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I first got to know and came to respect Ellianna when she came to work with us nearly six months ago.
Many have argued that the caucasian female wants the black woman’s life.
” wrote one disgruntled reader) or assigning a guest column to singer Jill Scott to voice her opinion about black men who date outside their race, “The Wince” (“Reverse racism! Or the February cover with a shirtless Reggie Bush (“He doesn’t date black women—this is a betrayal of the highest order.” Many readers shared that particular sentiment). I read and digested many of the heartfelt and poignant posts on this topic and I sincerely respect everyone’s thoughts and sentiments.
And most recently my hiring of Ellianna Placas, who happens to be a white woman, to head our fashion department has stirred the passions of a small but vocal group in the blogosphere (“I feel like a girlfriend has died,” stated one devastated African-American writer who not long ago wrote about coming to terms with her daughter pledging a white sorority for the magazine). I also share their concerns and frustrations about the lack of visibility of African-American women throughout the ranks of the fashion industry, which is overwhelmingly white.
I got to see firsthand her creativity, her vision, the positive reader response to her work, and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand.
As such, I thought she’d make an excellent addition to our team. This decision in no way diminishes my commitment to black women, our issues, our fights.