by Racialicious special correspondent Latoya Peterson
My name is Latoya, and I am addicted to magazines.
While I am down from my addiction high of $75 a month on various glossies, I still tend to read far more magazines each month than I do books. Many of the periodicals I grab are imports – a brand new fashion mag from Japan, a graffiti magazine from Belgium, design tips from across the pond, an art magazine from the Bay Area that somehow made it to DC.
I would estimate I have about fifteen regular publications that I subscribe to or purchase, plus another five to ten that I randomly pick up off the newsstand. While I enjoy reading magazines, they tend to be a POC wasteland. With the exceptions of specialty publications like Essence or East West, there is not a lot of minority representation. So with that in mind, I present to you a quick list of things I enjoyed last month in hopes to turn people on to some new reading, and to highlight mentions of minorities in mainstream media.
East West Magazine
Comics Get Cultural: How Archie Comics and Other Well-Known Series are Diversifying to Better Mirror Today’s Reading Public (p. 31)
An interesting article about how the Archie comics have illustrated their first Asian character – Raj Patel. The piece features an section on Desi characters in the comic world, the character design for Raj, and criticism of character design and intent.
A Question of Identity: LGBT Asians Face Social and Cultural Isolation (p. 37)
This article primarily focuses on the issues LGBT Asians face when coming out. The article is told primarily through the perspectives of Asians who have immigrated to America, but it also contains many references to stateside support groups and online groups meant to show support around the globe.
Sex Change for the Better: Are We Treated Differently At Work Because We’re Women?
Fascinating article. While this doesn’t deal with race, it does deal with a minority group that is rarely heard from in the mainstream media. The article synopsis reads as follows:
PINK gets the truth from the only people who could possibly know for sure – those who have been both man and woman. Meet Donna Rose, a former jock who could bench press 300 pounds, who sometimes feels invisible as a woman. And Jillian Weiss, a lawyer who now gets more leeway from judges but more scrutiny from men at work.
The only quibble I had with the article is that there were no Female-to-Male transsexuals interviewed. I would have loved to hear that perspective as well, but the article still plays well.
How We Worship (p. 239)
I enjoy reading Essence, but their writing can be very Christian centric. While I am sure that the majority of their readers are Christian, I always wonder about representations those of us who do not identify with Christianity. In this month’s issue, I was pleasantly surprised to see a photo essay on worship – with a Muslimah leading the article. Other profiles included a Christian Cultural Center attendee, a Baptist, a Hebrew Israelite, members of Spiritmuv (the Prayer Circle of Light), and a Buddhist.
Just Between Us Girls (p. 189)
This is the infamous article where Sanaa Lathan, Gabrielle Union, and Nia Long spoke out against the nastiness on black gossip sites. Gabrielle Union notes, “I can’t point the finger at the White media. They don’t care about us…so when you hear crap about us, it is coming from our own community, which hurts.”
Hero of the Month (p. 74)
This month’s Hero is the formidable Olivia Wang. Wang started The Habeas Project, based around a revision in California law that allows domestic violence survivors incarcerated for murdering their abusers to request a new trial (if they met certain state mandated circumstances.)
The Utne Reader
Dec. ’07/Jan. ’08 Issue
It appears I have misplaced this month’s issue which means no page numbers. However, the Utne has a ton of informative articles (as usual) but there are a few of particular interest. One on conversation and how it is becoming lost in a wave of arguments, another deals with anger and how it manifests itself in daily life, and yet another dealing with the decline of prison newspapers. (Luckily, the last one is online.)
Words. Beats. Life : The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture
Volume 3, Issue 1
A new mag I spotted while looking for a book at Busboys and Poets, Words.Beats.Life in of immediate interest. Both scholarly journal and magazine, it features a mix of articles meant for academia, articles for general consumption, and some small articles for children and young adults. There is also a directory of hip-hop related organizations to help people get involved.
Immigrants in Europe and the Transculturation of an African-American Genre (p. 47)
Fascinating to see the same issues we discuss in hip-hop culture being discussed abroad. A section from the article:
Hip-Hop in Europe has recently become a concern to European policy makers in the wake of the 2005 Paris, France riots. The youth involved in the rioting and vandalism were identified as immigrant youth influenced by rap music. The public at large seemed to feel that hip-hop influenced these actions. However, upon closer inspection, one has to wonder if hip-hop was the root of the problem that led to the riots, or whether hip-hop, like the riots themselves, is simply a symptom of problems of race in modern society.
Constant Elevation: The Rise of Bay Area Hip-Hop Activism (p.56)
Jeff Chang penned this excellent overview of hip-hop activism and provides an explanation, history, mention of major players, recommendations and discussion questions.