Johnson Publishing Company

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Johnson Publishing Company
Industry Mass Media
Founded November 1942; 73 years ago (1942-11)
Founder John H. Johnson
Eunice W. Johnson
Headquarters 200 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois[1]
Key people
Linda Johnson-Rice
Desiree Rogers
(Chief Executive Officer)
Products Books, Magazines, Television, Cosmetics
Revenue US $90 million (2013)[2][3]

Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. is an American publishing company founded in November 1942 by John H. Johnson. Headquartered at 200 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Led by its flagship publication, Ebony, Johnson Publishing is the largest African-American-owned publishing firm in the United States. It also publishes Jet magazine and operates a book division, which has published books such as The New Ebony Cookbook and the more controversial Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream.


Johnson Publishing Company is privately held, and its chairman is founders daughter Linda Johnson-Rice. Desiree Rogers serves as the chief executive officer since 2010. In January 2011, the company sold its headquarters of 39 years located at 820 S. Michigan Avenue to Columbia College Chicago. Completed in 1972, the building was the first African-American owned in downtown Chicago.[4] In July 2011, it was announced that JPMorgan was to become a partner in the company. CEO Desiree Rogers stated that they hold a 'minority stake' and presence on the board.[5]

Ebony/Jet Celebrity Showcase[edit]

The company produced Ebony/Jet Celebrity Showcase, a spinoff television show from the two magazines that debuted in August 1982.[6] It was eventually pulled off the air because Johnson H. Johnson was dissatisfied with the quality of the guests.[7] After a one-year hiatus, it returned to syndication with a shortened title and an expanded format with segments on diet, fashion and health.[8] Ebony/Jet Showcase, a weekly, nationally syndicated TV show hosted by Greg Gumbel and Deborah Crable debuted in September 1985.[9][10] By the show's third year in 1987, it became the only Black-syndicated program to reach 92 percent of Black U.S television households and 73 percent of U.S. television households, strengthening its position as the No. 1 Black-oriented interview and entertainment show.[11]

Hair Care Cosmetics and Ebony Fashion Fair[edit]

In addition, Johnson Publishing produces a line of hair care products (Supreme Beauty) and cosmetics (Fashion Fair) marketed for African-American women. Each year it hosts the Ebony Fashion Fair, a traveling fashion show started in 1958 by Eunice W. Johnson that raises money for scholarships and charities in cities across the US and Canada.


The company produced the 1954 film The Secret of Selling the Negro Market, which was designed to encourage advertisers to promote their products and services in the African American media.

Johnson Headquarters at 820 S. Michigan Ave, 1973. Photo by John H. White.


  • Ebony - monthly general interest magazine, (November 1, 1945 - )[12]
  • Jet - weekly news magazine, (November 1, 1951 - )[13]
  • - branded web presence

Discontinued Publications[edit]

  • Ebony Jr! (May 1973 - October 1985),[14] resumed online in 2007[15]
  • Negro Digest (November 1942 - November 1951) resumed in June 1961, renamed Black World (May 1970 - April 1976)[16][17]
  • Tan Confessions (November 1950 - August 1952),[18] renamed Tan (Sept. 1952 - Oct. 1971),[19][20] renamed Black Stars[19]
  • Black Stars (November 1971 - July 1981)[21]
  • Hue (November 1953 - )[22]
  • Copper Romance (November 1953 - )[23]
  • Ebony Man: EM (November 1985 - January 1998)[24]
  • E Style (a catalog venture with Spiegel, September 1993 - )[25]
  • Ebony South Africa (November/December 1995 - 2000)[12][26]


  • Fashion Fair, LLC – cosmetics line
  • Ebony Fashion Fair – traveling fashion show
  • JPC Book Division – book publishing
  • JPC Consumer Products, LLC – Ebony lifestyle branding
  • Ebony/Jet Entertainment Group, LLC – branded multimedia entertainment

Former Divisions[edit]

  • Supreme Beauty Products (Duke/Raveen)
  • WJPC Radio (now under different ownership as WNTD)


  1. ^ Johnson Publishing Company - Contact Us
  2. ^ What Will We Really Be Losing in the Ebony/Jet Share Buyout?
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "JPMorgan Becomes Minority Investor in Johnson Publishing Co.". EURweb. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  External link in |work= (help)
  6. ^ "Ebony/Jet tv celebrity showcase set to air in Atlanta; Washington, D.C.". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 62 (25): 58. 1982-08-30. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  7. ^ Anderson, Charles P. (2005-06-21). "Ebony's Man". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  8. ^ Ebony/Jet Showcase. TV Guide. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  9. ^ "Ebony/Jet Showcase". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 40 (11): 148. September 1985. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  10. ^ "Ebony/Jet Showcase in TV debut". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 69 (1): 60. 1985-09-16. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  11. ^ "Backstage". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 43 (2): 23. December 1987. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  12. ^ a b "Newsmakers: Debut of 'Ebony South Africa' continues Ebony magazine's 50th anniversary celebration". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 89 (5): 36. 1995-12-11. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  13. ^ "Publisher's Statement: Four decades of the most important events and the most important people". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 81 (5): 4. 1991-11-18. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  14. ^ Ebony jr! (microform), Record No. b10212098. New York Public Library Catalog. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  15. ^ Henderson, Laretta (2008-07-15). Ebony Jr!: The Rise, Fall, and Return of a Black Children's Magazine. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810861348. 
  16. ^ Johnson, Abby Arthur; Johnson, Ronald Maberry (1991). Propaganda and Aesthetics: The Literary Politics of African-American Magazines in the Twentieth Century. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 162. ISBN 0870234021. 
  17. ^ Lomotey, Kofi (2009). "Negro Digest". Encyclopedia of African American Education 1. SAGE Publications. p. 490. ISBN 1412940508. 
  18. ^ Tan confessions (microform), Record No. b13837818. New York Public Library Catalog. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  19. ^ a b Roberson, Patt Foster (1994). "Johnson H. Johnson". In Riley, Sam G. American magazine journalists, 1900-1960, Series 2. Dictionary of literary biography 137. Gale Research. p. 132. ISBN 0810353962. 
  20. ^ Tan (Chicago, Ill.), Record No. b11834957. New York Public Library Catalog. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  21. ^ Black stars (microform), Record No. b10311894. New York Public Library Catalog. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  22. ^ Hue (Chicago, Ill.), Record No. b14153584. New York Public Library Catalog. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  23. ^ Copper Romance, Record No. b10707697. New York Public Library Catalog. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  24. ^ Ebony Man: EM, Record No. b11612236. New York Public Library Catalog. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  25. ^ Hinds, Julie (1993-10-06). "Expressing Culture -- E Style, An Afrocentric Catalog, Is The Latest Entry In The Hot `Ethnic' Market". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  26. ^ "Remembering Johnson H. Johnson". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 60 (12): 92. October 2005. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 


External links[edit]