The hiring of the White editor back in 2010 caused quite a stir for the magazine because many resented that a Black woman was not placed at the helm of its fashion department.
Placas was hired by the magazine’s former editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray. The formidable Black institution’s decision to bring on a White fashion director did not sit well with many of the magazine’s readers and supporters and a tumultuous backlash ensued.
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With some even cancelling their magazine subscriptions, many wondered how a White woman could dictate the style and beauty of a Black woman? Furthermore, some wondered how Essence could demonstrate such blatant disregard for the Black community?
Watch the Essence debacle here:
Still, Burt-Murray staunchly defended her decision to hire Placas by releasing the following statement:
I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience, said Burt-Murray, however I selected Ellianna, who has been contributing to the magazine on a freelance basis for the last six months, because of her creativity, vision, the positive reader response to her work and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand. We remain committed to celebrating the unique beauty and style of African-American women in Essence magazine and online at Essence.com.
According to unnamed sources, the firing of Placas had to do with the fact that she kept butting heads with the magazine’s current editor-in-chief, Constance White. “They had different visions for fashion coverage,” said a source.
Now the magazine is on a mission for a new fashion director to replace Placas.