When MoAna Luu stepped into her role as Chief Content and Creative Officer at ESSENCE earlier this year, all eyes were on her. It wasn’t long before she showed exactly why she had been tapped for the position.
The international media trailblazer, style guru, and publishing leader had been making waves in her home country of Martinique, and was ready for to bring her Caribbean flavor to the U.S. to grace the pages of the premier publication for Black women across the Diaspora—and she’s doing exactly that.
Since joining the ESSENCE family, Luu has elevated the pages of the magazine, its partnerships, and its platforms, all with her eyes on global expansion.
“We want to represent every Black woman worldwide—from the Caribbean, from Africa, to the Diaspora in Europe. And you can feel it in the magazine. You can feel it on Essence.com. You can feel it on the podcasts,” Luu said Friday at the Color Files Podcast stage during Essence Festival’s Beauty Carnival. “Black women are all around the globe and it’s a reminder that we are all Black, no different. We are one global community and together we are stronger.”
As someone who grew up in the French Caribbean, lived in Paris and the Philippines, traveled the world in the name of style and beauty, and now creates in New York, Luu has been exposed to so many facets of Black beauty. So she’s seen the commonalities, and how even when we’re from very different places with different cultures, we can be so similar. One of the most important benefits of globalizing ESSENCE is the ability to share Black girl-approved products, beauty routines and style secrets.
“This is what we’ve been doing in the pages of the magazine. Black beauty is diverse, and we want to show this diversity. This is the mission of ESSENCE today,” Luu said. “Black people are defining the genres and the trends globally and we are shaping mainstream culture and the conversation. So [we’re telling] Black women ‘You don’t need to create somebody else, because you are enough.’ ESSENCE is showing the world that we are the ones creating it.”
And she lives it every day. Raising a Black boy, she understands the importance of showing him the beauty of Black women from all over the world. Luu credits her son as her inspiration and someone who changed her perception of life. The creative said that she’s proud to bring him to events like Essence Festival so that he can not only see her as a representation of a strong Black woman, but also see how vast we are in our beautiful differences.
Bringing a global Black perspective to the world (and getting it right) is a hefty and somewhat daunting endeavor. With Luu at the helm, ESSENCE is stepping up to the task.
“What we’re building for Black women at ESSENCE is a platform where she can be here, and she can be sharing her stories, in every way and in a global way. We are from Brooklyn, from Lagos, the Caribbean, Belgium; we are from everywhere,” Luu said Friday. “You will see it in the content. We are cool. We are trans-generational. We’re uplifting women.We are a positive brand because we believe in you.”