Ebony (magazine)

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The 60th anniversary cover featuring actors Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, and Jamie Foxx, November 2005
Editor-In-Chief Amy DuBois Barnett
Former editors Bryan Monroe
Categories Lifestyle Magazine
Frequency Monthly
Publisher Johnson Publishing Company
Total circulation
First issue November 1, 1945; 68 years ago (1945-11-01)[2]
Company Johnson Publishing Company
Country  United States
Based in Chicago, Illinois
Language English
Website www.ebony.com
ISSN 0012-9011

Ebony is a monthly magazine for the African-American market. It was founded by John H. Johnson and has published continuously since the autumn of 1945. A digest-sized sister magazine, Jet, is also published by Johnson Publishing Company.[3]


Ebony cover photography has since its inception focused on African-American celebrities and politicians, such as Dorothy Dandridge, Mariah Carey, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Carol Moseley Braun, Barack Obama, Zoe Saldana, Tyrese Gibson and Tyler Perry. The magazine has evolved over the years, in 2010 starting an obvious and persistent redesign with an end goal of updating and enlivening the age-old brand. In the past, the magazine was persistently upbeat, much like its generic contemporary Life. Ebony, edited by John H. Johnson, has striven always to address African-American issues, personalities and interests in a positive and self-affirming manner. Advertisers have for decades created ads specifically for the pages of Ebony that featured black models using their products.[citation needed] However, nowadays, many ads already feature black people – no matter the publication; and Ebony frequently runs ads that feature non-black models.

In November 2010, the magazine featured a special 65th anniversary edition cover featuring Taraji P. Henson, Samuel L. Jackson, Usher and Mary J. Blige. A second cover showcased Nia Long atop a birthday cake – Marilyn Monroe-style. Inside that issue were eight cover recreations from historic and iconic old covers of Ebony. Blair Underwood posed inside, as did Omar Epps and Jurnee Smollett. Mary J. Blige even made her 1940s-style recreation image her Twitter profile picture. This was the beginning, according to National Public Radio, of the obvious changes at Ebony. Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers became the CEO, becoming the latest in a string of management changes in the past five years. In August 2008 the magazine published a special 8-cover edition featuring the "25 Coolest Brothers of All Time". The lineup featured Jay-Z, Barack Obama, Prince, Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington, Marvin Gaye, Muhammad Ali and Billy Dee Williams.[4]

Ebony frequently makes headlines in the blogosphere and in the mainstream press. The November 2011 cover features a pregnant Nia Long, reminiscent of the iconic image of Demi Moore posing naked on a magazine two decades earlier. Some of Ebony′s more conservative readers disagreed with the cover choice, stating it inappropriate to feature an unwed, pregnant woman on the cover. However, another segment of the population found the cover interesting enough to feature in US Weekly and in a five-minute segment on CNN. Zoe Saldana covered the August 2011 issue, and some readers questioned the viability of a Black latina cover star. However, the Avatar actress seemed to open Ebony to a new segment – Americans of mixed black American and Hispanic ancestry. Recent issues question whether President Obama is still right for black America and whether biracial Americans need more acknowledgement in today's society. Also, in June 2010, Ebony ran an article about radio personality Robin Quivers, long-time sidekick of radio host Howard Stern, in which Quivers was asked if she considered herself a "sell out" for working with a predominantly white media. Quivers dismissed the question.

In December 2008, Google announced that it was scanning back issues for Google Book Search; currently, all issues from November 1959 to December 2008 are available for free.[5] In 2010, the Johnson Publishing Company sold its historic building to Columbia College Chicago. The move into a new building was scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. The company also recently sold a portion of itself to Chase Bank so as to secure more cashflow for Ebony, Jet and the Johnson-owned cosmetics line, Fashion Fair.


  1. ^ "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Audit Bureau of Circulations. June 30, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Editors (November 1992). "From Negro Digest to Ebony, Jet and Em – Special Issue: 50 Years of JPC – Redefining the Black Image". Ebony. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  4. ^ Editors (July 7, 2008). "Ebony: The 25 Coolest Brothers Of All Time". TaleTela. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  5. ^ Dave Foulser (December 9, 2008). "Search and find magazines on Google Book Search". Google. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 

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