Source: @nicoledenisephotograph / By Nicole Denise Photography

Last week, the #VogueChallenge social media and was a huge hit! With Black women, of course, owning it and slaying all the way as they created magazine covers of the iconic fashion bible in their own melanated image.

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But, in what feels like the beginning of a reinvigorated Black Lives Matter Movement and a renewed importance on Black pride, many shared that while the #VogueChallenge was cool, they were yearning for something more. And given that the magazine hasn’t always been the most welcoming—just look at the small number of covers of us or Anna Wintour’s icy demeanor to Black employees— instead, we should be celebrating traditionally African-American publications such as Ebony, Jet and the equally iconic Essence Magazine, who have always had our backs.

Thanks to one social media post created by @Naturally.Nish, the #EssenceChallenge was born.

“I’ve been seeing the #VogueChallenge and I loveeeee it but, I decided to create my own and do it black-owned style. So this is really the #EssenceChallenge,” she declared on Instagram last Thursday.


And her challenge took off!

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Swoon, sis, swoon!


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While achieving certain milestones and being validated by mainstream media (white people) may be one road to achieving some type of equality, that isn’t always the end-all, be-all. There is something incredibly important about looking at things for us such as Essence and seeing them as aspirational, inspirational, and a sense of accomplishment too. Looking outward isn’t always the way.

So to honor all that #BlackGirlMagic (made in our image), here are some of my favorite melanated #EssenceChallenge covers. Enjoy!

Move Over Vogue! The #EssenceChallenge Has Melanin On Lock!  was originally published on