Essence Communications purchased by founder of Shea Moisture

CEO of SheaMoisture Richelieu Dennis on Feb. 15, 2015, in New York City (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for SheaMoisture)

A black business owner purchasing a large company from a white business owner is something that you don’t see often in this day and age. This is what happened when the founder of Shea Moisture and owner of Essence Ventures LLC, Richelieu Dennis, purchased ESSENCE Communications (ESSENCE Magazine and ESSENCE Music Festival) from Time Inc. ESSENCE announced the transaction on Twitter on January 3, 2018.

You’ll see plenty of articles with details about this very significant business acquisition. I won’t rewrite those articles here. Instead, I would like to thank Bennett Raglin of Getty Images for SheaMoisture for the blackest photo I have seen since the one of Bree Newsome snatching down the Stars and Bars from a flag pole in South Carolina. Determined and cool (but not grinning), Mr. Dennis looks straight into the camera wearing a black leather jacket over what appears to be an even darker black scarf, standing in front of a sign for a (essentially) black women’s hair and skincare product line. I would also like to thank the media outlets who have opted to use this photo. Unsmiling black men don’t seem to be very popular or “clickable” now days.

On the other hand, there is the past advertising controversy, where a SheaMoisture ad placed vignettes about disappointment with straight and loosely curled hair on the same platform as the deep psychological trauma of women with tightly coiled, kinky hair trying to deal with tyrannical eurocentric beauty standards. On the other-other hand I am willing to bet that SheaMoisture will not attempt a cross-over with ESSENCE. They apologized for the controversial ad and pulled it. Furthermore, Micelle Ebanks will remain the President of ESSENCE Communications.