New digital magazine in Prince Edward Island aims to change the narrative by highlighting the voices of BIPOC


When Tara Reeves lived in Prince Edward Island over a decade ago, there weren’t many BIPOC people (black, native, colored) visible.

She grew up on all white, including the media, she said.

“At one point, I realized that I couldn’t get what I needed from my surroundings to be fulfilling as a person.

So she left.

Tara Reeves is one of the founders of Black Collective Media, a new organization that tries to give more weight to the voices of BIPOC on the island. – Contributed

In 2019, she reportedly mocked someone who suggested she return to Summerside and start a digital media business.

But that’s what happened.

The Black Collective Media has launched its website and first product, a digital magazine called The Block, on February 1, at the start of Black History Month.

While the coincidence with Black History Month was not part of the original plan, it was as lucky a decision as meeting the other two founders, Bianca Pilar Garcia and Daniel Ohaegbu, Reeves said.

“I feel like it was a bit coincidental because we were talking about January until we realized how much work we had to do before we could actually launch something.”

First edition

Planning began in September, when Pilar Garcia approached Ohaegbu and Reeves.

“Bianca was talking about trying to create this ecosystem to amplify (the voices of BIPOC), so we actually tried different ideas at that point, explored different projects,” Ohaegbu said, might launch first.

Pilar Garcia – who attended a journalism school in the Dominican Republic – organized the interviews and prepared the questions, then each founder conducted and transcribed the interviews for publication.

Bianca Pilar Garcia, pictured, enlisted Tara Reeves and Daniel Ohaegbu to help launch Black Collective Media, which launched its first product, a <a class=digital magazine called The Block, on February 1. – Contribution” src=”https://www.saltwire.com/media/photologue/photos/Screen_Shot_2021-02-17_at_9.17.15_AM.png”/>
Bianca Pilar Garcia, pictured, enlisted Tara Reeves and Daniel Ohaegbu to help launch Black Collective Media, which launched its first product, a digital magazine called The Block, on February 1. – Contribution

The project turned out to be much bigger than expected, Ohaegbu said.

“At first we thought it was going to be 15 pages, then Bianca pulled out the first one and she pulled out about 30 pages and she was like, ‘I haven’t even finished.’

Ultimately, this is a 90 page issue featuring interviews, articles, photographs, videos, poetry and recipes focused on the black culture of Prince Edward Island. .

Goal

The goal of the collective and the magazine is to uplift the community and change the narrative around the people of BIPOC, who are often described as struggling, suffering and dying, Ohaegbu said.

“And that’s the truth. We are. But we also always laugh, we always smile, we always dance. We still do all of these other things.

Daniel Ohaegbu and his company, Overtime Entertainment, helped launch Prince Edward Island's first black magazine, The Block, as part of Black Collective Media.  Ohaegbu is one of the founders of the media company.  - Contributed
Daniel Ohaegbu and his company, Overtime Entertainment, helped launch Prince Edward Island’s first black magazine, The Block, as part of Black Collective Media. Ohaegbu is one of the founders of the media company. – Contributed

While the team doesn’t shy away from talking about challenges like racism, if it’s necessary, that’s not the primary focus, Reeves said.

“I’m really tired of talking about white supremacy. It’s kind of like a constant topic, but let’s talk about black excellence within POC communities. “

There is also the hope of securing a place at the media table that has not been offered to their communities by bridging a gap between them and mainstream media, Reeves said.

“We are here to disrupt, but we are also here to create opportunities for members of our communities who have not made their voices heard in a way that uplifts them. “

The plan

While details are still being worked out, such as the next project, the magazine will run two to four issues per year, while the website will be updated throughout the year.

In the coming weeks, the team will also set up an email for those who wish to submit pieces or ideas.

Meanwhile, Reeves already sees the launch as a personal success.

“In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would be back here, during a global pandemic, nothing less, working with amazing, super smart and motivated people on an exciting project that exists in the world. . “

Michael Robar is the Guardian’s diversity reporter.

Twitter.com/MichaelRobar



Amanda P. Whitten