Okay, so, as you’ve probably read at some point somewhere today, Essence magazine hired a white fashion director.
Some black people in the industry–and surely some outside of it–are really pissed.
Essence, for those living under a 1960s-style rock, is a lifestyle magazine geared towards black people. Naysayers are angry because:
A. This white person–her name is Ellianna Placas–is filling up one of the few spots in the publishing industry designed specifically for a black person.
B. How will a white person understand modern black style?
I’m white. Very white. So I’ll never be able to understand exactly where these black people are coming from. However, I can try to understand. And it kind of makes sense to me. Both fashion and publishing are very, very white industries, so would I seek out a job at Essence? Probably not. I do feel that I–or someone like me–may not be able to please the audience in the way someone of their own race would.
But on the other hand, I’m sure there are black, white, Asian people who read this site, and I’m assuming they could give a crap what color I am. The other thing I feel like we’re all forgetting: Angela Burt-Murray, Essence‘s black editor-in-chief, hired Placas. Do I really think she’d hire someone who she didn’t think was ideal for the position? No. But I asked her anyways. This is statement she sent me via email:
“Our new fashion director, Ellianna Placas, is part of a growing fashion team at Essence. We are making a number of new hires in the coming months.
I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience, however I selected Ellianna, who has been contributing to the magazine on a freelance basis for the last six months, because of her creativity, vision, the positive reader response to her work and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand.
We remain committed to celebrating the unique beauty and style of African-American women in Essence magazine and online at Essence.com.”
So that’s that. To read more of what Burt-Murray has to say, check out this op-ed.
Are you still irked about this? Or do you agree with Burt-Murry? I’d really, truly love to know what our readers are thinking. In the comments bellow, obviously.