finally bought my copy of pop'africana. for thirteen bucks. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 USD. it is the most i have ever spent on a magazine and i was certainly ready, at that price, to staple it to my back and wear it around town.

i am not a fashionista, so certain things will always lie somewhere beyond my ken. much better now than when i was a youth, and found fashion to be a frivolity unintended for thinking people. (or maybe that was a defense mechanism for a childhood spent shopping at thrift stores as a matter of necessity?) but enough about me.

the pop'africana visuals are amazing; the art direction effortless and extravagant and luxurious. i found (some of) the writing quite good---clear, crisp and edgy. i loved the spread on crown heights, brooklyn (one of the few neighborhoods that i haven't lived in). and absolutely dug baloji (see his independence cha-cha vid below.)

but i was surprised at the magazine's inconsistency.

the pages were reordered before printing, i'm guessing, but the table of contents wasn't reordered accordingly. the copyediting was spotty. and i found the voice of editor oroma elewa a little too omnipresent. her photography and art direction are stunning, but her writing reads more effectively in a blog than a print mag (ie, "i love these miu miu shoes!"). she certainly is an awesome blogger, though.

i was also hoping for more news and politics, similar to another african mag that I worked on (it has fallen on tough economic times in recent years, thank God we were transitioning away from print to online as this happened).

overall: a heroic effort, sexy, great artwork, a solid B+. and it's available in all the cities i would pick if i were an african mag editor (nyc, paris, london, berlin, lagos, cape town...well, actually, i think i would go for jozi instead). i think there is something to be said for black people making art for its own sake. everything doesn't need to have a message all the time. sometimes i just want to look at a picture of a pretty flower (or wax prints superimposed over photos of women in gelees).

as deliciously indulgent as it all is, thrifty folks could save their dollars and read it online until it hits an A or, if you have it, splurge and enjoy.

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