Essence Founder Dismisses Constance White's Complaints

Edward Lewis says he would sell Essence again to Time Inc. again because the publication needs the financial support.

Posted: 03/13/2013 09:45 AM EDT

Edward Lewis, one of Essence magazine's founders, said he would "absolutely" sell to Time Inc. again and dismissed former Editor-in-Chief Constance White's complaints following her firing from her position.  

"It's very difficult for any size magazine to be standing out here alone without some other support elsewhere," he told Journal-isms. The magazine was sold to Time Inc. in 2005.

Lewis, 72, believes the success of the publication under Time is evident in its million-plus circulation and reader support at Essence Music Festival. Lewis is now a senior adviser at Solera Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm. He added that changing the voice of the publication "would not make any sense."  

"They [Time] don't have a clue about African-Americans. That's where we came in, and where we have come in for 43 years," Lewis states. 

Journal-isms reports

Lewis also denied that longtime editor Susan L. Taylor had been pushed out, as White said, maintaining that Taylor and he were given severance contracts for the following three years. He added that Gordon Parks Sr., the famed photographer and early Essence editorial director, was not part of the magazine's DNA, as White asserted. "Gordon Parks really had nothing to do with it," Lewis said. Parks at one time unsuccessfully claimed control of the magazine.

Asked whether he had any advice for White, Lewis said, "She's got a wonderful resume and accomplishments. I hope she would continue to stay in the magazine business, and I wish her the best."

Read full story here.

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 (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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