OWN’s Time Of Essence first episode of the five-part docuseries, with the magazine’s early origins, starting in the 1970s by four Black men—Ed Lewis, Cecil Hollingsworth, Clarence Smith and Jonathan Blount—who intended to create a magazine catered to Black women, something unprecedented at a time where most women targeted editorials were geared towards a white gaze.
The magazine was launched in 1968 amid the turmoil that accompanied the Vietnam War, Black Power Movement, and the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. ESSENCE was born because the Black community of that time needed hope.
The foursome needed to raise funding and aimed to raise $1,000,000. Freedom National Bank of Harlem provided $13,000 to fund their project. Hugh Hefner contributed $250,000.
Founded by Black men and created for Black women, the magazine’s early editorial aughts included the masterminds of several Black women whose editorial vision helped shape the magazine into what it could be. The magazine’s first editor-in-chief, Bernadette Carey, often butted heads…