Is The Rage At ESSENCE Hiring A White Fashion Director Validated?
Monday, July 26, 2010
Alright, Glamazons: by now we’re sure that you’ve read all about the news of ESSENCE magazine hiring Ellianna Placas as the new fashion director. What’s the big deal?
Well, Placas just happens to be a white woman and ESSENCE just happens to be a publication for black women by black women.
Can you see how this could be a bit of a controversy now?
As two former of employees of the mag, you’d be correct in thinking that Coutura and I were immediately saddened upon hearing the news. (Heck, Coutura even worked in the fashion department!) Since Agnes Cammock left the post several years ago, the mag has had some difficulty in finding a new hire. However, Coutura and I know for a fact that some of the top people in black fashion voiced that they’d never take that position due to its many restraints.
Finally one was found: Billie Causieestko, but she lasted for less than a year before being let go. The position has been open for quite some time and an interim person was placed in by Time, Inc until a replacement could be found.
Enter Placas, who apparently has several years’ magazine experience at pubs such as O Magazine
and US Weekly
According to a post on The Fashion Bomb
, Michaela Davis
(a former fashion director at ESSENCE) expressed feelings of hurt and disappointment at the hiring of Placas.
ESSENCE’s former Beauty and Cover Director Mikki Taylor
told The Glamazons
that she’d heard of the news about Placas’ hire while in Los Angeles but had no comments to make about the matter.
What do I think? I think that it’s a known fact that the fashion department at ESSENCE has been in shambles for a long time now. If Placas can come in and use her contacts in the fashion world to bring in more money for the mag, then that’s a good thing, right?
However, when you think about the historical aspect (as Davis points out) that should be upheld by ESSENCE by hiring only black women, then it is a rather sad thing. This could never be possible anyhow considering that it’s owned by Time, Inc which (by law) is an equal opportunity employer.
What do you think about this, Glamazons? Will you continue to read ESSENCE knowing that there’s a white fashion director?
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