Essence Returns To All-Black Ownership

For the first time in 12 years, Essence returned to all-black ownership. Time, Inc. sold Essence to Essence Ventures LLC, a company launched in 2017 by Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis.

Dennis, a native of Liberia, founded Sundial 26 years ago. In 2015, he sold a minority stake to private equity firm Bain Capital, which at the time valued the family-owned firm at $700 million. Last year, Sundial reported $240 million in revenue. In November, Dennis and Unilever established a $100 million “New Voices Fund” to back female black entrepreneurs.

Team Essence posted this statement on

It is with great joy that we announced today, Jan. 3, 2018, that Essence Communications is under new ownership: Essence Ventures LLC, an independent African-American-owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce.

We wish you could have been in the room to see the excitement and pride on the Essence Teams’ faces as we gave them the good news. The new journey on which we are embarking will be fueled not only by the passion we have (and have always had) for Black women, but also that Black women will be at the helm as we move forward. Michelle Ebanks will serve as the president of ESSENCE Communications.

Thank you, dear Essence audience, for being in our corner and supporting us over these last 47 years, and we hope you’ll continue to support our work, because we know that we work for you. And nothing makes us happier.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about the news, and how we can best serve you in the year ahead. Feel free to reach out to us on social media.

Thank You,


Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence at Time Inc., will remain at the helm and have a seat on the board of directors of the new company, which will be branded Essence Ventures.


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I am a digital content creator and have worked in the digital space for more than ten years. "Robinrazzi" is a nickname given from a former colleague because I'm known for having a camera in hand at all times. I have traveled the world covering entertainment events, celebrities and anything trending. I earned my BA in Communications from Penn State and a MS in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University. I currently serve as Director of Digital Content for WHUR and the Howard University Radio Network.

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