African AmericansBlack AmericaBlack InterestsLifestyleWomen's Interests

Haircare Entrepreneur Buys Ownership of ESSENCE by William Reed


Haircare Entrepreneur Buys Ownership of ESSENCE

ESSENCE has a new home.  Essence Ventures, an African-American owned company founded last year by Sundial Brands founder Richelieu Dennis has acquired Essence Communications.  Sundial Brands is a hair care and skin-care company.  The deal the Liberian-born entrepreneur engineered reestablishes Essence magazine as a totally, Black and independently-owned entity.  The 48-year-old lifestyle publication focuses on African-American women.  Essence Communications Inc. is a venerable multi-platform media firm whose assets include the popular Essence Festival.

Essence Ventures, an independent African-American owned company founded last year by Sundial Brands founder Richelieu Dennis.  Essence Communications Inc. also includes digital platforms and the Essence Music Festival, an annual event that started in 1995 and draws more than 450,000 attendees to New Orleans each summer.

Blacks should get to know Richelieu Dennis.  The new  “Renaissance Man”.is catapulting based on successes he pulled off at Sundial.  Sundial pulled in an estimated $200 million in revenue in 2015 and is currently worth $33 billion globally.  Such corporate growth caught the attention of Bain Capital, which in September 2015 acquired a minority stake in the family-owned company for an estimated $700 million.  The Sundial Brand came from the Nubian Heritage brand co-founded by Richelieu Dennis, Nyema Tubman and Mary Dennis.  Richelieu Dennis is an enterprising black businessman.  He says: “But both my grandmothers were entrepreneurs in rural West Africa.  I learned from them early on that business could impact the future of generations, just based on your ideas and your willingness to drive those ideas to fruition. “

Dennis can shape black’s history.  The brand he’s acquired occupies a special place in the hearts of millions of Black women-it’s not just a magazine but her most trusted confidante.   ESSENCE has become a cultural institution in the African-American community. Founded in 1968, Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) launched ESSENCE, the as a magazine created exclusively for African-American women in 1970. For 42 years, the company has flourished and expanded beyond magazine pages.  Edward Lewis, Clarence O. Smith, Cecil Hollingsworth and Jonathan Blount founded ECI.   Its initial circulation was approximately 50,000 copies per month, subsequently growing to roughly 1.6 million.  In 2000, Time purchased 49 percent of Essence Communication

ESSENCE is a monthly magazine for African American women between the ages of 18 and 49. It is the only magazine that focuses on reaching black women and has a monthly circulation of 1,050,000.  Essence president Michelle Banks will maintain a leadership role in the company.   Banks and Essence’s all black female executive team will also have an equity stake in the company moving forward.

The new ESSENCE will need subscribers.  The media business will focus on expanding its digital businesses and international growth “by planting its rich content ecosystem, including digital properties and successful live event franchises, in more global markets.” In addition to the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans, Essence platforms include the Grammy Week event Black Women in Music, the Black Women in Hollywood Awards and the Essence Festival in Durban, South Africa.

The Essence Music Festival] is the nation’s largest annual gathering of African-American musical talent, and has been going on annually for 18 years in New Orleans bringing more than 400,000 people. The festival is a three-day event, that includes cultural celebrations, empowerment seminars, and nights of musical performances.   In his dealings, Dennis has entered an agreement with Harlem’s National Black Theater group.

Blacks should make it a point to buy the publication.  The Black community owes allegiance and support to people like Dennis and should go out of their way to patronize black-owned business.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via

Black Men In
Since our launch in 2001, Black Men In has evolved from a news site focusing on black men to a well-rounded social, current events and political website featuring content that people want to share and talk about.  We have thought-provoking content that aims to educate, entertain and inspire our site visitors to become good citizens and role models in their community.  Please do not use this site to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law. You alone are responsible for the material you post.

New Feature: “Fake the Nation Cartoons” by Rich Caruth

Previous article

What to expect when you stay at a motel

Next article

You may also like


Leave a Reply