Ebony magazine is back!
After launching in 1945 by John H. Johnson, Ebony has become a force of influence documenting Black life for more than seven decades.
According to the Chicago Tribune, after 75 years of Black excellence, including the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the 1965 Selma march, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968, the magazine returned for a digital relaunch.
Faced with the common print publication’s struggle with staying afloat in the digital era, Johnson Publishing sold Ebony and its sister publication Jet to CVG Group, a private equity firm in 2016.
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The company continued to try and navigate the new era but fell short, ultimately ending print in the spring of 2019 and filing for bankruptcy in July 2020.
Today, the company has gone completely digital and has remained committed to celebrating Black excellence for 70-plus more years.
Former NBA player, fast food franchisee, and the owner of Bridgeman Sports and Media, Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman purchased the company out of bankruptcy for $14 million in December 2020.
Bridgeman is focused on reclaiming Ebony’s influence on the culture and aims to take the brand to new heights with TV and movie productions, beauty products, and other licensing opportunities with his daughter, Eden Bridgeman Sklenar. She will oversee the magazine’s business operations.
“Being able to diversify our family’s business through the years allows us to understand that no business is going to be able to sustain itself if it’s just one particular industry, one particular vertical,” Eden said in a recent interview. “Our goal is to take the Ebony and Jet brand and diversify it into new industries.”
Media veteran, Michele Thornton Ghee was tapped in January as the company’s new CEO. The former CNN, A&E History Channel, and BET Networks executive, has a plan to lead the company in its rebirth with a team of about seven full-time employees. They will focus solely on ad-based revenue and freelance writers to provide editorial content.
Ghee also shared that Chicago will no longer be the home for the company, although she understands the city’s importance to the brand’s legacy. She also doubles down that the city will still be a critical market for the publication.
“We’re going to ask for grace because we did this quickly,” said Ghee. “But we are in a rush to show that we have great intentions. Our destination is in everyone’s home. Our commitment is not to any city, but to the black community. We know who our boss is and our boss is them, and their opportunity to have the truth. And we want to provide that.
Click here to check out the new and improved Ebony magazine!