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Brand New Day

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Ebony Magazine’s 65th Anniversary Issue: November 2010

As news circulates on the internet regarding the totally made over Ebony Magazine, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite feel good songs,  Brand New Day from The Wiz. You know the one…

Just look about
You owe it to yourself to check it out
Can’t you feel a brand new day?
Can’t you feel a brand new day?

Linda Johnson Rice (Chairman, Johnson Publishing) and Desirée Rogers (CEO, Johnson Publishing) Strike a Pose for the New York Times

For years, we stood by and witnessed a highly respected institution in the Black community die a slow and painful death. What was once a must-have on the coffee tables of EVERY Black home in America had involved into something you only glanced at during moments of boredom in the checkout line.

EBONY Magazine circa 2008

Today, I’m happy to see that three beautiful, smart and you guessed it, FLY women of color are joining forces to resuscitate the largest and oldest Black-owned media company in the world…

Linda Johnson Rice

First up, we have Linda Johnson Rice. As the daughter of Johnson Publishing Company’s founder, John H. Johnson, Linda began preparing for her publishing career at the age of six, frequenting the offices of the Ebony Magazine, which her father founded in 1942. While she was a child, Johnson played around in the fashion department of Ebony magazine where she visited with her mother who was the secretary-treasurer and fashion editor. At the age of 29, Linda Johnson Rice became one of the youngest publishing executives in the country when she was named president and chief operating officer of the Johnson Publishing Company in 1987.

Desirée Rogers

Next, we have the überclassy style icon and former White House Social Secretary, Desirée Rogers. While Rogers is new to the publishing industry, she has definitely paid her dues in the worlds of business and marketing. A Harvard MBA, Rogers is the former director of the Illinois State Lottery and first female and African-American president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, which serves the Chicagoland area.

When asked how she plans to direct Desirée, Linda Johnson Rice stated, “I will let Desirée be Desirée, and all that goes with that.” Love this!

Amy DuBois Barnett

Last but certainly not least, let’s give it up for Amy DuBois Barnett! With a wealth of publishing industry experience, Barnett has aligned her talents with some of the best-selling glossies on the newsstand and was most recently the deputy editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Prior to that, Barnett helped run Teen People and was the first Black woman in the country to head a major mainstream consumer magazine. You may also remember her days at Honey Magazine, where she was part of the hard-working team that doubled the mag’s circulation.

Pretty impressive combination, right? And from the looks of things, these women get it. New and improved design, the recruitment of fresh and forward-thinking talent and the realization that in today’s digital age, online content is just as important as your monthly publication.

Ladies, let’s show some love and support for this results-driven trio as they work diligently to revamp the Ebony and Jet brands. Every great accomplishment in life starts with the decision to try. Can’t wait to see how this story unfolds!

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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