Before Michele Thornton Ghee was named CEO of 1145 Holdings, LLC in a press release — the parent company of the iconic Ebony and Jet Magazine — she had a career in the media industry that spanned three decades.
She generated billions of dollars for companies like WME, CNN, A&E, The History Channel, and BET Networks.
During her tenure at BET, she created, launched, and managed BETHer, which bills itself as “the first and only network for Black women.”
Now, this titan of industry is taking her wealth of experience to the legendary Ebony and Jet Magazine, while promising to “revitalize” the classic brands to bring them into the 21st century.
“Everything we say will come through the lens of Black journalists,” said Ghee, in a statement, according to Yahoo Finance. “We will ensure there is a safe space for Black journalism to thrive.”
In the past, Ghee focused on strategy, revenue generation, and — perhaps most importantly — recognizing the importance of Black culture. Ebony and Jet Magazine’s decision to place Ghee in such an important role for their future development seems to not only acknowledge her past accomplishments but sends the message that Black media is intended for — and will remain in the hands of — Black men and women.
This is especially salient when you consider how many Black companies — including BET — were bought out or otherwise owned by non-Black men and women. The further companies get away from the Black voices that made them successful, the less authentic they are — and the more they have to enlist outside sources to get that “authenticity” back.
That, however, doesn’t seem to be a problem for Ebony and Jet Magazine. With the hiring of Ghee, authentic Black voices telling authentic Black stories will continue to be heard.
“Our brands’ main responsibility will be to focus completely on what our beloved audience wants and needs with bold informed editorial, brilliant content, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. Paying homage to Mr. Johnson’s legacy means that my team will carve-out and create our own path. We will NOT succumb to the status quo,” she said. “I’m a little Black girl from Oakland, CA. I’m not apologizing for any of it. Our voices matter. We are history in the making!”