They’re pioneers in Black media!
Ebony magazine is set for digital relaunch after more than 75 years of Black excellence, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Ebony was published first in 1945 by John H. Johnson, becoming a dominant influence documenting Black life for more than seven decades, including the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the 1965 Selma march, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968.
Like many print publications, the Chicago-based magazine struggled to navigate the digital era. Johnson Publishing sold Ebony and its sister publication Jet to CVG Group, a private equity firm in 2016. The company continued to wax and wane, eventually ceasing printing in the spring of 2019 and filing for bankruptcy in July 2020. Now, the company is relaunching, going completely digital with a recommitment to continuing Black excellence for 70+ more years.
Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is owner of Bridgeman Sports and Media, the former NBA player and fast food restaurant franchisee bought the company out of bankruptcy for $14 million in December. He is focusing on revamping the beloved publication and reclaiming its influence on the culture. The company will focus on elevating the Ebony brand to include TV and movie productions, beauty products, and other licensing opportunities with Bridgeman’s daughter, Eden Bridgeman overseeing Ebony 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 in one particular industry, one particular vertical. Our goal is to take the Ebony and Jet brand and diversify it into new industries,” Eden told reporters.
Michele Thornton Ghee, media veteran and former executive at CNN, A&E, History Channel and BET Networks, was brought on in January as CEO. She plans to lead the company in its rebirth along with a team of about seven employees, focused solely on ad-based revenue and freelance writers to provide editorial content. While Ebony will no longer be based in Chicago, Ghee understands that the city is still a critical market and an important part of the legacy.
“We’re going to ask for grace, because we did this quickly. 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,” Ghee said.
The new and improved Ebony launches March 1st via www.ebony.com.
Photo Courtesy of Ebony Magazine