ESSENCE.com

For months, ESSENCE – the leading media, technology and commerce company serving Black women and communities – had planned an impressive schedule of activities and celebrations to launch in May 2020 in honor of its 50th anniversary. Then, the COVID-19 global pandemic hit – with Black communities being most disproportionately impacted in the United States. Still, demonstrating how it has been able to thrive for five decades, ESSENCE has continued with a relentless commitment and innovation in service to its community – providing critical content, digital and virtual offerings, a new streaming platform and more to inform, empower and inspire during these times.

That same sense of purpose compelled ESSENCE to shift its 50th anniversary strategy amidst the pandemic and launch its Golden Anniversary Collector’s Edition issue entirely remotely for the first time ever -- paying homage to the incredible legacy of its community, while also capturing the current realities brought on by a global pandemic. In honor of ESSENCE’s milestone year, iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell partnered with ESSENCE to grace the magazine’s first self-shot and styled cover. In Campbell’s cover story, At Home With: Naomi Campbell, the supermodel prepares to celebrate her own milestone 50th birthday later this month and takes readers inside her life with an intimate self-portrait during COVID-19 social isolation. Using an iPhone, Campbell shot and styled all the photos herself -- marking the first time she has ever photographed herself for a cover.

ESSENCE’s special Golden Anniversary issue also takes a look at some of the joys, pains, laughter, triumphs and stories that have impacted the Black community over the past half-century—including the novel coronavirus and its effects on the lives of Black women and the community at-large today. Throughout this special edition, readers will be able to travel through time for some of the most inspiring, stirring and significant moments shaping and shaped by Black culture throughout ESSENCE’s 50 years—as well as look to what’s ahead, particularly post-COVID-19. ESSENCE is also inviting its community into the coverage and conversation by sharing their own COVID-19 stories for ESSENCE.com. Click here for details.

"Our nation and our world are enduring a crisis at a scale that our generation has never seen, but this time also reminds us of the power of our resilience, innovation and community – which have sustained ESSENCE for 50 years and will help ensure it thrives for the next 50 advancing global Black culture, economic inclusion and ownership," said Richelieu Dennis, founder and chair of Essence Ventures, parent company of ESSENCE. "We could not be more excited to mark the 50th Anniversary of ESSENCE as a 100% Black-owned business that has not only revolutionized the publishing and media industries, but that has also become a cultural institution and home for Black women and communities globally. Since its inaugural issue in May 1970, ESSENCE has expanded beyond the pages of a ground-breaking flagship magazine to multi-platform stages, experiences, and digital and brand extensions including the unparalleled ESSENCE Festival of Culture, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood, ESSENCE.com, ESSENCE Studios, industry-recognized podcasts, television specials, books and more. We have been able to do this because of our uncompromising focus on the evolving needs of our community and our community’s unyielding support of us. While we have shifted the majority of the ESSENCE 50th Anniversary activities and engagements to 2021, this incredible special collector’s edition issue marks the beginning of our milestone celebration of Black culture, community, achievement, progress and the work that remains to be done.”