To be broadcast on ABC on Thanksgiving, the Nov. 17 gala marking the 50th anniversary of Ebony was an exuberant cross between a family reunion and an all-star variety show, punctuated by heartfelt testimonials. An audience of 4,800 (whose tickets helped raise about $350,000 for the United Negro College Fund) heard tributes to the magazine from fans including Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said, "It's hard to imagine the deficit of esteem African-Americans would have if it weren't for Ebony." When "the media depicted us in a very negative way," he added, "it gave us a sense of our worth."
That, and a jolt of inspiration. "Ebony means the epitome of beauty, the epitome of success and richness," said Brandy, looking beautiful, successful and rich. "All that we need is to have that magazine around."