When the news of their practices was ushered into the spotlight this week from my article “Why Isn’t ‘Ebony’ Paying Its Black Writers?” published by The Establishment, Twitter began trending with the hashtag #EbonyOwes. In response to that article, several black journalists have come forward to share their stories about waiting for payment.
Sifting through the #EbonyOwes hashtag on Twitter, I came across famed TV critic Eric Deggans at NPR, who wrote about his own experience with the publication.
Deggans, who is also author of the book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, tweeted, “I don’t know about the race angle [in the article’s title], but I know about Ebony failing to pay writers. The magazine owes me $1,200.”
John Harold Johnson (January 19, 1918 – August 8, 2005) was an American businessman and publisher. He was the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company. In 1982, he became the first African American to appear on the Forbes 400. Johnson’s Ebony and Jet magazines were among the most influential African-American businesses in media in the second half of the twentieth century.
Johnson Publishing Company also has a book division and employs more than 2,600 people, with sales of over $388 million. In addition, Johnson Publishing owns Fashion Fair Cosmetics (the world’s number one makeup and skin care company for women of color), and Supreme Beauty products (hair care for men and women), and is involved in television production and produces the Ebony Fashion Fair (the world’s largest traveling fashion show), which has donated over $47 million to charity. The show visits more than 200 cities in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. In 2010, the Noble Network of Charter Schools and Chicago Public Schools opened Johnson College Prep High School, a public charter high school in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood in honor of Johnson and his wife Eunice W. Johnson. On January 31, 2012, the United States Postal Service honored John H. Johnson with a commemorative stamp as the newest addition to its Black Heritage Series. The School of Communications at Howard University was to be named in his honor but instead, the $4 million donation was used to endow a chair in entrepreneurship. (Wikipedia).