Essence Magazine Co-Founder Edward Lewis Speaks on and Starting a Magazine for Black Women + ‘Time of Essence’ Documentary Coming This August [ABFF 2023]

ESSENCE magazine, a groundbreaking publication that has been at the forefront of celebrating the beauty and achievements of Black women, has a remarkable origin story. Founded by four Black men in 1968, the company’s story will be told in its upcoming five-part documentary ‘Time of Essence’ premiering this August on Own.

Recently, during the 27th American Black Film Festival held in Miami, Florida, I had the incredible opportunity to speak with one of ESSENCE’s co-founders, Edward Lewis, before a screening of the first episode of the highly anticipated five-part documentary series. As we delved into the discussion, one question resonated strongly: Why did these Black men feel inspired to create a magazine for Black women?

Lewis passionately explained the motivation behind their groundbreaking endeavor. They recognized the need to amplify the voices, experiences, and beauty of Black women, who had long been underrepresented and under-appreciated. ESSENCE has surpassed expectations and has become one of the most vital and influential magazines in the industry, transcending decades and shaping the cultural landscape. Lewis spoke with pride about the legacy they started and continue to create.

Time of Essence Make will premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), August 18th. This five-part documentary will take viewers on a remarkable journey, featuring candid interviews with ESSENCE’s founders, editors, and cover stars such as Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Regina Hall, Taye Diggs, Gabrielle Union-Wade, and Vanessa Williams, among others.

The docu-series offers an intimate and comprehensive look into the rise of ESSENCE magazine, capturing its profound impact on the lives of Black women and the broader cultural landscape. It begins at the magazine’s inception, a pivotal moment when four visionary Black men united to create a publication that would showcase the beauty and resilience of Black women.

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