This Black History Month, amplify Black voices by reading and sharing these five Black-owned zines.
- Gen-Blk Zine
“Gen-Blk is an early 2000’s lifestyle and fashion zine for black girls,” write the three teens who created the zine in June of 2020. They compile visual art, poetry, prose, and music submissions from young Black creatives looking for an outlet. The team inspires other Black youth to express their creativity by seeing themselves represented. Early 2000’s/Y2K fashion is their niche; they love to reminisce about the Spice Girls, Raven Simone, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, and other pop icons’ impact in the fashion and lifestyle world. In less than a year, three completed issues of Gen-Blk have already been published. The next issue will be themed “Act My Age,” which opens the floor for conversations and art about coming of age in the 2000s! It will be available digitally on their website and in print. Stay tuned to catch this next issue.
- BlkGrlsWurld Zine
If you’re interested in a totally different aesthetic, BlkGrlsWurld has got your back. Sisters Courtney and Christina started the zine in 2013 to celebrate “WOC in the Heavy Metal, Punk, & Hardcore Scenes.” They love the sense of community they feel among WOC in the music scene at the mosh pits of punk shows, and their zine is a representation of that love. On their website and Etsy shop, you can buy their printed zines, posters, and other merch that directly support the creators. BlkGrlsWurld’s latest issue was released in Summer 2020, and a new one is in the works!
- Tough Cookie Mag
Tough Cookie Mag is an inspiring zine founded by Erin James amidst her struggles with the Black Lives Matter protests and quarantine in 2020. In the first line of the zine’s first article titled “The Heavy Realizations of a Black Girl,” she shares that she had “been wondering lately if I’m doing enough for the Black Lives Matter movement. If I need to be centering myself and my work exclusively and attentively to the cause.” She spends the article (and subsequently, three zine issues) unpacking her identity as a Black youth. In the first issue, she then empathizes with the feeling that “the things that are hard to talk about, can be easier to read first. So let this inspire you to share your own stories, and find your own voice.” As such, Tough Cookie Mag exists as a collaborative safe space for marginalized voices to share their art and words. The first issue introduced readers to the magazine with mixed media content, then the second issue “The All Black Everything Edition” celebrates Black excellence. The latest issue “Gaslighting: Exploring Domestic Violence & Stories from Survivors” was released this month, so go visit their store to buy your physical copy! Also, give their podcast a listen.
- “CASUAL” Zine
“CASUAL” Zine is an expansive “art collective and culture zine.” Marley Melbourne founded the zine in Summer of 2020 to showcase the arts of passionate youth. The zine is mostly in the format of a website, much like an online magazine (hey, Her Campus readers!). Although, they have also released print issues. They feature articles — prose, non-fiction, poetry, and interviews — as well as visual art and photography. Personally, their articles stand out to me the most because their writers write about social, environmental, and feminist justice in accessible ways, while sprinkling in exciting pieces on fashion and film. Follow “CASUAL” Zine’s Instagram to stay connected to their diverse collection of authors.
Make sure to follow these zines on social media, download and buy their zines, and recommend them to your friends so amplifying Black voices isn’t just relegated to the month of February. This is a short list, but rest assured there are countless other Black-run zines across the globe. A few other Black-owned zines are the amazing: Ochenta Magazine, Gal-Dem, CRWNMAG, and then check out the #blackzinemakers and #blackzine hashtag on various social media. Plus when things open up again, explore even further by attending local zine fairs and markets. Happy Black History Month, and happy reading!