Here are some ways you can support the BLM movement, by reading publications that center around black issues.
Sad news in the writer’s world. Binyavanga Wainaina, a deeply influential Kenyan writer and LGBTQ activist, has passed away at age 48, according to NPR. He was the founder of Kwani? a literary magazine and loose collection of Kenyan writers that bounded together to foster creativity, passion, and fostered the work of Kenyan young writers. He also won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002 and became widely known for his written piece, “How To Write About Africa”, cheekily instructing Western writers how to do just that. The full piece is below:
“In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.”
Image Via The Star
It was first published in Granta and became a sensation, often used as a descriptive shorthand to show the laziness Western writers use when approaching Africa in their work. The author came out as gay in 2014 and since then, had been an outspoken for LGBTQ rights. He publicly revealed his sexuality in an essay titled “I Am A Homosexual, Mum” a piece often hailed as extremely brave considering homosexuality is illegal in Wainaina’s country of Kenya. The piece earned him widespread recognition, including a nod from Time, who named him as one of the most influential people in 2014.
Unfortunately, the next few years were not kind to him. Wainaina suffered a stroke in 2015 before he was diagnosed with AIDs in 2016. Wainaina continued to push ahead, announcing he was getting married in 2018 but succumbed to his illness nonetheless on May 21st, 2019. For his part, Wainaina announced he did not fear death and was the happiest he could have been due to finding love.
Image Via BOMB Magazine
Wainaina is truly was one of the most influential writers, not just in Kenya, but to the world. His passing will be very much missed, robbing the world of a great talent far too early. Nonetheless, his work will live on through the community that supported him, carrying on his legacy of love.
Featured Image Via NPR
Essence magazine will once again become a fully black-owned publication for the first time in almost two decades. Richelieu Dennis, the founder of Sundial Brands, a personal-care products company, is set to acquire the publication, though the sale has not yet gone through. Dennis intends to “serve and empower women of color. This will give Essence a platform and a voice to serve its consumers, which are women of color. They have allowed us to invest into the business so that we can bring in the infrastructure and resources.”
Richelieu Dennis. | Image Via the New York Times
According to a statement from the magazine, Essence will keep its executive team in place, which is entirely made up of black women, including president Michelle Ebanks. Dennis intends to give the executive team an ownership interest in the business as well.
In the statement, Ebanks said:
The acquisition represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms.
Essence has been in publication for 48 years as a monthly lifestyle magazine focusing on fashion, pop culture, music, and black life, holding a majority-black audience. The magazine holds an annual music festival in New Orleans—Essence Fest—which was featured in 2017’s Girls Trip with Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish. It was headlined last year by powerhouse musicians Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, and Chance the Rapper.
Melody Spann-Cooper, chairwoman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, welcomed Essence’s return to an all-black-owned company, saying:
I am a believer that when we own our media companies they represent an authentic voice. We have an opportunity to control our media and tell our own story and that is often muted when traditional media companies that represent the African-American culture are owned by someone outside of an African-American’s hands it loses something. This is historical.
Dennis was raised by a single mother who read Essence, and his four daughters also read it. “I’m very focused on giving back, investing and growing my community. This is a continuation of my quest to do that.” Essence‘s motto is “Black women come first,” and Dennis intends to live up to that motto.
Featured Image Via Essence Magazine.
Now is the time of year when eating feels a non-stop Olympic event. From traditional dishes to first times at trying new plates, now is the time to have a little fun in the kitchen and get, dare I say, artsy.
Image Via Amazon
Of course, leave it to Vogue to help us enjoy food in a fashionable way. As one of the biggest magazine publications in the world, the masters at Vogue have recently released a brand new book, Food in Vogue, containing notable images and writing on food from their pages over the years.
Image Via Vogue
Renowned photographers like Irving Penn and Tim Walker are shown in a way that is more stylized than mouthwatering, but the photos are beautiful and inspiring nonetheless. Jeffrey Steingarten is a long-time food columnist for Vogue who also graced the book’s pages. He also graces the judge’s table on the popular show Iron Chef America.
Fashion + food + book = #FoodInVogue = perfect Sunday. ⠀ ⠀ Food In Vogue collects the most elegant, mouth-watering food photography and finest food writing from one of the most respected magazines in the world. ⠀ ⠀ This is more than a book about food. It’s a book about trends, fashion, and culture, told through the world’s common language.⠀ ⠀ @AbramsBooks @VogueMagazine ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #book #bookstagram #vogue #voguemagazine #jeffreysteingarten #irvingpenn #phyllisposnick #photography #journalism #essays #editorials #chefs #iconic #bibliophile #foodie #food #foodstagram #fashion #style #lavish
With the artists and writers shared experiences of travelling, tasting, and knowledge of something so universal, how could we not be tempted to gift it away to someone we love this season?
Image Via The Jakarta Post
Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying the effect Hefner’s work has had on both the literary and publishing worlds. In memoriam of Hugh Hefner’s life and career, we’ve put together a list of some of the most notable authors and interviews published in Playboy to prove that yes, some people really do read it for the articles.
I had so much fun making the featured image that I couldn’t not also make a full cover. Enjoy. / Image Via The New Yorker, Photoshopped by yours truly.
