Monday, September 19, 2011
Ebony Magazine: It's Not Just for Black People Anymore
How many of you are loyal readers of Ebony magazine? How many of you grew up in a house where the latest issue of Ebony was always on the coffee table? I did. Ebony magazine was like the Life magazine for Black people. But even as a child it felt old and dated. It was definitely my parents' magazine. The only sections I regularly read were the cartoons and the Ebony Advisor - the Dear Abby for desperate Black people.
As soon I left my parents' home, I stopped reading Ebony. In fact, I stopped thinking about Ebony. The Black world that Ebony covered had nothing to do with the Black life I wanted to lead. So, I read Essence instead. Essence and Glamour and Sassy and Marie Claire and all of the other typical women's magazines meant to tell me how to think, dress, love, eat and style my hair. And that was all fine for awhile. But then, as I settled into the life I live now, with children, a home, a Spanish husband, a complicated spiritual life, a career, etc, I was searching for a magazine that could speak to all parts of me. And people, imagine my surprise when I rediscovered Ebony magazine.
I'm not being totally honest. I knew Ebony went through a major metamorphosis in the last few years. They were almost shuttered, have gone through several new editors, a couple of re-designs and a true existential crisis trying to decide if a Black lifestyle magazine was even necessary in a post-racial, Obamaified America. But I wasn't ready to believe in a new Ebony just because they were new and improved. I waited for awhile before giving them another chance. I wanted their new editor-in-chief, Amy DuBois Barnett to get her game on before I took a peek. And people, I'm really excited about this new Ebony. The new Ebony seems to get me.
Case in point, this month's issue (Oct. 2011) has articles about gay Black parents, about a Black Buddhist, some great fashion pages, and a really great spread on famous people and their off-beat collections. As well as an interesting profile on Ambassador Susan Rice. The culture pages include books I want to read and films I'm definitely going to see. I read the issue cover to cover. A few months ago, I believe it was the May 2011 issue, they dedicated half the editorial space to dissecting biracial America.
I'm giving Barnett a huge round of applause for bringing Ebony into the 21st century and for showcasing in the magazine's pages, the diversity of the Black American experience. She's doing this with the help of some great writers too, writers themselves who exemplify the great range of Black thought. For the first time, I would say that Ebony isn't a magazine just for Black people. Now it's a magazine about Black people, for anyone interested in great editorial content.
I'm curious if anyone else has been reading the new Ebony? What do you think? Any non-Black people reading? What made you pick up a copy?
P.S. Jen Marshall Duncan is the winner of the "Same Family, Different Color" t-shirt. Jen, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize. Congrats!