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White editor hired at black magazine, uproar follows

entertainment Updated: Jul 29, 2010 18:09 IST

Hindustan Times
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Essence, a Time Inc.-owned monthly that is seen as the ultimate fashion and lifestyle title for black women, is wrestling with a controversy sparked by a former fashion editor who criticized the magazine's decision to hire a white woman as its new fashion director.

That’s what the founding fashion director of Vibe wrote on Facebook, “The fashion industry has historically been so hostile to black people—especially women,” and calling the hiring of Ellianna Placas “a dark day.”

Michelle Obama Essence MagazineMore than 90 comments have been left, from those expressing disappointment to those urging we "cut a little slack." Essence's editor-in-chief says Placas, who previously worked at O: The Oprah Magazine and Us Weekly, will not be replaced regardless of the controversy.

Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray told Media Ink she's aware of the controversy now playing out on Facebook but said she's not changing course.

And Hamilton Nolan weighs in on Gawker: “Should a white person be the top editor of Essence? Probably not unless it's absolutely necessary. Should a white lady be fashion editor of Essence? It's fine with me.”