Top Black Publishing Companies

by Marla Currie; Updated September 26, 2017

The black publishing industry is dominated by a few large publishers who produce primarily magazine editorial developed expressly for African-American audiences. These publications reach millions of blacks monthly with relevant editorial of interest to their particular audience demographic.

Johnson Publishing Company

Johnson Publishing in Chicago, Illinois, is the oldest and largest black publishing company. Johnson Publishing is the publisher of "Ebony" and "Jet" magazines. "Ebony" is a general interest magazine whose editorial covers the full spectrum of black life from issues, food and people in the news. Ebony’s circulation is over one million, but the pass-along readership in beauty salons and barbershops ups their readership figure to almost 11 million monthly.

Johnson Publishing is also the publisher of "Jet Magazine," a pocket-size publication that features celebrity news and photos. Johnson Publishing also sponsors the Ebony Fashion Fair traveling fashion show as well as Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a department store makeup line.

Essence Communications

Time Inc. is the publisher of "Essence" magazine, the black woman’s magazine. After more than 30 years, "Essence" was and is the first monthly magazine for black women. "Essence" covers issues and manners of interest to women including fashion, food, work and relationships.

"Essence" magazine hosts it annual Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. This event is a mixture of entertainment from nostalgic music groups and serious business with key note speeches from prominent people, empowerment seminars and sessions. "Essence" magazine has a paid circulation of about one million.

Earl Graves Limited

Earl Graves Limited is the parent publishing company of "Black Enterprise" magazine. "Black Enterprise" is a prestigious publication whose editorial is business oriented. "Black Enterprise" publishes annual lists of top African-American businesses in industries like auto, fast food and advertising, among others, as well as spotlighting African-American titans of business as well as breakaway entrepreneurs. "Black Enterprise" has the highest pricing for advertising space among black magazine publishers.

"Black Enterprise" has a circulation of about half a million readers. The magazine sponsors the annual Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis event in which black business leaders meet and network. They also conduct Kid-preneur Camps for business-minded youth.

Oprah Magazine

Oprah Winfrey is one of the country's most successful females whose television show spawned spin-offs including "O, The Oprah Magazine." "Oprah Magazine" is a Hearst Magazine publication whose audience and editorial is general market focused. "Oprah Magazine" has a paid circulation of 2.5 million readers.

Since its inception, the magazine's cover has always featured a solo picture of Oprah Winfrey. Michelle Obama was the first person featured in a photo with Oprah. Ellen Degeneres is reportedly the next person Oprah will pose with on the cover of "O."

Targeted Media Online

All the major black publishers have online versions of their print magazines as their audiences get of their print entertainment and news online. Targeted Media Online is a top web publisher of content for both African-American and Latino audiences with exclusive online-only content. Their online magazine, "The Penny Wiser," editorial is focused on urban consumerism and is distributed to two million female subscribers quarterly,

About the Author

Marla Currie has written professionally since 1995. She is editor and publisher of The Urban Shopper, an online magazine whose consumerist content is targeted to Black and Latino females. In addition to short fiction, Currie is author of "The Humours of Black Life," a nonfiction work. She has a master's degree in advertising.