Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Making of a Dream Team: HONEY Magazine

An assignment at work this week led me to do some research on the Olympics. Now I’m not really into sports but I was surprisingly happy to learn such cool info about the Games. How gangsta were track and field stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos (above)? And Jesse Owens showing Hitler what was really good - crazy, right? Then the Dream Team creating the blueprint of a perfect basketball team because they realized that each of them were all-stars. There are so many important parallels between succeeding in sports and in life: teamwork, tenacity and God-given talent. (I believe the Creator gives each of us a gift.) All of these athletes faced tremendous adversity in their careers. But they persevered. I am convinced that this is how champions are built.

Well, I have my own dream team when it comes to magazines. Kierna Mayo and Joicelyn Dingle created what for me was the perfect publication: Honey. It had a lot to do with timing I guess. When the mag launched, I was in my early 20s; really just starting to find myself as a woman. I did have YSB (we desperately need a version of this for teens today), Seventeen (I rarely saw girls that looked like me in it though) and even 3-2-1 Contact (my dad was a science buff) but none of them touched Honey. And I don’t think I was mature enough to appreciate Essence yet. But Honey, it gave me and my girls a voice. And it spoke loud and clear with perfect diction. It told the world what we didn’t have a platform to: that we enjoyed going to art museums and hip-hop concerts, we were interested in traveling to Barcelona and Howard’s Homecoming (the boys!), we found it necessary to keep our hair tight and gear fly but still made time for church. Basically we had layers. Honey got that.

R.I.P: Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez graced the cover of Honey's official debut issue

Well, the "perfect" moment in time was swept away by greed, legal ish and a bunch of other stuff I don’t know enough about to comment on. Others attempted to keep it up but it wasn’t the same (no disrespect). What was once thick, sticky and sweet felt watered down, bland and just eh. No matter how hard ya try, some things just can’t be duplicated.

Every now and again I pull out my very first issue and smile. (Actually, Lauryn was on the cover of the prototype issue but I never got that one…) What a dream team it was! While Kierna and Joicelyn oversaw all the editorial content of the mag, Sonya Magett and Julia Chance held down the fashion and beauty pages. (Sonya tolerated my stalking - I was trying so hard to be her assistant.)

Just take a look at some of the other talented folks who contributed to this first issue:

Aliya S. King - recently penned what is sure to be a bestseller: Faith Evans tell-all biography

Bonsu Thompson - EIC of XXL Presents Hip Hop Soul

Datwon Thomas - EIC of XXL and Editorial Director of King

dream hampton - all around dope writer, ‘nuff said

asha bandele - author of The Prisoner’s Wife, poet and teacher (I worked with asha briefly so I can personally vouch for her being a natural teacher.)

Ayana Byrd - Articles Editor at Glamour and co-editor of Naked

Margeaux Watson - writer for Entertainment Weekly and amazing scribe (Did you read her Usher cover story?)

Miles Marshall Lewis - writer, author, blogger

Elon D. Johnson - magazine, television and book writer (She contributed to Ayana’s Naked.)

Raquel Cepeda - writer turned filmmaker - Bling: A Planet Rock is a dope piece of work

To this day, whenever I see Kierna and Joicelyn, they inspire me. These two young women made history and opened doors I didn’t even realize were closed. And I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I don’t have a gold medal to give them, but they will always be a dream team to me.


Regina is... said...

I still refer to my stack of original Honey mags when I need some inspiration. That was, indeed, a beautiful moment in time. Hear, hear!

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Food Lover said...

Yep, I admired the original Honey queens and their brainchild. They've moved on but their visionary magazine will live on forever.

BigCNYC said...

My copies of the first four issues AND the prototype (which I stalked their public relations rep for) are sitting pretty in my house and will never be thrown away. that was such a magical moment in time. but i'm glad the founders and their contributers are still making magic in the journalistic universe.

Gangstarr Girl said...

Honey mag was that shit! I was in college when it first dropped and it had a lot to do with shaping my decision to pursue print journalism when I graduated (I was initially all about TV production). I hope, when they finally relaunch the website, that it will continue to be as dope.

P.S. I will forever love Honey Mag for putting me on to one of the illest emcees alive (though slept on)--Jean Grae.

asha bandele said...

Tears....and love.

Dingle said...

Yes Asha. Pretty sure I cried when I read this the first time. And I wanted Bridgette to be my next photo editor cause she kilt it with this shot.

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