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On Magazines, Diversity, And Inclusion: Andréa Butler, Editor In Chief & Founder, Sesi Magazine To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: “I Don’t Think It’s A True Shift. It’s Just Performative…”

November 17, 2020

“…So the fact that there are more Black people on the covers of magazines since June, instead of since the dawn of time just shows that a lot of these magazines are jumping on a trend because they want to sell copies.” Andréa Butler

Andréa Butler’s Sesi magazine for black teens…

As mainstream magazines celebrate Blackness from the front covers to the content on the inside, founder and editor in chief of Sesi Magazine (a quarterly, print magazine for Black teen girls), Andréa Butler, gives her response to the sudden explosion of people of color, especially African Americans, who have now become the center of the universe for many of these publications. Is it a genuine shift or change in diversity or a trend that seems to be taking over the industry at the moment? Andréa talks about it and about why she started her own magazine a few years ago. 

Enthralled with magazines since she was a teenager, but frustrated by the lack of diversity when it came to the mainstream magazines she saw on newsstands as a girl, Andréa vowed one day to start her own title for young black girls. Girls who really couldn’t relate to the pages of Seventeen and Teen People that they were forced to read by default in those days. So, when she went to grad school for magazine journalism, her seriousness and long-time vow became more of a reality. 

And now the Mr. Magazine™  first video cast with Andréa Butler, editor in chief & founder, Sesi Magazine.

But first here are a few sound-bites: 

On why she thinks mainstream magazines are suddenly shifting or changing to celebrate Blackness:

Andréa Butler: I don’t think it’s a true shift. I feel as though it’s performative and it seemed to show up a lot during the election. It’s really close because people are super racist and their true colors are coming out. They love hate so much that they are voting for this man, so the fact that there are more Black people on the covers of magazines since June, instead of since the dawn of time just shows that a lot of these magazines are jumping on a trend because they want to sell copies.

On the reasons she started Sesi: 

Andréa Butler: I started the magazine because when I was a teenager and reading Seventeen and YM and Teen People, I realized that no one who looked like me was ever really on the cover except maybe once a year if you were lucky. 

On why she thinks authentic, ethnic magazines such as Sesi are sometimes struggling financially, but the mainstream magazines just discovering Blacks are making money or status quo:

Andréa Butler: It may be the same reason behind a lot of other issues. I think people don’t truly value Black audiences like they say they do, because Black audiences spend the most money. I’m sure a magazine such as Essence has more opportunity than we do because they’re larger and have been around longer, be even they are struggling. I feel like in some way racism in some form plays a part. 

And now for the first Mr. Magazine™ video blog with Andréa Butler, editor in chief of Sesi magazine:

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Andréa Butler, founder and editor in chief of Sesi magazine

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