By now, everyone should know who gal-dem are. But if you don’t, keep reading to find out why they have become such an important motor for the advancement of women of colour in journalism.
Founded by Liv Little in 2015, the gal-dem team carved themselves a space online with the aim of reaching out to women and non-binary people of colour. Since then, the platform has shone light on the stories never told; the art created and the political views expressed from those people who have been marginalised from the current journalistic landscape.
“We’re addressing inequality and misrepresentation in the industry through platforming the creative and editorial work of our community across essays, opinion, news, arts, music, politics and lifestyle content”.
Fast forward to 2016, the team have delved into the print world and have only cemented themselves as a game changing print publication; addressing the stories never heard, the arts never seen, and the political views rarely expressed due to fear or lack of inclusion and acceptance from the mainstream media – the magazine is a refreshing, uplifting and will make you laugh owing to knowing their audience intimately.
Now on their 4th Issue, “The Un/Rest issue” explores that time in our lives that tackles the turning points that mimic both the good and bad in those moments of rest and unrest – see what I did there. The stories in this issue resonate deeply with the reader, navigating in the spaces of reflection, personal struggle, political frustrations and balancing modern everyday life. The issue is split into two segments, contrasting sections which navigate the constant battle between the two alternating modems of life “to be, or not to be”.
The latest edition features an array of nuanced conversations with the likes of UK artist Little Simz, US rising star Tierra Whack and Paralympic record-breaker Kadeena Cox. To unpack the themes of UN/REST gal-dem have called on over 40 contributors to make this issue for a ravenous read and a visually stimulating collection of stories.
From ‘Diagnoses, expected’ by Tashmia Owen (a whole life simulation that made me pause), the idea of “black mediocrity” swimming into the exploration of self-worth. The call to finding a happily ever after found it’s voice amongst the six female cover stars: Candice Carty-Williams, Mariam Khan, Naomi Shimada, Yasmin Rahman, Victoria Princewill and Jay Bernard. And the calls of action against injustice illuminated from the women demanding change around the world and more makes this fourth issue a one to pick up and digest in a fever.
The launch itself took place on September 12th at Hoxton Basement in Hackney. Myself and good friend co-founder of online publication Melanated Thoughts, Jamila Ayesha, made our way after a long day of work. As we walked towards the venue we were greeted with a host of people make their way and wishes of enjoyment for the night ahead. Walking down the stairs the music was bumping and as we descended into the room we were met with a thumping bass line and hues hues of red, purple and blue lighting hugging the faces of the sea of black and brown faces. It was like entering hot, steamy wonderland.
My first thought was that this space was for us! A space that managed to assert itself and denied another takeover by those who would gladly gentrify, overtake and consume a culture that far too often is taken for a good time whilst ignoring the cause.
The evening was filled with lit fits, good vibes, laughter, singing and dancing – the dancing! The entertainment for the night provided by the award winning collective Cocoabutter Show saw founder and curator Saddie Sinner facilitate the best sing along I’ve been to in a while. The encore of performers left little to the imagination which had my inner voice scream yaaaaaas, and before I knew it I was using my outside voice screaming werk!!
Gal-dem have carved themselves a space which can’t be taken away. For all the times the voices of women non-binary people of colour have been side-lined, gal-dem are here to counter this. Offering something people didn’t get before is as strong of a need in the market now than ever before.
“This issue is a testament to the constant balancing act of modern life, and an ode to the endless creativity of women and non-binary people of colour who continue to break down the barriers in media with their ideas and creativity”.
By Noura A. Sheikh