'Essence' Hires White Girl As Fashion Director and People Are Pissed

Essence magazine coverThere was quite the stir when Essence, the fashion magazine geared toward black women, hired their new fashion director.

Not because she didn't have the academic or professional credentials, but because she was white.

This change has left loyal readers shaking their heads, pondering what path the magazine will now follow -- surely, it'll be down some white suburbia road.


Though that may be a prejudice assumption to make, honestly, I don't blame them for thinking that. As much as the fashion industry says it promotes all races and sizes, you can't tell me that there's not a prominent feature: Tall, skinny, white girls.

So them taking the one fashion magazine that has created its existence on gracing its pages with beautiful women of color and putting a white girl in the driver's seat -- yeah, it's going to ruffle some feathers.

Michaela Angela Davis, a former Essence fashion director, tweeted, “It is with a heavy heavy heart I have learned that Essence magazine has engaged a white fashion director, this hurts, literally, spiritually.”

Clutch, an online magazine for young black women, wrote, "It felt like our mom walked us hand-in-hand to the center of the biggest shopping mall in the state, turned around, and left us. But we are no longer the little girls eyeballing the glossy giant who taught us how to love ourselves. We’ve been finding our way through the life, love, and labels for quite sometime now; and the likely abandonment of the counselor who taught us everything we know is now evolving into clearer overstanding."

Not to say that Ellianna Placas, the new fashion director, isn't a good fit for the magazine just because she's white. The important part of this role is upholding the spirit of the mag, giving their readers what they want, and that's something that we won't know if she can handle until her first issue hits newsstands (magazines often work 90 days out, so I'm guessing it'll probably be either the October or November issue).

What are your thoughts? Do you think magazines targeting a specific demographic should only employ people that fall into that group?


Image via Essence.com

Read More >