Essence Festival, Magazine Sold

Essence Music Festival – Essence Music Festival

Essence Ventures – a new company led by Richelieu Dennis, founder of Shea Moisture – has purchased Essence Communications Inc., from its previous owner Time Inc.

Essence encompasses the print magazine and its associated media on various platforms, television specials, books and the Essence Music Festival that began in 1995 and recently developed a spinoff in Durban, South Africa.

Michelle Ebanks will continue to lead Essence as president and she is joining the board of directors.

“This acquisition of Essence represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,” said Ebanks. “In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”

Essence Ventures is an independent African-American-owned company and, as a part of the deal, Essence Communications’ all-black, all-female executive team will have an equity stake in the business. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Essence magazine was founded in 1970 with an emphasis on beauty, culture and lifestyles of African-American women.

Our Box Office reports Essence Music Festival has become big business, with the New Orleans-based event raking in upwards of $5 million in grosses for multiple years, with more than 100,000 tickets reported in 2015.

The lineup for this year’s Essence Fest has not yet been announced, but it takes place July 5-8 and tickets are available now. Last year’s event saw performances Diana Ross, Chance The Rapper, Mary J. Blige, Solange, John Legend and a reunion of R&B legends Xscape.

The event in Durban, South Africa began in 2016 and last year saw appearances from Jill Scott, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and the