Finding Our Publishing Power

by Evette Dionne

Latina

Glamour has launched a sister publication for Latina women. Belleza Latina will be released tomorrow, a little more than a year after Cosmopolitan released Cosmopolitan for Latinas. The New York Post infers that this is publishers Conde Nast and Hearst “duking it out in the Hispanic market,” in an effort to secure a Latina readership.

It is logical to target this niche market. The US Census found 60 million Hispanic-Americans living in the United States, so catering to an audience of this proportion is strategic and wise.

Donna Kalajian, publisher of Cosmopolitan, told the New York Post, “The brands that win are going to be the ones that have a big level of engagement with the Latina consumers.”

The pinpointing and marketing of niche demographics is extensive in magazine publishing. Glossies are notorious for catering to immigrant and foreign populations. VOGUE has editions from France to Asia, while O, the Oprah Magazine has a specific publication for South Africa. But where are the sister publications for black Americans, who comprise 13.1 percent of the U.S. population?

The publishing world sees the value of launching successful Latina magazines to improve their branding possibilities, but the black American demographic is one of the largest consumers of goods, including magazines. Of course we have ESSENCEEbony, JonesSister 2 Sister, and dozens of digital publications, but Hearst and Conde Nast are multibillion-dollar conglomerates that produce top-notch magazines for other populations – except black Americans. Where is Cosmopolitan African-Americans/Africa or Glamour for our population of readers?

Power exists in publishing. A simple Google search for African-American publishers only yields one significant result: Earl S. Graves Jr., the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise. Others exist, especially on digital media platforms, but it is almost impossible to compare the wealth and branding potential of Conde Nast to Graves’ corporation. Black Americans have to build publishing corporations designed to produce platforms for our voices and stories.

Some won’t care that we’re being excluded at conglomerates as influential as Hearst and Conde Nast while some will spew the we can’t seek inclusion; we have to establish our own platforms to share our stories. Both perspectives are valid, but don’t negate the need to ask questions, deconstruct media organizations, and seek answers.

Monique Manso, publisher of People en Espanol, told the New York Post the Hispanic magazine market is lucrative.

“There is room for continued growth in the Hispanic magazine business so long as publishers have organic consumer demand for the product, high reader engagement, original content, and research that shows and proves they are reaching this market effectively,” she said.

One day black Americans should be perceived as a market worth pursuing as well.

  • Chic Noir

    Well there is an Elle South Africa and a Cosmopolitan Kenya(East Africa). Those are the only two that I am aware of.

    Elle South Africa can be purchased via Amazon. There are Black magazines like Arise, She, and Clam ladies and gents that chatter to Black women.

    We don’t always have to wait for others to do for us what we can do for ourselves.

    RIP Pop Africana and Suede.

  • omfg

    this article just makes me shake my head…

    to me, it is great that black people own our own publications and or were in the forefront of minority-owned publishing ventures going all the way back to newspapers that existed more than100 years ago.

    why in the world would anyone be mad because a white conglomerate like conde nast hasn’t taken an interest in us?

    really? that bothers you. you are not getting enough attention from conde nast.

    seriously?

    give your money, when you can, to black people who support you, whether they are in the digital space (online publications) or traditional publishing.

    i just don’t get this mentality.

    i just don’t care if conde nast has a black publication as long as there are publications created by and for black people that exist. i’m just flummoxed because it never occurred to me to point a finger at conde nast for this.

    why would i want them (conde nast) to dictate anything to me or tell my story for me?

    and btw, i believe latina magazine got its start because of help from the folks at essence – when it was black-owned.

  • Sia

    Those are great! But, some American Black women don’t fully connect with some of those publication fully – because it doesn’t touch on all of our needs editorial (we love the pictures!) since it’s mainly African publications. I love Arise and I have read the others. But, this article is mainly saying for us (Black Americans) we don’t see those in our drug stores and it doesn’t speak to all of us. I applaud those publications you mentioned.

    This “We don’t always have to wait for others to do for us what we can do for ourselves.” —– doesn’t really apply here a lot of Black woman here in America have little to no luck getting the investment they need to open, stay open, and grow their businesses.

    Take Clutch, Clutch can be even better if they had investment – ONE woman runs Clutch. She doesn’t have the budget that would improve some of the things readers have asked for. Why, because she is doing it by herself, but I know she is actively looking for support / real investment. Doing it for her self has been great – but in order to grow SHE NEEDS HELP or a publishing house.

    Hence – the publications you mentioned. As the article states we need publishing houses behind us. Just wait to see if Essence’s closes or moves to a smaller publisher. It’s going to look a hell of a lot different – because they have TIME behind them. Trying to do everything by ourselves most of the time leads to waisted money and time when you have that attitude in business.

