black press

   The emergence of the black press in Britain grew out of the demand for a representative voice, a voice that redresses the balance of the discriminatory mainstream media. Many black publications aim to address the social, cultural and political issues pertaining to their communities by supplying an alternative to the often negative stereotypes propagated by some mainstream news organs. The black press also provides employment opportunities for black people in the media professions. By the end of the 1990s there were an estimated four hundred black newspapers and periodicals in Britain. This abundance has developed from the singularity of The Letters of Ignatius Sancho in 1782, published in letter form in periodicals of the day, up through the collective voices of Africans in the diaspora in prewar and mid-war era papers like The Pan African, the African Telegraph and The Black Man. Postwar papers like the Jamaican Gleaner, the Caribbean Times and the West Indian Gazette were unrelenting in their editorial attack on racial injustice. By the mid-1960s, most of these news organs had disappeared.
   The period between 1960 and 1970 was a turning point for black publications, particularly as it saw the emergence of the journal Race Today, whose first editor was Darcus Howe (who actually started his career with a Notting Hill-based paper called Hustler). A number of pamphlets, newsletters, newspapers and journals appeared in the 1950s and 1960s, including Black Voice, Grassroots, Freedom News, Frontline, Black Peoples Freedom Weekly, Black Workers Action Weekly, Black Liberator, Link, Carib, Anglo- Caribbean News, Tropic, Daylight International, West Indies Observer, Afro-Asian-Caribbean News and Magnet. More recently, the political journal West Indian Digest, the Caribbean Times, and The Voice appeared in the early 1980s. Black Briton and Weekly Journal both started publishing in the early 1990s. A wide range of glossy magazines including Root, IConception, Chic, Origin and Black Beat International all became available on the newsstands. Some papers catered mostly for settlers interested in ‘news from back home’. The Voice was the first paper to specifically target young blacks in Britain, which was unusual since most tabloids target social class rather than age. As a popular tabloid, it was expected to appeal to the average ‘Mirror’ reader, and to have a core readership in the 18–39 age group.
   The black glossy magazines have tended to target a broader economic band and age range. The magazines fall into several categories. There are women’s magazines: Pride, Black Beauty and Hair, Candace and Visions In Black. There are special interest magazines, such as the political magazine Race and Class, the multicultural magazine New Impact, the literary journal Wasafiri, and the arts and entertainment magazines Artrage and Flava. There are also several religious magazines, Trends, Muslimwise, The Crescent and Sufi, to name but a few, as well as several sports magazines and a plethora of black music papers and magazines such as Blues & Soul, Black Echoes, True, Hard Edge, Black Jazz and Hype. Some of the latter are inter-racial initiatives.
   See also: black literature press
   Further reading
    Benjamin, I. (1995) The Black Press In Britain, Stokeon-Trent: Trentham Books (interesting in terms of its historical contextualization of black publishing in Britain).
   EUGENE LANGE

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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