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Beyonce Covers Essence

Filed under: Beyonce

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A very happy looking Beyonce is on the front of Essence magazine's July issue.

The 4 songstress also penned her own cover story and dishes on her 9 month hiatus. Bey wrote:

"I had talked about taking a vacation before, but always ended up in the studio after two weeks, so no one believed me. This time, though, I was serious. I was going to give myself a year to do the things I never get to do. Simple things like play with my nephew, pick him up from school, visit museums, go to concerts, see some Broadway shows, learn to cook a meal and spend time with my husband… Yes, I needed some relaxation, but I wanted inspiration too, from regular everyday things. They did not have to be over-the-top productions. I was looking for tiny moments that would speak to my heart and make me smile…"

We're glad you took a break, but at the same time it's nice to have you back 'bb!

[Image courtesy of Essence.]

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Wendy Williams Pulls A Double For Essence

Filed under: Wendy Williams

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How's Wendy Williams doin'?

Great!

The talk show hostess and Dancing with the Stars contestant is on the cover of Essence magazine's May issue, which is all about girlfriends.

Lookin' good, girlfriend!

[Images courtesy of Essence.]

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Amber Riley In Essence

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We love us some fierce Amber Riley. But the Glee star looked a bit overly photoshopped in a feature for Essence magazine.

In the mag’s effort to have a Glee episode devoted to Chaka Khan, the stylists dressed Amber as her icon.

And while we’re liking the overall look, we wonder where did Amber’s left knee go in the photo with the silver dress?

She looked much better in a similar sparkling silver gown last month at the Golden Globes sans photoshop.

What do U think of the shots?

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The Cast Of For Colored Girls Cover Essence

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Pretty!

The ladies of Tyler Perry's much buzzed about film For Colored Girls are on the cover of Essence magazine's December issue looking great in their colorful dresses.

The all-star cast includes: Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington and Phylicia Rashād, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine and Tessa Thompson.

Lookin' good ladies!

[Image courtesy of Essence.]

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Women Protest At NYFW Over Essence' New Fashion Director

Filed under: Nina GarciaSpread 'EmFashion Week

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Back in July we told you about the controversy that erupted over Essence magazine hiring a new fashion director Ellianna Placas, who is white.

The magazine's editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray quickly responded to the public outcry with a statement defending her new hire and since then it's been relatively quiet — that is until last week.

On the opening day of New York Fashion week a group of black women staged a protest over Essence's hiring of a white fashion director and the lack of black fashion directors at any mainstream fashion publications.

Dressed in all black, the women carried signs that read the names of Essence' fashion directors from the past 40 years. They didn't speak one word as they made their way from Essence' Manhattan headquarters to Lincoln Center.

The event producer, Quan Lateef explains: "We chose to make this a silent demonstration because we were not angry or bitter. We didn’t need to shout or holler. We’re just over it! Whether the powers that be heard it or not, our silence spoke volumes."

Protester Bayyina Black says the problem isn't just with Essence, it's the industry as a whole, adding "On a larger scale, in the year 2010 there is only one woman of color, Nina Garcia, who is a fashion director in the entire fashion industry."

She makes a good point.

Thoughts???

[Image courtesy of Clutch Magazine.]

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Essence Celebrates Turning 40 With 3 Models

Filed under: ModelsNaomi CampbellSpread 'EmIman

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It's been 40 years since Essence magazine came out with their first issue and to celebrate, the magazine is recognizing 40 fierce and fabulous women.

On that list are the September issue supermodel cover stars Naomi Campbell, Iman and Liya Kebede.

As usual, Iman looks absolutely gorgeous and Liya looks great as well, but Naomi is a little disappointing.

Congrats on being so fierce and faboosh ladies!

[Image courtesy of Essence.]

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Essence' Editor-In-Chief Responds To New Fashion Director Controversy

Filed under: Fashion SmashionSpread 'Em

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Editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, Angela Burt-Murray has come forward to defend her choice of hiring Ellianna Placas as the mag's new fashion director.

Angela explains:

"I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience, however I selected Ellianna, who has been contributing to the magazine on a freelance basis for the last six months, because of her creativity, vision, the positive reader response to her work and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand. We remain committed to celebrating the unique beauty and style of African-American women in Essence magazine and online at Essence.com."

In addition to the above statement, Burt-Murray also wrote an opinion piece of The Grio, where she further defended her new hire:

As Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine I sometimes find myself in the unenviable position of ticking people off when it comes to matters of race…most recently my hiring of Ellianna Placas, who happens to be a white woman, to head our fashion department has stirred the passions of a small but vocal group in the blogosphere ("I feel like a girlfriend has died," stated one devastated African-American writer who not long ago wrote about coming to terms with her daughter pledging a white sorority for the magazine). Really?

I first got to know and came to respect Ellianna when she came to work with us nearly six months ago. We were conducting a search for a new director when she was hired to run the department on a freelance basis. I got to see firsthand her creativity, her vision, the positive reader response to her work, and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand. As such, I thought she'd make an excellent addition to our team. And I still do. This decision in no way diminishes my commitment to black women, our issues, our fights. I am listening and I do take the concerns to heart.

But interestingly enough, the things I think should most upset people and inspire boycotts and Facebook protests, often seem to go relatively unnoticed…When we run story after story on how HIV is the leading cause of death for black women age 18-34? Zilch. The things that really are the end of our world apparently aren't.

While the response to these important stories may not always be as strong as we would like or lead to immediate change, Essence remains committed to telling these stories. Forty years ago Essence was founded to empower, celebrate, and inspire black women to climb higher, go further and break down barriers. Our commitment to black women remains unchanged as we continue to stay laser-focused on those principles–no matter who works with us.

And there you have it.

Thoughts???

[Image via Getty Images.]

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