    P.S – Suede was owned and run by TIME. They felt the publication cost to much to produce and dropped it from Essence.

  • Sia

    The hired mainly an all Latina or if a black publication top-notch Black writers and editors to run the publication. These publication just get major back up from these companies and we get to see other publications in print for us.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    Well if they are already getting your money without making any real effort, then why change the formula. Most African Americans buy pretty much everything without being directly marketed to, so why spend the time and effort on creating mags for us.

  • Jaslene

    I read Cosmo Latina it’s great because it can cater to women of a darker complexion.

  • KGA25

    Black women come in many different hues. Skin complexion is not the problem. I don’t care about Cosmo, Vogue, or Glamour I read Ebony. Black is so beautiful!!!

  • Stephanie

    Investing in ourselves means validating ourselves. Watching conglomerates like Cond Naste invest in the Latino population, or constantly asking why in 2013 Black women are still under-represented (including shoots that are ‘Black’ related/themed) in high fashion makes no sense; but the truth is they’re just not that interested in us.

    But we know ‘us.’ We know what we’re feeling, what we’re thinking and we’re talking about what matters most to US (Hi Clutch!). Evette said it herself: we have buying power -so why not invest in us? If we invest in our depiction we get to tell our stories and own the power to choose how the rest of the world sees us (well in this case you; I live in Canada lol).

  • Marcia

    I agree. Good place for makeup/hair tips. More brown faces than other places too.

  • Ms. Write

    To be honest, I only look at Glamour for the fashion. I have always liked the articles better in Essence anyway. Felt they were a little less shallow. And also the magazine isn’t 90% ads like the rest of them. I agree with OMFG. Why continue to beg to be represented by a corporation that shows no interest in you when we have our own?

  • Jaslene

    I am stating why I have no issue with reading the magazine. I read Ebony and Essence also. I also read other magazines for fashion.

  • Jaslene

    You are so right. I was surprised because a lot of times they don’t seem to realize Latinas come in all hues and that Black women can also be Latinas. They also cover hair texture. I support the magazine because it can find a way to cater to me.

  • Apple

    I still have copies of Suede under my bed from my teen years hoping it will come back now I see it probably won’t happen

  • Penny

    I would never expect them to take an interest in black women…they’ve made it clear that they think black women are bad for business. They will put a Latin woman on one of their covers just as quickly as they would a white woman. Black women rarely (if ever) even get on a cover, so I know they would never even think about doing a sister publication for black women.

    Thank goodness we have our own publications and we aren’t all looking to Conde Nast for validation.

  • http://www.notacookie.com laneé

    Again I say, WHY are we constantly trying to be accepted by companies who don’t want us? We read the white mags mostly for fashion, because obviously the hair and makeup tips don’t apply to us. I/ we need to support the black mags more so they can have money to make for a better magazine. Essence is nothing but advertisements because they can’t afford to publish the magazine without an ad on every other page. We need to make the change and stop crying every time someone doesn’t pay us any attention.

    If we aren’t buying our own magazines (ebony, essence, jet, etc.) why would Cosmo make a mag just for us? That’s not a smart business move.

  • Pingback: Finding Our Publishing Power via Clutch Magazine | MMXLII

  • Liz

    I miss Honey…

  • Chic Noir

    I read Vogue India and sometimes forget that it isn’t a mag marketed to blk women.

  • Mademoiselle

    A flower won’t grow in a pot with a large hole in the bottom.

    It’s not enough to just be a population with high spending power and consumerism. That doesn’t put us in a position to share notoriety with anyone. It only puts us in a position to be marketed to. The American Black population doesn’t command any power. Honestly, I believe black people spend too much time decrying inequality and being ignored instead of doing what it takes to force people to take notice of us. I see way too many articles about why black people aren’t included in this show, that magazine, this project, that funding, and far too little articles about black people doing something worth being cast in a show, or published in a magazine, or backed for a venture. I can’t stand reading/hearing us whine about “not having one too” when we [seemingly] have nothing to offer that would make us deserving of having one too.

    For instance, the young woman and the men who have so far been asking for entry to the bachelor/bachelorette series: why? Black people didn’t create this series. Much fewer black people watch them than any other race. And there’s already a very widespread stigma in the black community about how indiscriminate men are with their sexual choices, and how poor choices women make for their sexual partners. How is this series a good fit for the black community, and what reason (besides just being black) do we have for non-black people to want to take notice of us in that way?

