Let's be clear, literature, for me, has been more and more about the work. But, that's what we all keep saying--"the work." What is this "work," exactly? For me, the work is providing literary spaces for marginalized voices. It is tearing down white patriarchal systems; in which literature and literary spaces; one, suffers heavily; two, only benefits white writers; and three, creates a world where people of color feel they cannot thrive, both successfully and effectively. Again, let's be real, a lot of journals and magazines aren't doing this work. To be honest, most don't even care at all.
Okay, I've spent a lot of time explaining the work and I haven't, once, talked about the reason behind this piece. For the past two years, my blog, Shade, has been dedicated to giving space and exposure to queer writers of color. I created Shade because, as a queer man of color, I felt tossed aside in the literary community. Growing up, we didn't study writers who looked like me. Or shared my experiences. And for the skim few we did study, their queerness wasn't a topic of discussion. It literally wasn't touched. It was like we were a disease.
As I began studying poetry more seriously, I started reading works by QPOC. It was writers like Saeed Jones, Phillip B. Williams, Franny Choi, Danez Smith, Rickey Laurentiis, Natalie Diaz, and many others that taught me how to successfully write my body in a poetic nature. It was then that I realized the serious lack of queerness, in conversation with being a person of color, across my college classrooms. I had to do something. I mean, what use is it to know queer communities and not spread the love? Or to know writers who are literally slaying the game, if I'm not going to share their work with everyone around me? People, and more importantly, queer writers of color, needed to see and read the works of QPOC. Y'all, representation matters!
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of magazines and journals that are committed to this work--The Offing, Vinyl, Muzzle Magazine, Winter Tangerine, Nepantla, and a few others. But this isn't enough. We can't be satisfied with a mere handful.
All this to to say, I am more than pleased to announce that the blog, Shade, will be transitioning into a journal--the Shade Journal. the Shade Journal will be launching this September online. Peep the mission:
the Shade Journal is an online literary journal focused on the empowerment of queer people of color (QPOC); publishing poems that inspires, devastates, and howls--work that challenges form and upsets the cannon, but understands its rigorous and traditional roots.
the Shade Journal believes there is something divine about being a queer person of color in a world designed to destroy these bodies.
Here, the term, "shade," is defined as a space for QPOC to call home while fostering a community for themselves and other QPOC.
Remember--you are beautiful. You are beautiful. You are beautiful.
Submissions for the Shade Journal are now open!
*If you are interested in getting involved in the Shade Journal, please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With peace, Luther Hughes, Editor-In-Chief