Why Black Magazines Like Pride & EBONY Are Like Ships…


michael ebony 1984mike ebony jackson cover

It’s easy to look at blogs and think they have all the answers. I seriously think Concrete Loop did help to teach VIBE a lesson of not taking its’ audience for granted. Concrete Loop is a great example of a polished media product. I can see a correlation to ships + the sea and what battle is facing the black magazine industry.

1. Captain: The captain always goes down with the ship or so they say? Magazines like EBONY have come from a long, illustrious and rich tradition of capturing the moments of black people. Despite the immediacy of the Internet, this does mean that magazines which have survived for a long time, like Pride, which is 18 years old, it means that these magazines become the captains of the black media ship so to speak due to the fact they have survived for so long.

2. Bow: Michael Jackson is not the first or last celebrity to be frustrated by people spreading rumours through the media. How can some blogs and websites overcome the tag of being seen as spreading false rumours and not leading from the front in the sense of doing proper journalistic research? This is a question which I think will trouble some bloggers who only want to make money by publishing rumours, not fact. Leading from the front means presenting the research that can stand up in court, not the content that causes your comment box to swell as large as Weezy’s ego.  

3. Helm: As the steering wheel of a ship, the helm is one of its’ focal points. One fascinating thing about some black blogs like Necole Bitchie is that the news is not only the focus of the blog, but the blogger herself has become the blog. I think this does work in Necole Bitchie’s case. While I was disappointed in Necole’s coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, I do think she is a good example of someone who is marketing black media news as a succesful online brand. But she is the exception to the rule: I also think that it does not work in some other blogger’s cases. Which is why magazines can come in handy to present a more encompassing overview of a particular issue which I personally think EBONY does quite well.

4. Starboard: Obviously there are no right or wrong answers to the question of whether black magazines can survive in our digital age. I just know that print magazines like EBONY still matter to me because they provide different perspectives for our communities. It is important to have a balance of print & online in order to learn as much as possible. As starboard is the right side of the ship, blogs & magazines are on that side as long as they can continue to provide some fresh and unique material to readers.

Blogging is easy to start, but becoming a huge star in blogging like the Concrete Loops of the world takes more than just setting up a WordPress account and simply rehashing what everyone else has said. Which is why magazines are still relevant, because they elevated the standard back in the day. VIBE let their standards fall down. Hopefully, EBONY & all the other ships in the magazine sea will not allow themselves to capsize and lose the armada.

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