    Another instance: the uproar about the HBO show Girls not casting any black friends — why? Social circles tend to be very segregated despite however many people on a progressive website can tout having interracial networks. By and large, even if you work with, go to school with, or go to church with people of other races, very few people regularly invite people of other races home to share dinner with their families because human beings tend to stick with familiarity when they’re not thrust into diversity. Even black television programming skews to a mostly, if not all-, black cast. So why (other than our color) do black people need to be included in someone else’s fictional close-nit world?

    Another instance would be the disappointment shown over the percentage of minorities that walked the runway during Fashion Week: why? Despite the black population being driven by consumerism, how many black curators do you think were present and ready to procure pieces? How many black retailers do you think attended for the purposes of lining their shelves with pieces that inspired them? How many black consumers do you think showed up with genuine intent to purchase unique pieces to be worn at highly visible events where they’d be able to tell people which designer they’re wearing? If black people aren’t making up a formidable portion of the purchasing audience at these events, what reason do any of the designers have (besides knowing that black people exist) to pay homage to black people?

    My last example is of articles I saw a while back about black people being left out of Silicon Valley. The overwhelming majority of the tech companies started by white people began with people convincing someone within their community that what they’ve created has value. Black people seem to make very little effort to convince the black community of the value in their creations and go straight to the white man’s club asking for attention and funding. It’s a lot more difficult to convince a stranger to listen to you than it is to convince a friend, but I rarely hear of a black person getting their limelight by way of community sponsors. I rarely hear of black people banding together to put up the capital for one of our stars to get a business off the ground in exchange for future returns on their investment. By contrast, I’ve heard of black people using white men to be the mouthpiece of their brainchild just so they can get money from white people. We may not have the most disposable money, but last I checked black people don’t have their own foreign currency. So every dollar made by asking a white investor for money could also be made by asking black people for money, and since it would likely take more black investors to add up to what you’d get from white people, that means more black people would be able to share in the appreciation of that investment when it does take off. If we’re not even willing to pander to ourselves and prove our worth on a small-scale, what reason does anyone else have (other than our skin color) for taking us seriously?

    **sorry for the thesis posing as a response**

    It’s time for black people to stop being that annoying kid at the back of the class incessantly calling the teacher’s name with nothing to say. Just because we’re willing to indiscriminately part with our money doesn’t mean there’s a reason to pander to us. Hispanic people have engaged in a decades long campaign to prove to the world just how powerful they are as a group with their votes, how strategic they are with their purchases, and how united they are with their image and causes, and just how much moving the needle in their favor can benefit or hurt someone who needs a population edge. Black people, in contrast, prove time and again how illogically loyal we are with our votes (which means once someone wins it, there’s no reason for anyone else to try and sway it going forward), how little thought we put in our purchases (which means it doesn’t matter what’s in it if they can get us to think Kool-Aid is the blacker drink of choice), how disjointed and uncaring we are about our image and causes (which means it doesn’t take a whole lot of substance to convince us to think one way and attack ourselves instead of hearing out differing opinions to come to a consensus if anyone amongst us disagrees), and how ineffective we are at swaying a larger audience’s opinions and decisions with fact-based, rational, and mutually beneficial dialogue.

    Black people aren’t even convinced of their own power — as evidenced by how little intra-community investment takes place, even at small scales. Years ago when articles came out about how Hispanic people were on pace to outnumber white people by 2030 in the U.S., it was heralded as progress for the Hispanics and a reason for white people to get their game together and start “working with the enemy.” Any news of the black population increasing, and many in the black community will be the first to bash black people’s lack of self-control, horrible decision-making, and overall irresponsibility for having more kids than this country can handle. We’d be hard pressed to read about black leaders meeting with large corporations or political offices to discuss the impact our growing community could have for their bottom line and what it would take to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement between us and them.

    Until WE create value in our community that other communities can’t ignore, we’ll continue to be seen as a community of whiners wanting something for nothing. No one’s going to take a chance on a risk they can’t quantify. That’s why Republicans won’t ever do much to get our votes, and Democrats will always take our votes for granted. That’s why white record labels will appropriate our style, repackage it, and sell right back to us, but rarely ever let us in the boardroom to discuss strategy or profit sharing. That’s why black entertainment will be categorized under the African American non-genre instead of the actual genre of its subject matter. There’s no value in our community, there’s just low-lying fruit that we willingly line everyone else’s pockets with. We’re the cash cows, Hispanics are the rising stars. No one pumps money into cash cows because the milk is abundant. Rising stars are where the money AND value are.

  • ziggy

    Wow….I concur!

  • http://40muse.com 40muse.com

    you are correct: latina was started by ed lewis (and is still run by him), one of the founders of essence.

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