Book-publishing executive Dawn Davis is Bon Appetit's new top editor, taking the helm following a reckoning on race and culture at the food magazine.
Davis, a Black woman, was most recently vice president and publisher of Simon & Schuster imprint 37 Ink, and her titles include “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rae and Erica Armstrong Dunbar's “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave,” a National Book Award finalist.
Davis starts at Bon Appetit on Nov. 2, Conde Nast said Thursday.
Bon Appetit is one of the main brands of New York-based magazine publisher Conde Nast, which also publishes Vogue, The New Yorker and GQ. It was drawn into a discussion on race this summer across the media and other industries as people took to the streets to protest police brutality against Black people.
Bon Appetit's former top editor, Adam Rapoport, left in June after food writer Tammie Teclemariam tweeted out an old Halloween photo in which he wore a stereotyped Puerto Rican costume. That sparked discussion online by Black, Asian-American and Latino current and former staffers and freelancers about their experiences at the magazine, including pay inequities compared with white staffers.
Staffers then said the Bon Appetit had been too “white-centric" and marginalized “non-white stories,” and pledged to make big changes. That included “prioritizing people of color for the editor in chief candidate pool, implementing anti-racism training for our staff, and resolving any pay inequities that are found across all departments.”
Since then, the magazine has also hired food-media veteran Sonia Chopra as executive editor. She said she was “committed to inclusion and equality in the content we create and among the staff that creates it.”
But it hasn't been all positive news for the brand. A half-dozen of the popular video stars have quit Bon Appetit's well-known videos, or asked to be released from their video contracts, saying they weren't offered fair pay or were in solidarity with those who weren't, while two Black staffers left the magazine.
"Decisions about what we eat and with whom, who produces our food and how, influences almost every aspect of our lives,” said Davis in a statement provided by Conde Nast. “I look forward to working with both the talented team at Bon Appétit and with writers and tastemakers to create an array of intriguing and inclusive recipes and stories about the intersections between food and family, culture and commerce for our audiences.”