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Decades of Influence: OWN’s New Documentary Series Honors the Legacy of ESSENCE Magazine


OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is set to launch its much-awaited original documentary series, “Time of Essence,” on Friday, August 18, at 9 pm ET/PT. This captivating five-part series, each an hour long, pays homage to a pioneering magazine that has resonated with more than 20 million Black women worldwide. For half a century, its vibrant and thought-provoking covers have grabbed global attention.

The series promises an illustrious lineup of guest appearances, with thought leaders, influential celebrities, and culture-defining personalities adding to the richness of the narrative. Luminaries such as Golden Globe-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union-Wade, multi-talented Vanessa Williams, Sunny Hostin, and former Motown Productions president Suzanne de Passe will be sharing their unique perspectives.

In earlier announcements, the series had already revealed an impressive roster of trailblazers, including the iconic fashion model Beverly Johnson, her daughter Anansa Sims, Oscar-winning actresses Halle Berry and Whoopi Goldberg, Emmy-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Regina Hall, and Taye Diggs. A special highlight of the series will be the invaluable insights from ESSENCE Magazine veterans like iconic editor Mikki Taylor, former Editor-in-Chief Susan L. Taylor, and the present President and CEO Caroline Wanga.

“Time of Essence” is more than a docuseries; it’s a chronicle of ESSENCE Magazine’s role in shaping and mirroring Black culture in America for more than five decades. Each episode will take the viewers on a journey through a different era, from the 70s to the present, offering an intimate exploration of the most momentous events of those times. Icons, trailblazers, staffers, and leaders who witnessed and influenced these epochs provide their firsthand commentary, complemented by exclusive, never-before-seen footage and behind-the-scenes moments from diverse spheres like entertainment, sports, politics, fashion, and beauty.

The collaborative efforts of 51 Minds and ESSENCE Studios LLC have brought “Time of Essence” to life for OWN. The series is helmed by executive producers Christian Sarabia and Nicole Elliott from 51 Minds, Raymond Garcia from Major TV, and Emmet Dennis, Sidra Smith, Stephanie “NöNe” Dunivan, and Barkue Tubman-Zawolo from ESSENCE Studios LLC.

Ryan White-Nobles
Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TV Source Magazine. He's began covering entertainment and soap operas in 2005. In 2009 he co-launched Soap Opera Source, and led the TV Source rebrand in 2012. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.

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