Essence Magazine Hires White Managing Editor Michael Bullerdick: Should it Matter?
The 40 year-old Black Womens magazine, Essence recently hired Michael Bullerdick, a white male, as its new managing editor. The magazine prides itself in being the voice of African-American women so this is definitely an eyebrow raiser for me.
There are a few steps to this controversy though. First, let me mention that Time Inc. bought out Essence in 2005 making it a non-black owned publication. Readers were outraged about this and threatened to stop subscribing, I’m sure some did.
From that time until now, there has been one controversy after another including covers of Diddy and Kim Porter and Reggie Bush (who at the time was dating Kim Kardashian) and internally, the hiring of Elliana Placas, a white Fashion Director and the unceremonious departure of Susan Taylor, Mikki Taylor (no longer Beauty Director) and finally, Editor-in-Chief, Angela Burt-Murray.
Earlier this week the new Editor-in-Chief of Essence Constance White told journalists “he (Bullerdick) has no involvement in the editorial content of the black women’s publication.” Do any of you really believe this?
For Bullerdick to be at the top of the decision-making team for Essence is bound to at least see some change whether we the readers see it or not. It’s hard to say that a white man who has the number two position in the company won’t be influential in terms of editorial content. And if the magazine should be the voice for black women, can a white man lead it? Not trying to come down on Bullerdick but the entire situation just rubs me the wrong way.
Last year when Ellianna Placas, a white woman, was named the Fashion Director of Essence people were NOT happy about it. The hiring of Placas, who previously worked for O: The Oprah Magazine and US Weekly, sparked a slew of angry comments and even a protest.
Judging from the reaction to Michael Bullerdick’s hiring, his position will be just as controversial. What do you think about Essence Magazine hiring a White Managing Editor? Should his race matter?
All I know is with all the drama surrounding Michael Bullerdick’s new role, he better WERK it and be the best Managing Editor ever!