Since our first issue hit stands in May 1970, we've always celebrated the beauty of Black love. Join us as we revisit all of our vintage couple covers.
Let's Rewind Time
Since ESSENCE Magazine first hit stands in May 1970, the magazine has always celebrated the beauty of Black love in all its forms. Let's take a look back at the covers that made us swoon then and now.
Oneness and Respect
On the January cover in 1971, ESSENCE editors called for oneness and respect between men and women. #righton
Let There Be Love
A romantic embrace opened the January issue in 1973.
More Man/Woman Talk
In November 1973, ESSENCE editors wanted to encourage the conversation between men and women on all things love and respect.
Get With the Program
In April 1974, we advised women on how to "peep your man's program." We can't help but chuckle at the lingo, but the message still rings true today: know your man, ladies!
In August 1974 our cover paid tribute to finding love on campus. Let's hear it for all of the college sweethearts new and old around the world.
Nancy Wilson Finds Love
On May 22, 1973, iconic jazz singer Nancy Wilson married Presbyterian minister Reverend Wiley Burton and we paid tribute to her happy ending in the December 1974 issue.
Another visual tribute to young love. Take a look at our August 1975 ESSENCE cover.
Black Love Is Beautiful
In October 1975, we saluted oh-so-beautiful Black love one again with powerful visuals.
Love and Laughter
Our December 1975 holiday issue paid tribute to love and laughter throughout the season.
Nothing but hugs and kisses on our December 1976 ESSENCE cover.
All About Love
In 1977 our February issue was all about love sweet love.
Save A Good Thing
In February 1979 with a little help from the late, great crooner Teddy Pendergrass, ESSENCE urged couples to save a good thing when they have it. Truth!
Bill and Camille Cosby
In December 1979 celebrity couple Bill and Camille Cosby graced the cover of ESSENCE.
Ashford and Simpson
On the cover of our February issue in 1980 music power couple Valerie Simpson and the late Nickolas Ashford, best known as iconic R&B group Ashford and Simpson, made an appearance. Solid as a rock!
Love Thy Self Most
We reminded women to love and pamper themselves as much as they do their men in the 1981 February issue of ESSENCE.
Let's Hear It For the Fellas
For the November 1981 issue, we let the brother's tell their side of the story when it came to all things love.
Aretha Franklin and Glynn Turman
In December 1981, iconic singer Aretha Franklin and her husband at the time, actor Glynn Turman graced the cover of ESSENCE. Sadly, the couple divorced in 1984, but not before they became a part of the rich ESSENCE history.
Smokey Robinson and Claudette Robinson
Smokey Robinson and his wife Claudette (of The Miracles) celebrated 22 amazing years together on the cover of ESSENCE in February 1982. They split in 1987 but during their 18 year marriage they became the proud parents of two children, a daughter and a son.
Make It Work
In February 1983, ESSENCE asked readers to make it work with the ones they love and to remember that "any man won't do!" Preach!
In July 1983 our cover story was all about building a solid foundation of friendship before moving further with your love. That advice stands true today.
In February 1984 we asked couples to fight fair and keep the love alive.
Addicted to Love
In 1986 for the February issue we dug deep into love addiction.
In July 1986 our cover was devoted to the love between Phylicia and Ahmad Rashād and their happy marriage. Look at those matching smiles!
Where Is the Love?
In December 1986 ESSENCE editors took a look at the state of Black love and what readers could do to keep the love alive in their relationships.
All Love, All the Time
The February 1987 issue was all about love and vulnerability and the cover was filled with warmth and passion.
In 1989 for our February issue we reminded readers to cherish good love. Alright now!
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham
Oprah Winfrey and her longtime love Stedman Graham graced the cover of ESSENCE together in June 1989. We love everything about this, including the fact that they're still enjoying their version of happily ever after today.
For our February issue in 1990 the editors were all about love and seduction.
Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Hardison
Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert!! The A Different World lovebirds were meant to be and so was our infatuation with them. In February 1991 actors Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy got cozy for an ESSENCE cover.
