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16 of Our Favorite Natural Hair Essence Magazine Covers

Avatar • Apr 2, 2014

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Essence just debuted its May issue, which focuses on natural hair and has 3 separate covers featuring Erykah Badu, Ledisi and Solange.

We loved it so much that we decided to go back in time and find other Essence covers featuring some of our favorite naturals. Check it out…

Fallin with Alicia Keys’ intricate braids in the early 2000s.

aliciakeysessence

Cynthia Bailey, is that you girl? Yes, Real Housewives of Atlanta, star rocked a 1995 Essence cover before she was held a peach and became Nene’s “bridemaid.” Now, we know Bailey likes to switch up her looks on the show with an array of wigs but we’d like to think this is all her.

Cynthia-Bailey-Essence-Cover-1-779x1024

Jada Pinkett Smith WOO-ed us with her two glowing Essence covers in 2010.

Jada-Pinkett-Smith-July-Essence-Cover Jada-Pinkett-Smith-July-Essence-Cover-Nude

Our favorite Android,  Janelle Monae served a prim and proper pompadour in early 2013.

Janelle-Monae-Essence-May-2013-Cover

Jilly from Philly aka Jill Scott has a plethora of covers under her belt including one with her big chop in 2012.

jill_scott_-essence_oct2012_cover  

Fashion Icon, Grace Jones was nothing short of fierce in her 80s cover.

most-iconic-essence-magazine-covers 

Everybody’s favorite girlfriend, Joan Clayton, Traci Ellis Ross rocked a beautiful cover in 2011.

tracee ellis ross essence 

The amazingly talented Viola Davis graced the cover twice but we fell for her radiant October 2013 cover.

viola-davis-essence

 

The ultra fierce Alek Wek covered their September 2000 issue.

 

alek wek essence

Class is in session with Alva Rogers of School Daze during her January 1993 issue.

alva rogers essence

Cosby kid, Hillman student and super chic bohemian, Lisa Bonet covered their April 1987 issue.

lisa_bonet_essence_magazine_april_1987_yqDF8tG.sized_

Last but not least…Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Hardison. Really enjoyed A Different World round these parts!

jasmine_guy_essence_magazine_february_1991_AsAyqDt.sized

 

What do you think of the covers? Do you remember any more amazing Essence covers?

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About Rinny

Texan by birth, Los Angeleno by situation. Lover of Tame Impala and Shoegaze music. Comedian by trade. Macaroni and Cheese connoisseur by appetite.

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TMC toronto meetup march 29th

beautiful! Nice to see magazines are finally catching up
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

thelady
thelady
6 years ago

A Different World, I love this cover

Aree
Aree
6 years ago

I have to critique the photographer for going with the picture of Ledisi, it looks like she got caught picking her nose.
I would have had her place her hand a little lower.

Lisa Bonet is a beautiful women, but she looks like she’s disgusted in the picture.

My favorite will always be Grace Jones. I remember seeing her in a movie years ago she is what I envision as the perfect Amazon. Wonder woman would have nothing on her. I just love Graces presence.

Deb
Deb
6 years ago

Holy crap, I need to scour the internet to find an old copy of Alek Wek’s cover. It is STUNNING.

Viola’s most recent cover is breathtaking in person. I actually stopped in my tracks when I saw it in the store.

I saw Solange’s cover yesterday but didn’t have enough money to pick up a copy. I’ll be picking up all 3 covers in the future. Essence is doing this because of how popular their covers/mags that focus on natural hair are. I’m glad they are waking up bit by bit.

Nisha
Nisha
6 years ago

These covers bring back memories! I remember being a tween and getting the Different World cover in the mail. I was so psyched! Viola Davis’, Lisa Bonet’s, and Alva Rogers’ covers are pretty fly as well.

iluvedges
iluvedges
6 years ago
Reply to  Nisha

yes to Alva Rogers

Thuli
Thuli
6 years ago

Alek Wek!!!!!!!!

Tigerlady80
Tigerlady80
6 years ago

There are all beautiful..Jill Scott, Grace Jones and Viola stand out for me. I love, love Janelle Monae but the cover looks too ‘plastic’…Definitely getting all three covers, kudos Essence!

Pat
Pat
6 years ago

Viola Davis!!

xyzebra
xyzebra
6 years ago

Great list! Believe it or not, the 1993 Alva Rogers cover was controversial at the time because readers weren’t used to seeing dark skin and flowing 4c hair…it was groundbreaking. This is a beautiful list that shows that black media is not all about weaves and relaxers.

iluvedges
iluvedges
6 years ago
Reply to  xyzebra

I remember that, she is my favorite

Sasha
Sasha
6 years ago

Oh wow, Lisa Bonet looks absolutely stunning. The one in which Jada Pinkett Smith has her hair out is beautiful too.

Elle
Elle
6 years ago

Goddess Grace!

They all look lovely, especially Grace and Alek. I miss seeing models dominate the covers of magazines.

Chanda
Chanda
6 years ago

So, a Lupita N’yongo cover should be in the works pretty soon? All of these covers are fabulous. I’ll be buying my May issue (of whose cover I don’t know yet).

BUtifullyHuman
BUtifullyHuman
6 years ago

Yasssssss Jill! All of these beauties’ cover pictures are AWESOME! #BlackGirlsRock

Kesi_anne
Kesi_anne
6 years ago

I know I should be focusing on hair.. but gosh, after all these years and reruns, today I finally realized Dwayne and Whitley were REALLY together back then… makes me so happy inside…

Anxiously waiting Lupita’s cover.

Dorian
6 years ago

I love these covers. Thanks for the round up Well done!

anastasia
anastasia
6 years ago

La Belle Grace, Alek, & Alva are celestial perfection in my eyes..WOW!!

Now, let me see if I can hunt down the “15-min No Jive Workout”, lol!! Love it!!

knetts
knetts
6 years ago

Love Jill Scott’s look… TWA

Chanel
Chanel
6 years ago

I wish Essence continued their separate Hair only mags. I’m holding on to mine until the wheels fall off.

Loui
Loui
6 years ago

Cynthia Bailey looks the best hands down(according to these photos), i guess second would be Alva Rogers and Lisa Bonet. Jada Pinkett obviously has a weave with texturizer, that isn’t representing natural hair ‑_-. Plus she looks rather thin in her picture(sickly actually). Alicia Keys has a natural hairstyle, but not her natural hair. And Alek Wek and Grace Jones are just not attractive. Although Alek might look better with hair. And Viola Davis is just very plain looking, like plain jane next door type.

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