Paul and I are often asked why did we start IMARA Woman magazine? What was it that made us believe that a publication designed to empower women of color had a chance of making it in the highly competitive world of print media? Our answer to those questions today is the same as it was 19 years ago when we launched IMARA Woman magazine—our stories need to be told by our people. Sharing the inspiring and empowering stories of South Carolinians is an honor we hold dear at IMARA. But like most black-owned publications we have seen our share of challenges. Still, we continue to strive for excellence knowing that the messages in IMARA Woman magazine, its TV show and its events add value to our community.
In this edition of IMARA Woman, we highlight the historical influence and impact of black-owned media. Black media has always been at the forefront of social change in America, often leading the way chronicling stories of injustice against Black Americans from slavery to police shootings of unarmed black men. It is because of the efforts and sacrifices of early black media visionaries like Ida B. Wells and John H. Johnson that black media became the conscience of America during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement. (page 8)
South Carolina has a rich history of black-owned media. The stories of our state’s legendary media outlets are a testament to the grit and determination of black media owners who continue to seek new ways to inform and empower our people. (page 12) Today’s media outlets are dominated by 24 hour news cycles, social media platforms and internet blogs but the next generation of black media owners is committed to competing and excelling in their ever-changing environment. While their methods may conform to the technologies of today, their messages remain focused on addressing the needs of the black community from education and health care to economic and political advancement. (page 16)
No one tells our story better than we do! Let’s support black-owned media’s ability to share our stories of the past, present and future.