By Charise Wallace, Special to the AFRO

Once a shift of Black ownership tapped into ESSENCE Communications by Shea Moisture founder, Richelieu Dennis a new chapter was began according to the narrative emphasized at “My Journey: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” an event held a celebration and discussion at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

While overlooking the District on March 29, Dennis and ESSENCE Communications President, Michelle Ebanks, joined in on a conversation with {The Real} TV host, comedienne and radio personality of Cafe Mocha Radio, Loni Love, along with Fox 5 anchor, Allison Seymour to discuss the future of the magazine, entrepreneurship from local to global, and creativity to keep the 48-year-old brand standing.

Comedienne and Talk Show Host, Loni Love, ESSENCE Communications President, Michelle Ebanks, Richelieu Dennis, new owner of ESSENCE Communications, and Alison Seymour, anchor on Fox 5 News, at the My Journey: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy Photo)

“Susan B. Taylor always says that “ESSENCE has angels’,” said Ebanks, referencing the former Editor and Chief of the brand. “ESSENCE is about story telling with purpose…our minds are wired to understand stories…That’s the beauty of understanding…having this expertise and knowing that it’s been done so that we can truly serve our audience and tell more stories.”

The first Black women’s magazine wants to continue expanding the brand by utilizing their “community commerce model” in order to reach African American  female entrepreneurs from all local communities and  then expand to reach global profits.

Currently, the platform is looking to provide $100 million worth of funding for Black women businesses.

“Every platform will grow expeditiously,” she said. “Our digital platform, our video platform, our live events platform, and our magazine platform because we need to reach more of our women and across more verticals that serve, you know…their needs.”

The room was filled with leaders, entrepreneurs, as well as future movers and shakers that got the inside scoop on how to keep their current and future businesses to reach mainstream audiences.

“I think that it’s just important to really know who you are…to carry the strength of our ancestors wherever we go,” Seymour said during a Facebook Live interview with AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, Micha Green. “If we have that inside of us…we can be unstoppable, we just gotta get to it.”

Dennis, who continues to expand his beauty lines under Sundial Brands to now partnering with Unilever explained the strategies to take ESSENCE on to the next level. “What we’ve had the good fortune of doing was not just disruptive to the current state, but it was also disruptive to the future state,” he said. “What Michelle is talking about is that same model and the excitement that comes around when you don’t think about ESSENCE as any of these other boxes, but simply think about it as we’re here to serve the black community, black women in particular, and where are those opportunities to serve.”

The event was presented by Cafe Mocha Radio, Ubiquitous Beauty, Hair and Health Expo, Miles Ahead Entertainment, Toyota Motor North America, Mielle Organics, Metro and more.