#EbonyOwes: Ebony Magazine Is Under Fire For Failing To Compensate Its Freelancers
By:     -   June 15, 2017   -   Business   -   Comments are closed   -   427 Views

Freelance is not free. Unless, of course, you choose to work for free on your own terms.




Although it’s unfortunate to have to negatively report on a beloved media staple that has been around since 1945, what’s even more disappointing is that many of it’s freelancers have not yet been compensated for hours of work that they’ve completed for contractual assignments. We’re talking about Ebony Magazine – a brand that was intended to uplift the African-American demographic, but has instead made it to feel like it’s taken their loving kindness for weakness. In this case, these particular writers, photographers, editors, videographers, etc. did not choose to work for free on their own terms.



When you want to support by purchasing such beautiful covers, but can’t because #EbonyOwes the freelancers that made it all possible.


If you do the work, the expectation is that you will be paid.

What it all boils down to is that Ebony Magazine is a business, and should be operated as such. Freelancers are also business professionals who are worthy of dignity and respect..as well as the ability to make an honest living from the labor they’ve endured. One could even argue that, underneath the surface, some Black publications and businesses can exude a sense of entitlement in assuming their target markets’ automatic unwavering support and talent is here to stay. In turn, this form of thinking yields mistreatment in the form of utter disregard.

Not to be silenced, many of Ebony’s freelancers took to social media to air out their grievances about not being paid the monies owed to them for recent and past projects. Some have even shared their struggles with making ends meets, while waiting for that “check in the mail”  – one that would never come. Some payments range from weeks to YEARS past due. The hashtag, #EbonyOwes, has since picked up steam after numerous attempts by freelancers to get the attention of Ebony executives. This encouraged countless other freelancers to come forward.

Freelancers who have worked on this most recent issue of Ebony have not been paid for their work.

Freelancers who have worked on this most recent issue of Ebony have not been paid for their work.


Ebony has recently let go of many of its team members, and will be relocated out of Chicago (where it has previously thrived since its inception). Further the silence and unprofessional actions by the company, such as blocking freelancers who’ve spoken out against them, is downright appalling.



With a huge hit to its reputation, it is expected that Ebony holds up their end of the bargain in honoring these professionals. It’s difficult enough for freelancers, especially Black freelancers, as it is. Just imagine how tedious of a process to overcome writer’s block, work up the nerve and mental space to pitch large brands, to come up with an amazing take on a topic, to have your work critiqued to shreds, your confidence shattered, and cope with the internal battle within yourself as you wonder if you’re good enough. Then, you know you’re good enough, have the receipts to show for it, and then have to worry about if you’ll make rent. Ebony should either pay up or close its doors if it cannot afford the hired help of those who have kept the publication’s content afloat.