Last month, Essence readers were shocked to find out editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White would be leaving the magazine. She released the news of her departure in a statement without much explanation, but in a recent interview with Journal-isms, she finally revealed why.

The former editor-in-chief  said she was “involuntary” asked to leave the magazine after repeated disagreements with Time Inc. editor-in-chief Martha Nelson.

“I had a certain point of view about black women being central to this magazine. The boss didn’t agree with me and the president didn’t agree with me,” she wrote.

When she was hired in 2011, White said she “went in there with passion and excitement and high expectations.” But, she revealed, “it wasn’t what I expected at all.”

Essence is known as the nation’s leading magazine for  black women, but White accused Time Inc. of putting too many limits on the brand. “What needs to happen is the reader is getting lost and the reader has to be at the center. To make their world smaller is unacceptable.’ she said. “When was the last time you saw Essence in the community advocating for or talking with Black women?”

White said conflicts between the magazine and Time Inc. have been happening since the publishing company purchased Essence Communications, 49 percent in 2000 and the remaining 51 percent in 2005. “How is it that from 2000, when Susan [L. Taylor, longtime editor] left — she was pushed out — we have had about five editors, including two acting editors, yet Essence continues to decline? So where’s the problem? And the editors are the black women. ‘They are disposable. Let’s keep changing them,'” she said. “The point is, it didn’t start with me.”

White said the final straw came in January. “My boss said, ‘you know what? It’s time to go.’ I was asked to leave my position. I asked, ‘Was it something we can discuss, or has the decision been made?’ She said, ‘The decision has been made.'”

What are your thoughts on White’s departure? Sound off in the comments below!

Originally seen on 

6 thoughts on “Former Essence Editor-in-Chief Details Why She Left Time Inc.

  1. I agree with Rita if a magazine does not support my ideas and thoughts on how I perceive the world
    very well said. I have loved essence, ebony, jet all my life, my mom has had a subscription since I was a little girl. and we have always talked and read together and it showed us how black women where perceived and how far we had come. it was exciting but now with all these women being fired or let go. for no reason lets ask ourselves why? why are they giving these women bad names, because that is what it boils down to. susan taylor was sharing some things about her life and she admitted that she herself had been battling Depression. And at that time I thought I was the only one
    who had battled that for years and had overcome it. I was very happy to here her share her private life. and how we as we woman can get help. its really sad how they have turned on these women. I’m very sad. to hear about another editor and chief being fired. what is going on within this company are they trying to be something that they are not.

  2. d mcgrue on said:

    I have tried on a continuos basis to support the few publications that target a BLACK audience. It is said to say that in the year of 2013 that people of color do not understand people of color – that we still need someone from the promise land to dictate on what we should be doing inregardless that we too are educated and that we can think on our own and quite frankly lead AMERICA. This article is so indicative of where we are today in the eyes of others. We need to teach our children and make them aware of the darkness that surrounds them when it comes to equality in these UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I will no longer subscibe to Essence or any other magazine that does not give our communities a positive message.

  3. Shocking news, I cannot support a magazine that does not support my ideas and thoughts on how I perceive the world in which I live in. Every Editor in Chief of Essence have been very accomplished in their field of work and it is others total arrognace and assumption of privelege that they can dictate what women of a different heritage and culture hopes and dreams are for their lives. We must hold each other up and these great women because these ladies allowed us to stand on their shoulders too. I have been idolizing Essence since the 70’s when mu oldest sister subscribed to the magazine, wow was I proud to see a magazine that looked and represented me.

  4. When Susan Taylar left I cancelled my subscription. Essence was one of the few magazines that focused soley on Black Women. Now they want it to becaome more and more white. No more money from me!

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