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Published on June 22nd, 2016 | by Art News

Photos: the Most Powerful Ebony Covers, From Muhammad Ali to Halle Berry

There was a time when there was only one place to go for black entertainment news: African-American magazines likeEbony. Now, after more than 70 years of featuring black icons, from Rosa Parks to Halle Berry, from Muhammad Ali to President Barack Obama, Ebony has been sold.

It’s the end of an era today in entertainment. Before celebrity gossip blossomed into a $3 billion industry, magazines likeLife were America’s main source of coverage for famous celebrities. Yet if you wanted to see black faces and read about the latest black gossip or celebrity news, Ebony was where you turned. Yet this June, Johnston Publishing announced that it would close its publishing division with the sale of Ebony and Jet to Clear View Group, a private equity firm from Texas (thankfully, also a black-owned firm).

“We made this purchase because this is an iconic brand — it’s the most-recognized in the African-American community,” said Clear View’s co-founder. “We just think this is a great opportunity for us.”

So even though Ebony will continue publishing as normal for the time being, black gossip sites are taking this chance to look back at some of Ebony’s most famous coverage over the years. The black celebrity news industry may be dominated by digital outlets today, but the magazine pioneered the Hollywood news style so popular today. Regular features like “The Private World of…” featured intimate looks inside black celebrity’s worlds. These photo spreads would take readers right into the living rooms of famous black celebs like Muhammad Ali, Dorothy Dandridge (the first black woman nominated for an Oscar), Oprah Winfrey, and so many more. Before there was “MTV Cribs,” there was Ebony, the original black celebrity news source.

However, the magazine also covered more serious African-American issues like the Civil Rights Movement, up to the election of the first black president, culminating in the now famous “In Our Lifetime” cover featuring President Barack Obama (First Lady Michelle Obama would also appear regularly in the magazine’s cover and stories).

So as we enter a new era of black media, dominated by black gossip sites, here are just some of the most famous Ebony covers that made the magazine so famous:

Diana Ross, October 1975 (Image Source: EURWeb.com)

Halle Berry, March 2011
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Halle Berry also appeared on the magazine’s famous 60th anniversary cover in November 2005, along with Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx

“The Black Revolution,” August 1969
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“The Private World of Muhammad Ali,” Ebony, September 1972
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“Black Love, Black History,” featuring Michelle Obama, February 2009
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“The Private World of Dorothy Dandridge,” Ebony, June 1962
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