Will Smith and Nia Long Behind the Scenes
For the February cover in 1993, ESSENCE went behind the scenes with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air stars Will Smith and Nia Long, who played the fun-loving couple we all fell in love with on the show.
Hello, Tyson Beckford!
For ESSENCE's sexy 25th anniversary issue we called on gorgeous model Tyson Beckford to bring the heat.
Malik Yoba and Garcelle Beauvais
In July 1995 New York Undercover star Malik Yoba and actress Garcelle Beauvais shared an intimate embrace for the cover of ESSENCE and it was a beauty.
Denzel and Pauletta Washington
In December 1996, Oscar-award winning actor Denzel Washington and his lovely wife Pauletta appeared on the cover of ESSENCE and shared the secrets to their powerhouse love.
Love Jones' Stars Larenz Tate and Nia Long
To celebrate the release of Love Jones, stars Nia Long and Larenz Tate shared the cover of the 1997 February issue of ESSENCE. Darius and Nina, we love you always! Snap, snap, snap!
Samuel L. Jackson and Latanya Richardson
Actors Samuel L. Jackson and Latanya Richardson posed for the December 1999 cover of ESSENCE magazine with their daughter Zoe Jackson. The happy couple will celebrate 24 years of marriage this year.
Erykah Badu and Common
In 2003 everyone was rooting for Erykah Badu and Common's love to last, us included. The then-couple graced our February cover that year with this adorable shot.
Magic and Cookie Johnson
In December 2003 Magic and Cookie Johnson posed for the cover of ESSENCE and opened up about the role forgiveness plays in true love.
Mary J. Blige and Kendu Isaacs
In February 2004 Mary J. Blige posed for the cover of ESSENCE with her new husband Kendu Isaacs and fans couldn't have been happier that she had finally found a love all her own.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and his lovely wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, first graced the cover of ESSENCE together in February 2005. Their love and commitment to each other just radiated from this photo.
Mo'Nique and Husband Sidney Hicks
In December 2005, comedianne and actress Mo'Nique celebrated finding love again and posed for the cover with her second husband Sidney Hicks.
Diddy and Kim Porter
In December 2006 entertainment mogul Diddy posed for ESSENCE's camera with his then-girlfriend Kim Porter.
Mary J. Blige and Kendu Isaacs Are Back Again
In June 2007, Mary J. Blige and her devoted hubby Kendu Isaacs once again posed for the cover of ESSENCE. Can you feel the love?
Usher and Tameka Raymond
When Usher Raymond and his ex-wife Tameka Raymond enjoyed happier times as newlyweds, they graced the cover of the November 2007 issue of ESSENCE.
Laila Ali and Curtis Conway
Boxer Laila Ali and her hubby Curtis Conway made an appearance on the cover of the 2008 May issue of ESSENCE magazine.
Just months before he became the first Black president of the United States, Barack Obama posed with First Lady Michelle Obama and their lovely daughters Sasha and Malia for the September 2008 cover of ESSENCE.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Return
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith made a second appearance on the cover of ESSENCE in December 2008.
Steve and Marjorie Harvey
In December 2009 comedian and TV personality Steve Harvey and his wife Marjorie Harvey appeared together for the very first time on the cover of ESSENCE.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
In the middle of his first presdential term, President Barack Obama posed with his lovely wife, First Lady Michelle Obama for the cover of the March 2010 issue of ESSENCE.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade
In February 2012, Gabrielle Union posed with her then-boyfriend, and current fiancé, NBA baller Dwyane Wade for a sexy and vibrant cover to kick off the month of love.
Steve and Marjorie Harvey Make a Second Appearance
This year, Steve Harvey and his wife Marjorie Harvey paid ESSENCE readers another visit for the February issue to discuss the power of love. Which ESSENCE love cover was your all-time favorite? Tell us below!
The Obamas Say Farewell To the White House With ESSENCE
For the stunning October 2016 cover of ESSENCE, President Barack Obama and First Lady Barack Obama say farewell to the White House with the overwhelming grace, style and poise we've come to expect from our favorite First Couple.