If you’ve got a subscription to Playboy, be sure to check out the Playboy Archive for digital copies of magazines ranging from 1954 to 2007.
1. An Interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Image via Wikipedia
In 1964, just after he had won the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sat down with Alex Haley for a series of interviews, which were then edited together for the magazine’s January 1965 issue. The interview is the longest interview King gave to a publication. Ever. King speaks of his observations of the Civil Rights Movement (at that point) and the first time he remembered experiencing racism. He was forced to stand on a bus, not too dissimilar to Rosa Parks’ story, which later inspired him to stage a bus boycott.
2. Haruki Murakami, author of Norwegian Wood
Image via Time Magazine
Japan’s most popular author and one of the “world’s greatest living novelists”, Haruki Murakami has written bangers like Norwegian Wood, 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka on the Shore. ‘The Second Bakery Attack‘, first published in 1992, was later published in a collection of short stories called The Elephant Vanishes: Stories.
3. Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse-Five
Image via Wikipedia
Vonnegut first appeared in Playboy in a 1973 interview. Most notably, though, the magazine was the first to publish an excerpt from Armageddon in Retrospect, Vonnegut’s first posthumous collection. The collection features several new short stories, a letter Vonnegut wrote to his family during his time as a prisoner of war in World War II, drawings, and a speech written shortly before his death.
4. Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road
Image via CMG Worldwide
5. Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451
Image via Wikipedia
During the first years of Playboy’s life their budget only allowed for reprinted stories, and in 1954 they published a serialized version of Fahrenheit 451. ‘The First Night of Lent’, Bradbury’s first original story for the publication in 1956, was among the first previously unpublished stories the magazine sent to print.
6. Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Image via The New Yorker
Atwood’s first foray into Playboy was in 1991 with the publication of ‘The Bog Man’. ‘The Bog Man’ recounts the discovery of a 2,000 year old man during a trip between a Canadian student and the married archaeology professor she is in love with. Atwood’s other works published in Playboy include The Bad News (2006) and The Age of the Bottleneck (2008).
7. Gabriel García Márquez, author of Love in the Time of Cholera
Image via Inspire Portal
Published in 1971, Marquez’s short story ‘The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World‘ is about a ridiculously handsome dead body that washes up onto shore and enchants an entire village. If you’re unfamiliar with Marquez’s work, I absolutely recommend A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings.
8. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels
Image via Ian Fleming
According to John Cork, founding member of the Ian Fleming Foundation, “by 1960 Ian Fleming, James Bond, and Playboy magazine became a nearly synonymous cultural force, truly united with Playboy‘s publication of [Fleming’s story] The Hildebrand Rarity.” Fleming’s 11th book, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was published simultaneously as a hardcover in Britain and serialized in Playboy from April to June 1963.
Image via Penguin Books
Dahl’s only non-children’s book, My Uncle Oswald, was based on ‘The Visitor’, a story written for and published in Playboy in May of 1965. You wouldn’t think a beloved children’s author would fit in with the publication but Dahl describes main character Oswald as “the greatest fornicator of all time”, so. Dahl’s first original story for Playboy was ‘A Fine Son’, published in 1959.
10. Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22
Image via Biography.com
Heller refers to his short story ‘Yossarian Survives’ (published in Playboy in 1987) as a lost chapter of Catch-22. The story describes Yossarian’s training at Lowry Field Air Force base in Denver, Colorado. Fans interested in reading this ‘lost chapter’ can find it in Catch As Catch Can: The Collected Stories and Other Writings.
11. Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club
Image via Chuck Palahniuk
Palahniuk is no stranger to getting published in Playboy, but I’m including him for a reason very close-to-home. When I was twelve-years-old, rifling through my best friend’s stepfather’s magazines, I found what would eventually become one of my favorite short stories. Palahniuk’s controversial short story ‘Guts‘ was first published in the March 2004 issue of Playboy. ‘Guts’ is part of Palahniuk’s short story collection Haunted: A Novel.
12. Hunter S. Thompson, father of Gonzo journalism
Image via Rolling Stone
‘The Great Shark Hunt‘ graced Playboy‘s pages in 1973 and was later published in a book of autobiographical essays of the same name. Over his career, Thompson’s work appeared in Playboy on a number of occasions.
13. Truman Capote, author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories.
Image via Mom Advice
In the January 1984 issue of Playboy, Capote retold some of the most outrageous stories from friend and playwright Tennessee Williams’s life. It wasn’t the first time Capote was featured in the magazine. He was also the subject of a 1968 interview about his writing career, the role of Jewish writers in the American literary scene, and his views on capital punishment.
14. An Interview with Joyce Carol Oates, author of 56 novels, and a lot more.
Image via Lewis Center for the Arts
The 1993 interview calls Oates:
one of the most prolific writers in America. Her critics even complain that she writes too much. She has written more novels than Nobel laureate Saul Bello, more short story collections than John Updike, more books of essays than Norman Mailer, more words of poetry than Emily Dickinson and more plays than Chekhov. Critic Harold Bloom considers her “our true proletarian novelist.”
Featured image via The New Yorker, improved via my own photoshop abilities.