Ebony magazine was a staple in many Black families for most of the 90s and 2000s. The print publications told the stories of all people and things African American — perspectives not often found in mainstream media. Last year, the magazine went up for sale, and now, it has been purchased by a former NBA player who hopes to bring new life into it.
As the Chicago Tribune reported, Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman — who formerly played for the Milwaukee Bucks — bought both Ebony and Jet in US Bankruptcy Court this week through his Bridgeman Sports and Media company.
“Ebony kind of stood for Black excellence, showing people doing positive things that could benefit everyone,” Bridgeman told the Tribune.
“When you look at Ebony, you look at the history not just for Black people, but of the United States,” he continued. “I think it’s something that a generation is missing, and we want to bring that back as much as we can.”
Ebony was founded in 1945 by John H. Johnson in 1945 and spent years dominating Black media before the development of digital publications gradually caused its demise. Jet and Ebony were sold to Texas’ CVG Group in 2016, with the latter magazine facing $80K worth of lawsuits from several unpaid freelancers.
In July, the CVG Group was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy which was later converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization. In a fortunate turn of events, however, Bridgeman made a winning bid and was able to purchase the sister publications that inspired him as a child.
The former NBA star will helm the magazines alongside his children. They want to keep them digital, but plan to release specialty print issues every now and then.
“Nothing is ever easy, but this would be, I think, a labor of love,” he said.