Essence magazine will be entirely Black-owned for the first time since 2000.
On Wednesday, the founder of Sundial brands — the parent company of Shea Moisture — Richelieu Dennis Jr. revealed he’d be buying the publication. Time Inc. announced it was looking to sell the brand in July. Dennis hinted at the acquisition during the EBONY Power 100 gala in December where he was honored for his outstanding entrepreneurship.
In light of news of the acquisition, Ebony Media Operations CEO Linda Johnson Rice looks forward to witnessing the fruits of his new venture:
“Richelieu has been a unique leader in Black entrepreneurship as evidenced by his success with Sundial Brands. His commitment to the Black community was precisely the reason we honored him on the 2017 EBONY Power 100 list. This dedication was once again conveyed at this year’s gala for honorees where he spoke on the importance of investing in Black women — which is exactly what he’s done with the announcement of his latest undertaking.”
Dennis came to the United States from Liberia to pursue higher education. He and his roommate from Babson College would later collaborate in creating Sundial Brands to fill the void for Black hair and skin care products in 1992.
Now, he’s about to take on another major enterprise.
Established in 1970, Essence was fully bought by Time Inc. in 2005 after founders Ed Lewis and Clarence Smith first sold 49 percent of the company to the media empire in 2000. Wednesday’s announcement marked a significant moment in Black media history as both of the nation’s historic Black magazines, Essence and EBONY, can both claim Black ownership.
EBONY was acquired by the Texas-based Black-owned equity firm Clearview Capital in 2016.