In celebration of Black History Month, NYLON is running a spotlight series called UNAPOLOGETIC. Every day, we’ll celebrate different aspects of black culture through profiles, interviews, roundtables, reviews, videos, and op-eds. #Blacklivesmatter and we hold that truth to be self-evident.
In 2015, only 27 of 136 magazine covers featured people of color, according to a Fashionista report. In 2016, the numbers improved significantly, with 52 of 147 people of color gracing the covers—a 15.5 percent rise. This is all well and good, and we commend the industry for realizing the errors in their ways, but a diverse cover doesn’t always equate to diverse content within the magazine.
Enter: independent magazines. They’re the unsung heroes of the supposed “dying” print market, helping to fill voids with niche and inclusive content. And there are a whole lot of them—if you’re looking in the right places—being run by young, creative people of color (another rarity in the mainstream media space). The scope even reaches beyond the minimalism of Kinfolk and Gentle Woman (both genius magazines on their own), if you can believe it.
No, really, there's a whole other, colorful world of original content out there to explore. Let us help guide you.
Founder Liv Little and her crew, made up entirely of women of color, first started the Gal-Dem project as an online publication in 2014. They recently expanded to print, and thank god for that. The editorial spreads are as stunning as the words accompanying them. The Gal-dem articles that live on their website are also worth checking out.
KH, which stands for the founder Kevin Harry, is essentially a chronicling of New York City street style. The photography-focused zine, produced several times a year, highlights brown and black stylistas and the garb they wear.
A FUBU publication if there ever was one, CRWN magazine is, as we’ve dubbed, the black girl magic bible you’ve been waiting for. Its focus is natural hair and lifestyle, and the articles for the first issue spanned from political hair to a brown girl’s guide to lip color. We chatted with founder Lindsey Day about what readers can expect from the magazine. She told us: “We want to not only show her and portray her in a light that’s very natural and authentic, in a way that she doesn’t often see herself visually, but also show content that speaks to her directly.”
If the covers of Hannah Magazine’s issues don't instantly captivate you, we’re going to assume you’re lying. The biannual publication is, as the website explains, “an unapologetic celebration of and safe space for black women.” It’s a place where they can come to “simply be.” The brand’s Instagram page is also worth a scroll.
The Isis Nicole Magazine, also known as In, is a Chicago-based gem that highlights the works and messages of contemporary artists. The company is five issues in and counting since its 2013 launch. According to an interview the founder, Isis, did with Paper Magazine, we can expect lots of pop culture references and love from issue six.
Are you young, black, gay and unbothered? The Tenth is the zine for you. Even if you’re neither of those things, you should still pick it up. Its third volume delves into the LGBTQ community in L.A. by way of the people who live there and is well-worth exploring.
“Where is the Script for Decentering men?” “In the Days of My Abandonment,” and “Women Who Record Alone at Home” are just some of the stories you’re first met with when you visit The Coalition Zine’s website; it's a mix that speaks to the diverse nature of the publication itself. It’s a literary and cultural zine putting the honest and passionate work created by women of color first. Their aim is to do more than prioritize diversity—they want to “give it heart.”
Baltimore is often only seen through the lens of The Wire: crime-ridden, dangerous, and poor. Lawrence Burney is looking to change that by bringing visibility to the city’s music scene by way of True Laurels.
Run out of the Bay area, Shade is an online zine dedicated to inclusivity. Founded by Azha Luckman and Apryl Fuentes, in classic Generation Z fashion, the content also spans into podcasts, merch, and playlists.
Thought up by Ghanaian creatives Julian and Jason Nicco-Annan, Signature puts a spotlight on writers, musicians, photographers, personalities, and others of African origin.