by Atim Annette Oton
My father was a story-teller and my mother a people gatherer. This is my heritage and my calling.
Last month, I decided to re-launch Calabar Magazine, to be released September 2011. It is necessary, again, to be the distinctive black Brooklyn’s voice. Calabar Magazine is a place for story-telling, a vehicle for modern and cosmopolitan Brooklynites, and a place to showcase our diversity.
Publishing is in my DNA, it was my father’s first love and calling, and it is my brother’s too. In the 70′s,my father produced Community News in the town of Calabar where I was born and raised. 30 years later, and in the 2000′s, my brother produced The African. I came to it the back way – running towards the artist in me, I studied architecture and was the editor of my college newsletter, Between Columns.
I returned to it in 1999 when I published Blacklines Magazine. Blacklines’ mission was to produce a magazine to promote the achievements and contributions of black designers. Blacklines is a provocative celebration exploring the realm of black designers in architecture, interior design, construction, development, and the arts from a global african perspective. We folded two years later, but it had invaded my spirit. I am my truth, a writer at heart, a designer and an artist by spirit. Calabar Magazine emerged after Indigo Magazine and Sapphire. They both folded too…but the kept my spirit in the mix.
This re-launch is in part a celebration and a re-emergence. It is in part about my spirit but also in part about the timing of black life in the US today. For Calabar, it is also our Phoenix Rising. Phoenix represents a REBIRTH. And the re-birth of Calabar Magazine is timely.
“A mythical bird that never dies, the Phoenix flies far ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment and the events unfolding within it. The Phoenix, with its great beauty, creates intense excitement and deathless inspiration.” – The Feng Shui Handbook, Feng Shui Master Lam Kam Chuen.
As I change gears to return to the publishing fold, I am reminded of all the challenges and will appreciate the ups and downs of it all. Producing Calabar Magazine is a pleasure, it is a duty and a privilege to put together a team of writers and the creative team that comes together. This time, we will be a smaller size publication,just four times a year. We will speak “Brooklyn”, share the secrets and the truths of the borough, mostly in central Brooklyn. Join us again for the ride. It will be fun and fantastic, as always.