As a fairly new indie journal whose merit and potential are communicated largely via online posts and the occasional bout of word-of-mouth communication, I believe that TRACK//FOUR can only benefit from acknowledging magazines and booklets of similar status and/or motive. That is why I've compiled a brief list of collected and individual works that I've been reading as of this week that can be slotted into that category. With so much stellar art by and for people of color going unnoticed because of bigoted publishing practices and the general scrutiny that seems to tail marginalized people in every aspect of daily life, there can never be a bad time to acknowledge and uplift our work.
#1: CLAPBACK MAG
Although anyone can submit, Clapback Mag is intentionally designed for African women, and the first issue unabashedly embraces its femininity—not at all shy about wanting to be heard. The zine features voices from all across the diaspora, lacing the shared threads of broad social issues like misogyny in hip-hop culture, cultural assimilation, racial dynamics in Cape Town post-Apartheid, to the more pop-culture-focused interview acting as a hypnotic call to action for electro-soul duo KAMI AWORI. There’s no better time to get into Clapback than while the magazine’s editors (Yaa Kankam-Nantwi, Nyahan Tachie-Menson, and Kanchelli Iman Iddrisu) are hard at work on the publication’s second issue; if it's anything like the first, it’ll be a firestarter for sure. Read it here.
FAVORITE PIECE(S): KAMI AWORI’s six-page interview feature, which is beautifully-formatted and a wonderful look into the world of two brilliant artists. There’s also an editorial about how not to talk about Africa that’s brilliant and caustic and everything you needed to read, like, yesterday.
#2: SOMALI SEMANTICS
The first issue of Somali Semantics was released in 2015, and this labor of love (and no doubt rage at the injustice inherent in living in a settler state) by two Canadian Somali women is as intimate and heartbreaking as it is affirming, speaking frankly about sex and desirability politics, racist standards of beauty and the psychological impact they have on women in the diaspora, and Black identity-making. The second issue--dropped just last month--seems to be more image-heavy than its predecessor, but gives an even closer look at the cultural upbringing of the women who’ve cultivated the project. Read the first issue here, and the second here.
FAVORITE PIECE(S): First issue: Yasmin’s list of jams (that everyone should listen to). Sumaya’s notes from February, March, and April 2015. Second issue: Notes on clutter and “space” in Somali public housing, five prayers, the closing playlist.
#4: WAITING ROOM
#5: LIES, VOLUME II
LIES, a journal of feminist theory and criticism, is the collaborative work of a queer feminist collective; the work within acts as a podium for critique that would otherwise be silenced in the presence of cisgender men, and in doing so recognizes the truth that white supremacy and transphobia are inherently at odds with the principles of feminist thought; the pieces realized in LIES wield righteous indignation as a tool for catharsis and confession in a beautifully brusque fashion. In equal measure prophetic and apocalyptic, LIES (understood at once as a cooperative unit as well as a body of work), is defined by persecutory social structures that birth them and wound them in the same breath. The collective's first two volumes are available to read and download for free here.
FAVORITE PIECE(S): Poems by Feng Chen and Paula Cobo-Guevara, "A Disgrace Reserved for Prostitutes" (Pluma Sumac), "First Women, Then the Nation" (L. Cornum).
#6: Safiya Sinclair's Interview with The Rumpus
I think that every person of color can benefit from reading Sinclair's interview with fellow Bennington College alumna Laura Creste. It provides critical insight into the physical and cultural chorography of Cannibal (her first full-length collection, which won her the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the 2016 Whiting Award). Even more brilliant, however, is the sure-footedness with which Sinclair, in the act of retelling, traverses the terrain of the Othering she experienced at two American universities; Sinclair finds in her identification with the Caliban of Shakespeare's Tempest a means of repurposing the conditions of her own exile. It is these same strains of bigotry that made the act of writing Cannibal—and in doing so, reclaiming a linguistic heritage sullied by colonialism—an undeniable and inescapable inevitability. Read the interview here.
is the blog editor of TRACK//FOUR, and a high school senior who sits at the cultural intersection of African-American and nonbinary gender (ca. 1999). Their work has been featured in/is forthcoming in Blueshift Journal, Liminality Magazine, and Ninth Letter, as well as other places. The nature of their existence is oftentimes disorienting, but you can always find them tweeting at @lyrik_c.