This week (March 8), the Oprah Winfrey Network announced the imaginative new original docu-series, “Time of Essence,” a celebration of the trailblazing magazine that reaches a global community of over 20 million Black women and has revealed some of the most captivating and influential covers of the past half-century. The five-part, one-hour documentary series premieres this summer on OWN.
Featured voices include iconic ESSENCE Magazine editor Mikki Taylor, long time Editor and Chief Susan L. Taylor, and current CEO Caroline Wanga alongside some of the brightest celebrities, thought leaders and culture shifting influencers of the past several decades including fashion model and icon Beverly Johnson and daughter Anansa Sims, Academy award-winning actresses Halle Berry and Whoopi Goldberg, Regina Hall, Taye Diggs, Sheryl Lee Ralph and more to be announced.
“Time of Essence” will tell the story of how ESSENCE has informed and reflected Black culture in America for over 50 years. Each episode explores a different decade – from the ’70s to today – and features first-hand commentary on that era’s biggest moments from the icons, trailblazers, staffers and leaders who lived and defined them. This candid commentary is coupled with never-before-seen footage and exclusive behind-the-scenes moments from the worlds of entertainment, sports, politics, fashion and beauty.
“In 1970, ESSENCE recognized that Black women’s contributions to society were being undervalued, and set a new standard as the first publication to reflect Black womanhood, affirming her strength, style and achievements and provoking industry reform and change,” said Tina Perry, President OWN. “This series will be a testament to what ESSENCE has been historically and how it continues to shape the culture at large today.”
“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. “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 – reminding the world that Black women are not a monolith and that it is only through her that society and the world continues to progress,” said Caroline Wanga, President and CEO of Essence Ventures.
“Time of Essence ” is produced by 51 Minds and ESSENCE Studios LLC for OWN. The 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.