Former ‘Essence Magazine’ Editor Says She Was Fired

Does the changing of Essence Magazine’s guard mean the end of empowerment for Black women?

Constance C.R. White is now the former Editor of Essence Magazine and she has let the details come forth in an interview with Journal-isms. She shares that she did not leave the top Black women’s magazine of her own accord but that she was released involuntarily and the result of repeated clashes with Time Inc. editor-in-chief Marth Nelson.

“I went in there with passion and excitement and high expectations,” White told Journal-isms, referring to her 2011 hiring. “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,” she said by telephone. “A lot of the readers have sensed what is happening.”

Essence, the nation’s leading magazine for Black women, was originally ran by and for the Black community but has not fared well under Time Inc. ownership. White maintains that Nelson vetoed such pieces as a look at African American art and culture and said, “I was not able to make the creative hires that needed to be made.”

The publication announced White’s departure in a terse statement on Feb. 8.

White, a veteran journalist with the New York Times and Elle magazine, was style director, brand consultant and spokeswoman for eBay when she was named to lead Essence.

Props: Naturally Moi