One of the reasons why it took almost 6 months to bring out this second volume, besides the trials and tribulations of doing anything at all during a global pandemic, was that I wanted to take a step back and make sure that whatever we did going forward would be done right and, as much as possible, nothing was done just for the sake of it.
So back in November of last year, my newly formed team and I spent a series of hours-long Sunday morning meetings pouring over what it is exactly we were trying to accomplish with this magazine. One of the many revelations was that we wanted to perpetuate this image of the ‘Hero Black Explorer’. We wanted our covers to turn heads, stop people in their tracks and get anyone that came across our magazine to feel drawn to it. We wanted to promote and normalise an image of Black people as heroic adventurers, explorers, seemingly fearless but no less human or flawed. This led to the story behind our cover hero for this very contemplative, personal and intimate issue.
Like all of us this past year, our hero has had to adapt to things she never imagined she would have to adapt to. An explorer at heart, she’s found herself confined to the shores of her hometown, unable to head out on the adventures and live the experiences that have become such an integral part of her life for so long.
She’s been forced to turn inward and face truths, demons, discoveries that have left her reassessing her life choices, making her rethink how to continue moving forward in the world once it opens up again. She’s dealt with hurt, loss, she’s cried, she’s laughed, she’s gone through the same motions so many times they have become second nature.
Despite it all, she’s managed to find comfort in the familiar shores of her hometown, holding onto the hope of when things will be better again. Her daily walks along the beach have become a meditation, an anchor for every day the world around her seems to make less and less sense. She is grateful for all that she has managed to hold onto in these trying times and looks toward the future with hope and careful excitement.
Because at the end of the day, she knows that as long as she has air flowing through her lungs and a heart beating in her chest, she gets to be the hero of her own story no matter what life throws at her.
So here’s to our hero, here’s to you, our beloved reader and here’s to better times ahead.
This cover was shot in Aneho, a small coastal town in Togo, West-Africa, where I was born but hadn’t returned to in over 25 years. My decision to uproot my life and move back here after so long was purely emotional, but I’m glad I ended up here again, if only for all the things that aligned so that we could share this amazing cover with you.