I’ll admit that I, as an African-American, never really felt different from my white friends as I was growing up. There weren’t very many instances where my upbringing differed from theirs, but one thing that comes to mind is that while they were able to read magazines like Girls’ Life and Seventeen and the like, there wasn’t a magazine that I could read where I saw girls like me dealing with some of the basic issues I faced as a minority.
No one had the same type of hair, the same complexion or anything like that. My body’s proportions were never like the girls I saw in the pages of those magazines. I tried for years to diet and do just about every horrible thing I could to my body to try to look like them only to find out that nothing I would ever do would leave me hipless and able to fit into a size 2. There were no hair or makeup tips that I could successfully use (though there are many funny instances when I failed in such endeavors).
As an adult, I have access to more magazines. The advent of the e-zine allows more people to read more magazines than ever before, but I still notice a lack of magazines that are specifically geared towards teenage girls and young women of color in comparison to the amount of publications that are out there.
I understand it’s a consumer-driven market, but as the country continues to become more diverse, most of the major magazines have remained the same. I also get the fact that there are more women and minority writers, models and contributors, but I still feel like there’s a lack when it comes to magazines targeted towards minorities.
So, time and ability willing, I would to one day like to fill a gap left by this industry by creating an e-zine geared towards those who are currently left out. Hair tips for African-American women. Make-up ideas that will look good on those with darker skin. Articles focused on what they face. Encouragement to be unique and different, to hold onto their individuality instead of trying to conform to what’s perceived as “normal”.
And while I’m at it, since writing is so near and dear to my heart, how cool would it be to create a literary magazine for minority adolescence, teens and young adults? I used to love Teen Ink in middle school and I think it’s a great magazine. I hope to never rival them, but complement what they do. Reach out to those they might miss and broaden the demographic of creatively-minded young people. Embrace the arts and help those who hope to enter this world one day by showcasing their talents and abilities.
So those are just a couple of the ideas bouncing around in my head at the second. More than just about anything else I want to do, I want to be able to accomplish this and fill some of gaps that others have missed or were unable to fill.
I guess we’ll see what the future holds….