End of Black Ownership at Ebony as JP Morgan Buys Stake?

By Chanelle Bell

Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), the publisher of JET magazine, Fashion Fair Products, and Ebony has sold a minority stake in its company to JP Morgan. Over the past 69 years JPC had remained a Black owned company . When JPC started publishing Ebony in 1945, JPC had become a driving force in Black culture. Many Black stars got their start between the pages of Ebony and JET magazines. In 1997 it achieved an astounding 1.9 million circulation. JPC, however, did not fully grasp or adapt to the digital revolution. Their sales plummeted as they were unable to reach their audience through technology. Desiree Rogers said Ebony is partnering with JP Morgan, a white owned company, but she insisted that JP Morgan (JPM) only bought a minority stake in JPC and she will only allow minority stakes to be sold in order to insure Black control. With JPM inside of JPC, Ebony has joined the ranks of many black-owned businesses that have been penetrated by big white corporations on their path to take over black business. With the media portraying booty shaking and the thug life as key traits to define African Americans, having black-owned media outlets is imperative to the presentation of Blacks in America. African Americans need to be educated on how important it is to start and own a business because if we can’t control how we are portrayed we can’t control how we are viewed as a people. “Other Black media groups, such as the NNPA, Black successful entertainers, athletes and businesses, ought to also buy a stake in Ebony/Jet too. We must own our own soul”, said Paul Cobb, Post publisher and former Jet salesman as a youth.