars off-screen. In an interview with Esquire, actor Billy Dee Williams, most known for playing the beloved Star Wars character Lando Calrissian, revealed his gender fluidity at the age of 82.

Billy, who also starred in “Lady Sings the Blues” and “Batman,” described his legacy as a “colorful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously.

“I never tried to be anything except myself,” Billy told Esquire. “And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine…I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.”

It also appears Billy saw his Lando character in that same light. In his interview with Billy, Esquire’s Matt Miller pointed out how Donald Glover, who played a young Calrissian in last year’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” described the character as pansexual. 

“Yeah, he’s coming on to everybody,” Glover said of Calrissian during an interview last year with SiriusXM after “Solo” writers confirmed the character’s pansexuality, according to the Huffington Post.

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Dwyane Wade Defended His Son For Wearing A Crop Top And Fake Nails

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Well, those types of people — aka trolls — came for Dwyane and wife Gabrielle Union, who posted this Thanksgiving photo.

In the photo, Dwyane 12-year-old son, Zion, is rocking fake nails and a crop top.

Anyway, people decided to leave negative comments like these on Gabrielle’s photo, regarding Zion’s outfit.

He answered another person, saying, “As a parent, my only goal is that my kids feel that I see them, love them, and support them.”

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