Mattie Memo: 3 Reasons Why We Need ESSENCE Africa


After 40 years of ESSENCE here in the US, why is there no ESSENCE Africa?



So not too long ago there was a campaign for Vogue Africa. After a valiant effort made by Cameroonian photographer Mario Epanya, Conde Nast turned down the proposal. So, then a thought occurred to me: Why is there no ESSENCE Africa? After 40 years, you would think there would be some sort of effort put towards that. Here are 3 reasons why I think that an ESSENCE Africa would serve a better purpose and actually have a chance.



CELEBRATED, NOT TOLERATED. As long as ESSENCE has existed, it has always been unapologetically for the Black woman. Now, I’m no expert, but if I’m not mistaken you won’t find more Black women anywhere on Earth other than Africa. The publication could expand its audience globally and tap into the African fashion and beauty market that’s so often overlooked. ESSENCE has always done its best to serve the Black woman with substantial advice, great buys and celebrity features that are so easily related to here in the US. Africa is craving for the same material, if not more. Many times, the Black woman can’t get everything they need from a Western or European magazine. They seem to be more “mainstream.” ESSENCE Africa could serve as a platform for African women – from their dating and social issues to the designers they like to wear.



WHY NOT AFRICA? I mean this question could be asked to Conde Nast as well, but why wouldn’t ESSENCE want to expand their legacy to Africa? It would help make them global and they would capture the Black woman in totality – instead of just the US. There’s such a void in African publications solely for women that ESSENCE would marvel across the board. People would certainly buy it, and the truth is, products from the US do extremely well when they make their way to Africa. ESSENCE would be no different. The continent alone has over 50 countries but even if it was only in the top 10 countries like Nigeria and South Africa, they would easily triple their readership.



GLOBAL EXPANSION. Across the globe, job opportunities are anemic. ESSENCE Africa would help Black writers and editors at a vast scale. Sure, it’s not ESSENCE’s responsibility to employ every single writer of color, but it sure wouldn’t hurt the Black writer community. So many times, we vent about the opportunity to showcase our talents to the world and ESSENCE Africa would be doing just that. Literally. As a Black writer…stylist…editor…expert…whatever have you, it’s hard enough to find a place here in the US and we have numerous outlets. Think about how enlightening this could be for the African writer community: Serving up a magazine that has credibility within the Black community and bringing it to the Blackest place on the planet…Africa. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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