It's unfortunate that Linda Villarosa never reached out to interview me for the piece she wrote about me for The Root. Unfortunate and surprising, because I have always been accessible to Linda, who worked with me at Essence for many years. Fact is the story is inaccurate.
Surely, I've known sadness, had my losses, breakups and shake-ups. Yes, I have felt deep shades of the blues, even hopelessness, but never the chronic, clinical depression described in the article. The "soul-crushing depression that crippled her as a child and continued to chip away at her polished public persona through her glory years at Essence" is so far from the truth of my life that it bears no resemblance to my childhood or my life-transforming experience as the editor-in-chief at Essence.
As for "growing up poor in East Harlem," that's true. I grew up in East Harlem, but certainly not poor in the sense that most of us understand poverty. My father opened a women's clothing store in 1936. He was the first black person to own such a business in the East Harlem commercial district. I grew up working in my father's store, not out of necessity, but blessed with the opportunity. It's where I learned how to count, make change, present myself and do business.
Susan L. Taylor