Essence magazine is taking heat this summer for a new hire. The magazine that for decades has been known for fashion, lifestyle and beauty content for African-American women has hired Michael Bullerdick, a white man, to serve as managing editor.
Many are finding this decision to be controversial because he is a white man and now will be presumably responsible to take on the day-to-day content management of the magazine.
Christelyn Karazin, broke the story of Essence hiring Bullerdick, last week on her blog Beyond Black & White. Karazin was candid in her resentment for the magazine placing a white man in charge of managing its substance.
“Personally, I care not about Mr. Bullerdick swinging his manhood all over the New York offices of Time Warner. It was inevitable. Essence has become completely irrelevant to a new segment of black women who actually feel like their smarts, looks and loyalty should be appreciated…,” said Karazin.
Constance White, Editor-In-Chief of Essence, recently talked about Bullerdick’s new role with the magazine. In a statement to Journal-isms, White said, “Michael is responsible for production and operational workflow. He has no involvement in editorial content.”
Last year Essence made headlines with the hire of Elliana Placas, a white women, to head up the magazine’s fashion department.
In an exclusive op-ed for theGrio.com, the former Editor-in-Chief of Essence , Angela Burt-Murray weighed in on her decision to hire Placas.
When I set out to hire a new fashion director I certainly had no idea I would end up making this decision. I first got to know and came to respect Ellianna when she came to work with us nearly six months ago. We were conducting a search for a new director when she was hired to run the department on a freelance basis. I got to see firsthand her creativity, her vision, the positive reader response to her work, and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand. As such, I thought she’d make an excellent addition to our team. And I still do. This decision in no way diminishes my commitment to black women, our issues, our fights. I am listening and I do take the concerns to heart.
Forty years ago Essence was founded to empower, celebrate, and inspire black women to climb higher, go further and break down barriers. Our commitment to black women remains unchanged as we continue to stay laser-focused on those principles—no matter who works with us.
According to Bullerdick’s LinkedIn profile, he has several years of experience in the print media industry, having served as managing editor at American Media, PawPrint Magazine and Celebrity Living.