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Goodness gracious, would you just look at them?! Essence’s May cover features all of our faves at once: Issa Rae, Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, Debbie Allen and Ava DuVernay. This is their “Game Changers” issue and they absolutely chose the right women. What better way to celebrate the 45th anniversary cover than to put all of these Black beauties in crisp white?

MUST READ: Mara Brock Akil Urges Young Women To Speak Up For What They Want

In the cover story, the powerful women discuss the obstacles in dealing with their busy careers, what’s so difficult about sex scenes and how they manage family and their relationships. So basically–all the good stuff, including “ethnic casting.” Shonda, known for no-holds-barred way of expressing herself said:

“Literally everybody’s starring in a pilot. I think that’s wonderful. Part of me thinks, Well that’s wildly racist of all the networks to suddenly decide that the best way to get a show on the air is to just throw a Black woman on it. Yet part of me feels like, For God’s sake, it’s about time! If they’re going to be stupid, let’s use their stupidity…”

And Debbie said:

“I look at it as an opportunity. It is wide open and for the taking. When I first started, there were no women in the room, there were no Black people in the room.”

DuVernay tweeted: “I hope someone sees this and thinks: “I will live the life I choose.” Love to Mara, Shonda, Issa + Queen Debbie. xo.” All we can say is, “Yasssss!” This is the kinda of Black girl magic that young women and even older women need to see in order to know that our lives matter and so do our dreams. The best part–those dreams are reachable, just look at these success stories!

We can’t wait to get our manicured fingers on our copy!


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Black Girl Magic: Issa Rae, Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Debbie Allen & Mara Brock Akil Cover Essence’s Game Changers Issue  was originally published on