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A Bold New Look For Essence!

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New Web Site Anchors Grass Roots Initiative to Support Parents’ and Educators’ Efforts to Support School Music Program Cuts.

May Issue Celebrates 33rd Anniversary And Delivers More Content And An Elegant New Design

ESSENCE magazine celebrates its 33rd anniversary with a brand new look and exciting new content. With the May 2003 issue, the premier lifestyle publication for African-American women will feature a fresh redesign, bolder display type and a simple, classy look—and will put directly before its more than eight million loyal readers the critical information they need most and have come to rely on from ESSENCE.

The announcement was made today by Edward Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer of Essence Communications Partners (ECP). “Throughout our history, ESSENCE has always reflected the beauty, style and substance of Black women,” said Lewis. “More dynamic and more accomplished than ever, Black women expect ESSENCE to continuously find new ways to engage, inform and inspire them.”

ESSENCE’s new editorial format comes at a time of great consumer and advertiser vitality, and on the heels of record-setting circulation and single-copy sales. Newsstand circulation for the second-half of 2002 increased 18 percent over the same period in 2001.

This double-digit leap in sales performance exceeded almost all other general interest women’s titles during the same period. Also, all issues from October 2002 through February 2003 set advertising revenue records for ESSENCE.

In addition, the October and December 2002 and February 2003 issues set new records for the number of advertising pages, according to the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB).*

The May anniversary’s cover story features a riveting conversation between entertainers Natalie Cole and Nona Gaye—daughters of the legendary singers Nat King Cole and Marvin Gaye—speaking intimately about the trials and triumphs of carrying on their fathers’ legacy.

This month’s issue includes an exclusive excerpt from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ debut novel, Getting Mother’s Body, and also illustrates how women can build wealth, reduce stress and simplify their lives at work and at home.

It will also mark the debut of The ESSENCE 2003 Career Guide: Great Places to Work, which will annually highlight Fortune 1000 companies that provide a comfortable, productive and beneficial working environment for Black women. Some of the other exciting features of the ESSENCE redesign include:

The number of pages devoted to hairstyles and beauty tips will increase—growth directly related to the spending power of African-American women in this arena.**

The Style section has expanded to better celebrate and support the African-American woman’s undeniable fashion sense, offering news about designers and clothing lines, and featuring makeovers and solutions to style questions.

Some of the new sections that will be added to Style are: Details, which will focus on shoes and accessories; Notebook, which will provide fashion news tidbits and designer profiles; Trend, which will showcase style choices at every price; and Solutions, which will show readers how to incorporate a particular trend into their wardrobe.

Our featured columnists—Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant, Valerie Coleman Morris and Dr. Ella Edmondson Bell—offer their wisdom on pages redesigned to be more eye-catching and compelling. Also, editorial director Susan L. Taylor’s In the Spirit column has been redesigned.

Health, formerly MindBody, will continue to offer insights on healthy living including thoughtful, in-depth reports on wellness issues, news briefs and fitness routines, as well as articles on mental, emotional and spiritual health.

In a new back-of-book feature, Said, entertainers, writers, politicians and other public figures answer ten provocative questions. Sometimes wise, sometimes funny, their responses will always be unexpected and quotable.

Issues, a new feature in our upbeat front-of-book Now section, is a column featuring leading African-American thinkers on topics relevant to Black Americans. The page is a call-to-action on issues affecting African-American communities.

‚ The Lifestyle section—which has always given African-American women sound advice on cooking, decorating, parenting and travel—will be renamed Living Well. This section will feature expanded coverage on helping women make their lives easier in these hectic times.

In addition, Parenting will increase its pages to include Good to Grow, a gazette-type page that addresses concerns of parents and their infants, toddlers, school-age kids and teens. The section will also feature special in-depth reports on topics such as discipline and school choice.

ESSENCE is also looking forward to special upcoming issues, including its September focus on beauty and fashion; the October Power Issue, with a new and expanded focus on powerful women who are shaping the world; and the November Men’s issue, which features the annual automotive guide.

“Just as impressive as our newsstand sales success is the quality and relevance of the content in the magazine,” said Susan L. Taylor, editorial director of ESSENCE.

“Our editor-in-chief, Diane Weathers, and her team are strengthening that deep emotional bond ESSENCE has had with its readers over the years."

“We want to continue to make that emotional connection that gets to the reader’s heart and touches her soul,” said Diane Weathers, editor-in-chief of ESSENCE. “We know how to talk to our readers—we talk to them like a friend.”

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