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gal-dem, issue 1
The cover of gal-dem first print issuePhotography Dana Washington

gal-dem just launched a print mag and it’s a game changer

After carving out a space for women of colour online, we talk to the team and take a look at an exclusive preview of their hotly anticipated venture into the world of print

A tiresome paradigm exists for (female) journalists of colour whereby you have to be careful your work doesn't become an outlet for constantly airing your race-related gripes. You can often find yourself torn between discussing the neglected issues that affect your daily experiences and being pigeonholed, and writing about other topics for publications whose content and staff do not adequately reflect our diverse society.

For a year, gal-dem has been providing an online space for women of colour to not only discuss the issues they face as a result of their race or cultural differences but the art they create, their political views and showcasing their broad spectrum of talents and interests. Although born out of frustration fuelled by statistics that paint a poor picture of our media (“only six per cent of people working in newspapers, radio and television are ethnic minorities, compared with 14 per cent of the UK population as a whole"), the magazine is refreshing, uplifting, hilarious and knows its audience intimately.

Perhaps this is because unlike many publications, this is run by young women of colour, for readers who are just like them. Each article accurately displays the dynamism of young creatives, giving a leg-up to innovative enterprises and interesting events, while attracting like-minded readers with personal features that resonate with what many have felt for years but have never seen adequately discussed in-depth in column inches of conventional press.

Split into seven sections: sisterhood, the body, sex, age & growth, music, arts & culture and comment, the girls are releasing their much-anticipated covetable print issue around the theme of ‘gal-hood’. “We hope that women of colour will read our gal-hood issue and see themselves, but we also hope that people from other backgrounds will take new understandings away too,” explains Liv Little, the Editor-in-Chief. "This has been such an exciting opportunity to showcase the diverse body of lived experiences housed within the bracket ‘women of colour’. The ability to create a one-off anthology dedicated to us has been an absolute privilege.”  

“I'm hoping this magazine will eventually reach the type of teenager who is fed up with looking at skinny white women and vapid sex columns. I know that I would have benefited from it when I was growing up.” – Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

The articles are a mixture of long-form features, interviews with women of colour the editorial team love and opinion pieces. Dazed contributor and Assistant Editor, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff says the aesthetic of the zine is completed with “beautiful illustrations and amazing pictures from our house illustrators and photographers”. She added: “I'm hoping this magazine will eventually reach the type of teenager who is fed up with looking at skinny white women and vapid sex columns. I know that I would have benefited from it when I was growing up.”

"We've gone from being (slightly) naïve students, or recent grads, to professionals. Varaidzo, our arts and culture editor, has just been published in best-seller The Good Immigrant. Liv has been accepted onto Channel 4's really competitive production scheme. Being respected within our creative fields is so important,” Brinkhurst-Cuff explains. Already, they are beginning to change the face of the media with contributors now working for the BAFTAs, the BBC, TIME Magazine, and more.

The team behind the zine say they have already done what they set out to do. The open celebration of feminism is already turning heads in mainstream media and, hopefully, publications like gal-dem will continue to pave the way and prove that British women of colour need, and have an appetite for, a more intersectional and inclusive media. gal-dem's one year anniversary is coming up on September 23 at Kachette in Shoreditch, where they will also be celebrating the official launch of the print magazine.

Pre-order the print magazine here