Music News

HBO Max developing post-civil rights drama on founding of 'Essence' magazine; Kamala Harris covers digital issue

Michael Rowe

HBO has signed on to tell the origins story of one of the largest African-American owned communications companies in the United States, Essence magazine.

According to Deadline, HBO Max is currently developing a period drama series that will center on the launch of Essence during the post-civil rights era.

Executive produced by Edward Lewis, an Essence co-founder and the chairman/publisher of Essence Communications, the series will follow the relationships between the men who founded the iconic women’s magazine and the women who were the creative force behind it. It will also “tell the story of a Black startup before “startup” was a term” while exploring themes of love, loss and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Known as one of the premiere lifestyle magazines for Black women, Essence Communications, Inc. was founded in 1938 by Lewis, Clarence O. SmithCecil Hollingsworth, and Jonathan Blount. The group began publishing Essence in 1970.

A date for the series has not been set.

Meanwhile, Essence is dedicating its 2020 Election digital cover to vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

In the digital issue, Joe Biden‘s VP pick opens up about her hope for the nation’s future.

“There’s no question that we need immediate change and drastic change, and that’s so much of what the Biden-Harris platform and what the Biden-Harris administration will be about,” she tells Essence. “It’s about saying, ‘We need to immediately address a number of issues that demand priority….’”

When it comes to social unrest and police brutality, Harris says it’s important to say, ‘enough is enough.’

“I have seen too many cases of not only unarmed Black folks being killed, but women, and we need to speak their names and understand that we have to have justice,” she says.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.