OWN Announces ‘Time of Essence’ Series on the History of Essence Magazine

Essence Magazine Covers

OWN will air a five-part documentary series this summer titled Time of Essence on the evolution and cultural impact of Essence magazine.

The series tells the story of how Essence has celebrated Black culture in America for over 50 years. It will feature Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg, Regina Hall, Beverly Johnson, and more celebrities to be announced later.

Other voices included in the series are Essence editors Mikki Taylor, Susan L. Taylor, and current CEO Caroline Wanga.

“For the past five decades, Essence has served as a lighthouse and an institution for shaping culture as we live our mission of deeply serving Black Women,” Wanga said in a statement Wednesday. “Time of Essence is both a celebration of that remarkable and rich history and a catalyst for the critical work that remains ahead of us.”

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Each episode explores a different decade – from the 1970s to today – and includes commentary on that era’s biggest moments.

“This series will be a testament to what Essence has been historically and how it continues to shape the culture at large today,” said Tina Perry, president OWN.

Time of Essence is produced by 51 Minds and Essence Studios LLC for OWN.

Executive producers are Christian Sarabia and Nicole Elliott for 51 Minds, Raymond Garcia for Major TV, and Emmet Dennis, Sidra Smith, Stephanie “NöNe” Dunivan and Barkue Tubman-Zawolo for Essence Studios LLC.

For decades, Essence has been a staple in the Black community. But the magazine has also had its share of troubles, including complaints of a “poisonous” workplace culture, which led to CEO Richelieu Dennis stepping down in 2020.