Editor-in-chief Oroma Elewa, who is Nigerian, explained the vision for her magazine to Blackbook thus: “There is a plethora of fashion/art magazines out there, but I don’t think there is a multitude of non-mainstream, art-driven, inspiring magazines about Africans out there. And if there is, I don’t know of them. But whether or not these publications exist, there can always be more.” Elewa trained as a fashion designer before turning to photography.
The latest issue promises features on Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry, who won the Caine Prize for African writing last year for this short story, Malian musician Salim Diallo, and Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef Marcus Samuelsson. (Samuelsson’s restaurant, the Red Rooster, finally opened in Harlem just before Christmas; it’s sandwiched between a takeaways joint and a homey, delicious French restaurant, down the block from Sylvia’s iconic soul food place, and across the street from the Maysles Cinema, which pretty much encapsulates the weird and delightful juxtapositions of the neighborhood. Last time I was at Red Rooster, the bartender asked if I was visiting from Park Slope, but the food is fucking delicious.)
And there are fashion spreads, too, with models including Ajak Deng, Gaye MacDonald, and Nina Keita. Breath, bated.
I always love seeing magazines, especially fashion magazines, that are targeted towards POC, because they challenge traditional, white normative beauty standards, and affirm POC as people of beauty and worth.