When we learned that Shea Moisture founder, Richelieu Dennis, had sold the company to Unilever, the parent company for Dove, many of us (myself included) felt that Dennis hadn’t been completely honest about the direction the company was headed. I, of course, wanted to believe the company would continue to be for us by us, as Dennis had assured us, but um, that clearly wasn’t all the way true. But real talk? I’m not all that business-savvy, and if Unilever made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, who am I to throw bones? Black-owned businesses remaining black-owned is something we’d all like to see happen, but I can’t all the way judge folks who “sell-out.” I can deep-sigh, and side-eye ’em a little bit, but that’s about all I can do. High-level business wheelings and dealings aren’t exactly my forte.
According to the release:
ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks will continue at the helm of the company and will also join its board of directors. In addition, the all Black female executive team of ESSENCE, including Ebanks, will have an equity stake in the business.
“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”
“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.”
Through the Essence Ventures’ investment and resulting incremental growth opportunities, ESSENCE will focus on expanding its digital businesses via distribution partnerships, compelling original content and targeted client-first strategies. In addition, the brand will expand its international growth by planting its rich content ecosystem, including the flagship magazine, digital properties and successful live event franchises, in more global markets with women who have shared interests and aspirations.
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