I Just Saw The November Cover Of EBONY Magazine, And…Well…Holy Shit » VSB


I Just Saw The November Cover Of EBONY Magazine, And…Well…Holy Shit

It was October of 2011. I was in New York City do to a shoot for a story in Essence Magazine. While walking to Essence, I happened to randomly bump into Jamilah Lemieux in the street. Which, considering that New York City has 21 billion people and I happened to literally walk right into one of the 16 people there I personally knew, was crazy. And then she proceeded to tell me that she had just left a EBONY Magazine meeting where VerySmartBrothas was being discussed. Apparently, we were up for some type of honor. She also asked me to call her later that evening when I was done with Essence. 

I did, and learned that the honor was a spot in EBONY’s 2011 Power 100 issue. I also learned that EBONY was going to experience a huge digital revamp, Jamilah was (obviously) a part of it, and she asked if I wanted to be a part of it too. Fast forward to January of 2012, and I’m working for EBONY too.

Since then, my role with EBONY has evolved. I started off as all digital, and now I’m doing digital and print work. I’ve also gained invaluable experience working with and learning from the EBONY staff; Cory Townes, Aaron Rhodan, Melanie Martin, Kyra Kyles, and Aliya King to name a few, and Jamilah, Genese Cage, and Kierna Mayo in particular. I have no doubt that VSB would not be where it is today without what I’ve learned and experienced through EBONY. 

All that to say that my feelings about this brilliant-ass, outrageous-ass, and explosive-ass November cover are not coming from a place of objectivity. I have an emotional and spiritual (and, to be frank, financial) tie to the people working there. And to the magazine. So take what I’m about to say with several dozen grains of salt.

But holy fucking shit. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to read a magazine, and more honored to be a part of something. Which is still surreal to me. This issue of EBONY Magazine — with that amazing fucking cover — will be iconic. I know what it means to have that cover sent out to Black America. And I know people will buy it. Hate it. Collect it. Spit on it. Share it. Save it. And I have a column in there! How crazy is that?

I just…I just could not be prouder of Kierna and Jamilah and everyone else who’s a part of this issue for being a part of this issue. And more appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of it too.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • De_Ann

    Oh snap, things are about to get really controversial with that cover.

  • thebayarean

    Can’t wait to read it and readily expect a range of emotions to ensue, as you mentioned above.

  • I can’t wait to read it.

  • As we say in Memphis (and Mississippi) : Mane! That right there!

    • bigheadbaby

      Right between the eyes! I hang my hat in Oxford….

  • Mimzi


    They went there. And I’m here for it.

  • Glo

    I. Am. Here. For. This.

    Seriously, I am so through with everyone who thinks we should support Cosby simply because of what he has done for black television. He made TV history; he also raped a lot of women. The greatness of the former does not negate the latter. I am so glad to see a major black publication making such a bold statement about this.

  • bigheadbaby

    Reposting my comment from the Ebony FB page: Got no problem with this cover. Matter of fact, I think it’s a great idea and a conversation starter. It is so much bigger than one show. Cosby and things associated with him will be tainted from here on out, that’s a fact. If he isn’t problematic to you personally, he will be problematic to a lot of people. Black America is in turmoil and is struggling with this conversation. Plus, it is THE FAMILY ISSUE(S). High-five and a booty bump to the writer who came up with that tagline. The bulls-eye is smack on the father’s head, just like it is in real life. So many conversations about The Black Family and the role of the father figure are central to that. Image vs reality, for the good and for the bad. Smack in the middle of the conversation is where Ebony belongs…bravo.

  • bigheadbaby

    Also from my post on the Ebony FB page: A lot of people are saying that this cover breaks their hearts. Yes, this cover does break your heart in a sense, I feel that, too. But you know who really broke your heart? Ebony didn’t break it, William H. Cosby broke it. Don’t kill the messenger.

    • Question

      I’m glad its breaking hearts because it means people are really thinking about it – all of it – and coming to conclusions on their own.

  • bigheadbaby

    I realize that may not know 100% of what I speak, while Damon is in the employ of this publication and does know. Reposting my statement: People may not realize, but Ebony is trying to be relevant in a way it has not been before to stay alive. The publishing marketplace has gotten so cutthroat, so many publications have gone under, partially due to the internet. Yes, it is under different ownership and management. Because if it does not become relevant in a way that it was not in its previous life, it will be killed off. It is on life support now, they are trying a new format, new writers, new attitude to see if it works. If it doesn’t, it will go to the graveyard with so many other magazines that couldn’t hack it.

    In its previous life, it was full of fluff pieces, feel-good pieces. Not necessarily bad, but it was a dying publication because not enough people were checking for it anymore. I am hoping that it can be saved. This cover is a sign that they still got that fighting spirit and intend to fight for their share of space on the magazine rack going forward.

  • Ari

    Actually, while the cover is obviously poignant and groundbreaking, etc…the title of the article, “Cosby vs. Cliff,” is most remarkable. I can’t wait to read.

    • Asiyah

      Yes! That title >>>>

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