My Essence Experience
by Darralynn Hutson
Here's to Cori Murray, Essence Magazine's Director of Entertainment; who just announced her departure from what most of us could only imagine would be a dream job that we'd retire from but we can only dream of what's next.
I officially met Cori while working a short time in the sponsorship department at Essence Magazine corporate offices in the Time Building which was both a tremendous opportunity and one of the worst burnt out feelings that I’ve ever had in my career.
Being on contract to work in the Essence offices from sun up to sun down, being chauffeured back and forth and being flown back and forth to New Orleans with a group of women who were my peers and my idols was something that I thought I always wanted.
It was the extension of a sisterhood that I grossly wanted to be a part of. Cori was introduced to me by my immediate supervisor, Raychelle Hill who walked me around the offices, several floors deep and made me shake hands with everyone. Since I’d pitched to Cori for many years in so many forms of communication, she knew my name and I blushed.
Many many meetings and deliverables and exhaustive conversations later; I was let go of this fabulous position, not because of my work ethic or commitment to the brand but because Cori spotted me at the BET Awards working with Tosha Whitten Griggs in a collaborative environment that I actually loved.
I never pitched to Cori again.
A few years later while on a short visit to New York, Cori met me and walked me around the one floor the Essence held in the Time Building and we took pictures in front of the mural and I’d wonder if she ever remembered even ratting me out or even know what happened after one conversation with the wrong person.
Even years later I pitched and landed two back to back articles on Black stylists, Ayanna James and Tiffany Hasbourne that worked on hot TV shows at the time. It would take me meeting Julee at a Macy’s Diversity panel in order for me to get paid for those two articles, almost a year later.
This year will be the first time that I've gotten credentials for the festival since being let go back in 2006. I wonder have things at Essence really changed as much as I have?