Essence Communications, Inc. (ECI) is out to capture the essence of African-American culture through publishing, fashion, and entertainment. The company publishes ESSENCE, a magazine geared toward African-American women, which has a monthly circulation of more than 1 million and a readership of 8.5 million. ECI also publishes books and online content (Essence.com), and has licensing operations. In addition, the company hosts the Essence Music Festival, which is held every Fourth of July weekend, and has featured superstars such as Prince, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, and Lionel Richie. The first issue of ESSENCE hit the newsstands in 1970. ECI is a subsidiary of Time Inc.
ECI book titles include ESSENCE: 25 Years Celebrating Black Women and Making It Happen: Creating Success and Abundance.
Other outgrowths of the Essence brand include the Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit, Window on Our Women (WOW I, II & III), Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, and the Essence Book Club. The company's Essence Studios operates ventures in digital media (such as mobile, television, and Video On Demand activities). ECI launched a site redesign of Essence.com in 2008.
The company's headquarters are in New York City, with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Detroit. As a result of the election of Barack Obama to the office of President, in 2009 ESSENCE appointed its first-ever Washington Correspondent to report on the Obama administration and policy issues of importance to the African-American community. Later that year the company formed a partnership with CNN to develop What Matters, a series of weekly news segments. – less