EditorAlan Bell
Circulation37,000 per month
PublisherAlan Bell
First issueDecember 1988
CompanyBLK Publishing Company, Inc.

BLK was an monthly American newsmagazine, similar in format to Time (magazine) and The Advocate, which targeted its coverage of people, events, and issues to African American LGBT readers.

Published in Los Angeles, the magazine was initially distributed free to local Black establishments frequented by gays and lesbians, but distribution rapidly expanded to nearly all GLBT venues in Greater Los Angeles.

Its early coverage of the local black LGBT scene soon enlarged to a nationwide and international focus, and eventually to national and Canadian distribution.[1]

Sub-titled "The National Black Lesbian and Gay Newsmagazine", with the motto "where the news is colored on purpose", BLK (always capitalized) took its name from the standard abbreviation used in U.S. personal ads for "black", i.e. a person of sub-Saharan racial descent.[2]

History Edit

Alan Bell, an African American graphic designer who had published Gaysweek for three years in New York City during the late 1970s, was urged to start a news periodical for black lesbians and gays by black GLBT AIDS activists such as Phill Wilson. But at first he resisted renewing a commitment to professional publishing.[3] Bell had, however, founded Black Jack, a black gay men's safe sex - sex club,[4] in Los Angeles. It was not long before the dearth of reliable information in print about African American GLBTs and about the HIV crisis among them evoked his efforts to fill an unmet need. Eventually he concluded that the natural next step from the eight-page newsletter he found himself producing monthly for members of Black Jack was expansion, and BLK was born.[5] Bell set out to establish BLK as a regular, predominantly hard news alternative to the infotainment-oriented publications that intermittently appeared in America's black gay communities.[6]

Bell chose the magazine's name to adhere to a tradition among national African American publications of employing racially indicative titles (e.g., Ebony, Jet, Onyx (comics)|, Sepia). Initially pronounced as is the word "black", use of the initials in spoken English gradually became customary.

Beginning as a 16-page black-and-white newsprint throwaway in 1988, it had grown to 40 pages with glossy color covers, paid circulation, and national product advertising by the time it ceased publication in mid-1994.[7]

Content and coverage Edit

Although the first issue had a beefcake cover (a muscular black man clad only in the traditional Santa's hat and whiskers, shown with the magazine's coyly-placed logo), subsequent covers usually pictured a prominent African American GLBT featured in the "BLK Interview" or photographically illustrated a theme of the month.

Among those interviewed were singer Patti LaBelle (August 1990)[8]; porn star Randy Cochran (March 1989)[9]; poet Audre Lorde ((April 1989)[10]; Carl Bean, founder of the Minority AIDS Project and of the Unity Fellowship Church (July 1989)[11], Black AIDS Institute founder Phill Wilson (October 1990)[12]; Amassi and BMX founder Cleo Manago (March 1990)[13]; documentary-maker Marlon Riggs (April 1990)[14]; and Marjorie Hill, CEO of Gay Men's Health Crisis (August 1990)[15].

References Edit

  1. Ward, Eric K. (February 1993), “BLK Creates Cartoons With Attitude”, The Lavender Network (Eugene, OR) 
  2. Template:Cite press release
  3. Cathy, Seabaugh (February 1994), “BLK: Focused Coverage for African-American Gays & Lesbians”, Outlines (Chicago) 7 (No. 8) 
  4. Jim Merrett (1992-04-15). "A Safe Place for Pud Pounding". The Advocate. Retrieved on 2008-02-10.
  5. BLK”, Black Jack Newsletter (Los Angeles: Alan Bell): page 3, January 1, 1989 
  6. “Alan Bell: BLK”, Victory! (Sacramento) 1 (No. 5), April 1994 
  7. “Alan Bell: BLK”, Victory! (Sacramento) 1 (No. 5), April 1994 
  8. Bell, Alan (1992), “La Belle Epoque”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 34): pages 10-17, ISSN 1043-0075 
  9. Banneker, Revon Kyle (July 1989), “Randy Cochran”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 4): pages 8-10, ISSN 1043-0075 
  10. Hughes, Chi (April 1989), “Oh, Lorde!”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 5): pages 6-7, ISSN 1043-0075 
  11. Banneker, Revon Kyle (July 1989), “Rev. Carl Bean”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 8): pages 8-10, ISSN 1043-0075 
  12. Ocamb, Karen (October 1990), “Phill Wilson”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 23): pages 7-17, ISSN 1043-0075 
  13. Bell, Alan (March 1990), “Cleo Manago”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 16): pages 7-18, ISSN 1043-0075 
  14. Banneker, Revon Kyle (April 1990), “Marlon Riggs Untied”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 17): pages 10-19, ISSN 1043-0075 
  15. Bell, Alan (August 1990), “Climbing the Hill”, BLK (Los Angeles: BLK Publishing Company) (no. 23): pages 9-15, ISSN 1043-0075 
Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at BLK (magazine). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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