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"It's very difficult for any size magazine to be standing out here alone without some other support elsewhere," Lewis said by telephone, adding that the magazine business has faced the additional challenges of changing technology and a punishing recession since he sold Essence to Time Inc. in 2005.
However, another founder, Jonathan Blount, wrote in a message posted on the website Naturally Moi that he stands with White and that Essence had strayed from his vision.
White disclosed in this column Friday that her departure as editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, made public Feb. 8, was involuntary and the result of repeated clashes with Martha Nelson, the editor-in-chief of Time Inc. who White says sought to limit the way black women were portrayed.
"I went in there with passion and excitement and high expectations," White told Journal-isms, referring to her 2011 hiring. "It wasn't what I expected at all."
However, Lewis, 72, senior adviser at Solera Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm, backed Time Inc. "To change the voice, I don't think would make any sense. They don't have a clue about African Americans. That's where we came in, and where we have come in for 43 years," the length of time Essence has published.
The proof that Time and Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc., are getting it right, Lewis said, is in the magazine's million-plus circulation and in the success of the Essence Festival, now in its 19th year.
Source: The Root | Richard Prince