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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

When Black Women Lead: Michele Ghee

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There are Black women who speak truth to power every day, and Michele Ghee is one of them. She is the new CEO of Ebony and Jet magazines, and is more than ready and capable for the challenge ahead.

Growing up, it didn’t matter whose house you went to, Ebony and Jet magazines would be expertly sprawled across the living room coffee table. It was a cardinal sin to throw them away, or keep them out of plain sight. Their iconic presence meant you were not only “in the know” about Black culture, news and entertainment but that you also had an appreciation of Black beauty.

Johnson Publishing Company published the final print issue of Jet in 2014, continuing it only in a digital format. Ebony magazine changed its format in 2018 from monthly to a double issue published each month. Ultimately, the print magazine was suspended in 2019.

With the recent appointment of Michele Ghee as CEO, it already feels like a rebirth; one that will foster the nostalgia we once had for the brand. And remind us that Blackness still needs to be seen and heard. Now more than ever, our stories must be told. This will be a formidable time, yet the Oakland native is no stranger to overcoming challenges.

At 25 years old, Michele was unhappy with her life and circumstances – terrible relationship, had no direction, and no future plans. She knew that God wanted more from her and was not happy with her choices. After a life-altering dream, she made changes in her life which caused her to sacrifice and work harder than ever.

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With over 20 years in the media and entertainment industry with giant companies such as CNN, BET, and others, Michele is no stranger to creating strategic business models and generating millions of dollars.

In October 2016, Michele was conducting a workshop in Houston based on her book Stratechic: Life & Career Winning Strategies for Women. I had moved there about a year prior, and was looking forward to the fellowship with other like-minded Black women.

Michele provided us with her S.T.R.A.T.E.C.H.I.C. “playbook” for life. From self-awareness being non-negotiable to crafting your story, she stressed that we had to be deliberate about what we do and how and with whom we do it.

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“Knowledge is power, but execution pulls the switch.” She helped us determine what we were trying to accomplish, how long it will take, and the help we would need to get there.

When it was time for Q & A, I raised my hand from way in the back. She told me to come on up to the front and ask my question. This simple action allowed me the opportunity to share who I am and what I do with the other women. I was able to make more connections that day which is what it’s all about. It was gracious and said a lot about the type of woman Michele is.

“Don’t give up! Don’t stop! You’re important so you have to be consistent & intentional with your plan!” These words she wrote to me that day were indeed words that she walks in herself. So, when I had learned about her new venture with this reemerging, iconic brand, I knew that it was in the most capable hands. More importantly, I knew that her heart would be in it.

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When we trust Black women, it doesn’t mean that we’re here to clean up a mess or take the world on our shoulders. It means that when we create a world where the concerns of Black women are prioritized then we have created a world that is better for everyone. Period.

We can look no further than Stacey Abrams. She may have lost her high-profile bid to become Georgia governor in 2018, but her efforts since were integral in Joe Biden becoming our new POTUS. Georgia never looked so blue! She embraced the challenge and we are ALL better for it.

Michele Ghee’s mission is also clear. With grace and determination, she has said yes to yet another challenge. She’s continuing to uphold a space that we have always belonged to and will now have more room. And we will ALL be better for it.


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