“Love Yourself” Susan L. Taylor

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I began my subscription to Essence Magazine whenI was 15.  This was at a time when there was no real way of checking if you were old enough to take on that responsibility.  I so looked forward to receiving my monthly copy, just so I can read what the Editor in Chief had to say.  I remember looking at her photo and seeing a Black Goddess.  Her long cornrows, going straight down her back.  The “Essence” of Black Beauty.  Susan L. Taylor, a journalism beast! Susan L. Taylor (born January 23, 1946) is an American editor, writer, and journalist. She served as editor-in-chief of Essence from 1981 through 2000. In 1994, American Libraries referred to Taylor as “the most influential black woman in journalism today”.

Susan Leaves Essence Magazine

“I will be leaving Essence to do what at this juncture in my life has become a larger work for me—building the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which I founded as Essence Cares and today is my deepest passion.”
–Susan L. Taylor, December 28, 2007)

When Ms. Taylor left Essence Magazine, I was devastated.  I sat in disbelief as I read her letter.  Who was going to be my source of inspiration?  see Susan had become my “Judy Blume” at a time when I was not only coming into my womanhood but also my awareness of who I was becoming as a Black Woman.  I grew up in the era of “Black Power” as a child of the ’70’s.  The images of “Black Is Beautiful” was overshadowed by my generation’s need to be all that we can be as an African-American Community, breaking free (or so we thought) from segregation and enjoying the freedoms established by the Civil rights Movement.  Susan, in my eyes, represented the images of the ’70’s, the breaking of barriers, my mirror.   The magazine was never the same.  I let my subscription lapse.  In New York Times article, dated December 28, 2007, it lists all of her accomplishments, especially the reason why she left the magazine- to pursue her desire and passion for helping disadvantaged children.  She is an avid supporter of a host of organizations dedicated to moving the Black community forward. Her passion and focus are on creating equity in education and turning around the nation’s failing schools, which, she says are “the pipeline to prison.” Susan founded the CARES Mentoring Organization to address these issues, that plagues the Black Community.

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So this Women’s Month and International Women’s Day I celebrate Susan L. Taylor! #BeBoldForChange

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