OWN To Debut Essence Magazine Documentary Series

Regina Hall (Image credit: Derek Blank with crowdMGMT)

OWN will air this summer a new documentary series from Essence magazine that looks at Black America over the past 50 years. 

The five-part series, Time of Essence, will explore a different decade from the 1970s through today and show how the magazine has informed and reflected Black culture through first-hand commentary from the icons, trailblazers, Essence staffers and leaders who lived and defined them, said the network.

The documentary will feature such celebrities as Regina Hall, Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg, Taye Diggs and Sheryl Lee Ralph, as well as longtime Essence Editor and Chief Susan L. Taylor and current Essence magazine editor Mikki Taylor. 

“In 1970, Essence recognized that Black women’s contributions to society were being undervalued, and set a new standard as the first publications to reflect Black womanhood, affirming her strength, style and achievements and provoking industry reform and change," OWN President Tina Perry said. “This series will be a testament to what Essence has been historically and how it continues to shape the culture at large today.”

Time of Essence is executive produced by Christian Sarabia and Nicole Elliott, Raymond Garcia, Emmet Dennis, Sidra Smith, Stephanie “NöNe'' Dunivan and Barkue Tubman-Zawolo.■ 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.