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The Man from Essence

Creating a Magazine for Black Women

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Essence magazine is the most popular, well respected, and largest circulated black women’s magazine in history. Largely unknown is the remarkable story of what it took to earn that distinction.

The Man from Essence depicts with candor and insight how Edward Lewis, CEO and publisher of Essence, started a magazine with three black men who would transform the lives of millions of black American women and alter the American marketplace. Throughout Essence’s storied history, Ed Lewis remained the cool and constant presence, a quiet-talking corporate captain and business strategist who prevailed against the odds and the naysayers. He would emerge to become the last man standing—the only partner to survive the battles that raged before the magazine was sold to Time, Inc. in the largest buyout of a black-owned publication by the world’s largest publishing company.

By the time Lewis did the deal with Time, the little magazine that limped from the starting gate in 1970 with a national circulation of 50,000, had grown into a powerhouse with a readership of eight million.

The story of Essence is ultimately the story of American business, black style. From constant battles with a racist advertising community to hostile takeover attempts, warring partners packing heat, mass firings, and mass defections—all of which revealed inherent challenges in running a black business—the saga is as riveting as any thriller.

In this engaging business memoir, Ed Lewis tells the inspiring story of how his own rise from humble South Bronx beginnings to media titan was shaped by the black women and men in his life. This in turn helped shape a magazine that has changed the face of American media.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 21, 2014 – Written with great candor and detail, Lewis, one of the cofounders of Essence magazine, a pioneering publication for America’s black women, recounts his life as a businessman and publisher, with a successful 40-year run from its 1970 launch with a circulation of 50,000 to its sale to Time Warner in 2005 with a circulation of 1.1 million. His hardscrabble childhood in the Bronx, raised by a single mother, is nothing unusual, but as in Camille Cosby’s astute foreword, it is the ingredients of that youth that make Lewis the perfect candidate for the Essence project: “a positive paradigm of black manhood… with a great respect for black women.” He weathered early fumbles such as losing a college football scholarship and flunking out of law school before fashioning a magazine paying homage to the Essence woman, who the author describes as smart, stylish, ambitious with “tremendous purchasing power.” Along the way, Lewis mentions the nasty feuds and firings of associates and editors, his personal relationships, and the events that led up to his angioplasty operation. This is a powerful chronicle of a purposeful life and how a collaborative project served as an inspirational beacon to the black community.
The Man from Essence
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jun 10, 2014
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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