A white Australian woman has landed a job at a black magazine, sparking fury from black media workers.

Essence magazine, an iconic US fashion and lifestyle magazine for black women, has hired Elliana Placas as fashion director, a post that has been held by an African American for 40 years.

The magazine’s former fashion editor, Michaela Angela Davis, is furious, writing:

“It is with a heavy, heavy, heart I have learned that Essence magazine has engaged a white fashion director.

“This hurts, literally, spiritually. If there were balance in the industry, if we didn’t have a history of being ignored and disrespected, if more mainstream fashion media included people of colour before the ONE magazine dedicated to black women ‘diversified’, it would feel different.”

However Essence editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray has defended her decision to hire the Aussie, saying Placas showed “creativity”, “vision” and “enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand.”

The controversy rages on, with commentators accusing Essence of robbing black women of one of their few chances to get ahead in the industry.

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