The Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications welcomed Essence Magazine and Latina Magazine's co-founder Edward Lewis to "The Caldwell Cafe" November 5.
A live audience of students, faculty, staff, and the community witnessed the conversation between Lewis and HU professors Dr. Carol Davis and Allie-Ryan Butler in the Scripps Howard television studio.
Lewis shared the journey of Essence Magazine and admitted to major stumbles. Yet, through every storm a rainbow was created and Essence became a brand that grew into television, a music festival, award shows, book publishing, and further became a strong and reliable platform for the Black community and journalists alike, he said.
Lewis also emphasized how teamwork is what built and transformed Essence Magazine.
"My definition of team work is shared dependency," said Lewis. He further explained how he depended on others to manage advertising, distribution, and production just as heavily as they depended on him for leadership and judgment.
With many success stories like Essence, there comes a mix of scandal, envy, management battles, financial upheavals, and greed. It's hard to avoid them completely, but the key is to learn how to react to them wisely, Lewis said.
"You have to learn to be more focused and grow your determination," said Lewis. "There is no substitution to hard work and you can't get distracted away from it."
Lewis noted how listening is a very powerful tool, and how it allowed him to learn and provide feedback in a conducive way as a professional.
HU is filled with students who hold the ingredients to success, and with that Lewis added what his mother taught him as the four commandments by which to live: Be a proud black man, take care of your family, get a good education, and always try to do the right thing.
The word "try" is significantly important because it highlights how trying evolves with every success and every failure, he said.
Lewis' back still hurts when he sees tobacco, because it reminds him of the hard work he would do every summer on his grandparents' farm in southwest Virginia. It's called "muscle memory" and hard work should take that form in every pursuit, he said.
At the end of the event, Lewis gave everyone in the studio audience a copy of his recent book, "The Man From Essence: Creating A Magazine for Black Women," which he personally signed.