Latest Ebony Issue Tackles America’s Hypocritical Relationship with Black People

By Sameer Rao Jul 27, 2015

Ebony’s August issue hit the stands this past weekend, and it promises to tackle some of the most relevant issues in the contemporary American racial climate to date. 

The issue looks at the state of capital—economic, social and cultural—in the Black Lives Matter era. A letter from Editor-in-Chief Kierna Mayo details the process of crafting the issue’s theme and provides a sneak peak of some of the content: 

To love us is one thing; but to document, inspire, challenge and ultimately, represent us, is more than a notion. Every 30 days, as a magazine staff, we have to climb inside the hearts and minds of Black America (with all of its complexities and complications) and reflect on what we’ve gathered.

The beginnings of this month’s unexpected cover and, more important, cover line, grew out of something we had all been seriously noting of late: the overwhelming reminders that America truly loves what it perceives as Black—from baby oil to butts, collard greens to crunk—but actual Black people? Perhaps not so much. We debated and went ’round the mulberry bush, not only on how to show (and tell) what we mean, but whether we should do something like this at all. In the end, because we know that we mean not to offend, but to provoke—and because this is what EBONY has always done—here we are.


During the making of this issue, the following happened to have happened: Nine beautiful Black people were gunned down in cold blood, in Charleston, S.C., while in church, while studying the Bible—just for being Black. Nine beautiful Black people’s families faced their loved ones’ White alleged killer and said to him—and the world—you are forgiven. Days later, President Barack Obama performed the eulogy for the most well-known of the dead, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a beloved state senator. Delivering a word on the subject of grace, the POTUS was apparently enraptured by the spirit in the room and had what some called his “Blackest Moment Ever.” Not only did he indict America for the inclination to hire “Johnny” over “Jamal,” but the president also led the congregation in singing the old hymn “Amazing Grace." 


So for this issue, we chose to take a slight pause from Black celebrity and all the hoopla that often comes with that, and reset our gaze on our most serious times. To do this, we knew we had to focus on three central ideas: Black wealth (play our financial game “Started From the Bottom…,” pg. 88); Black power (read our report on Black media, pg. 90); and Black respect (return to Ferguson, Mo., to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.’s tragic death, pg. 104)."

Check out Mayo’s letter here and find the latest issue of Ebony on newsstands.