Editor’s Note: The state (and future) of Left Bank Magazine
·3 min read
I’m a black woman who loves the raw edge and visceral, soul-entrapping experience that comes with post-punk and punk music. I’m the first one to join a mosh pit, despite my small frame—and glass of red wine in my hand—and I’m the last one to leave a rock concert. Growing up, my best friend was a musician, my friends were in the school band, all of my boyfriends have been musicians, my first job after graduate school was for Sony Music; music is kind of my thing.
Six years ago, I launched an online magazine to support my love of music, to share the short stories I was writing, and to curate visual art that I had seen on New York City walls. The site was called Left Bank, after the 1920’s Left Bank meeting of minds and talents in Paris. Proudly, Left Bank Magazine withstood the test of time: it went from a small blog featuring art from my Brooklyn friends to a bigger blog with international submissions. In 2016, I printed my first zine and spent all week emailing and calling bookstores around the world to sell our first physical product. In 2018, we put out our second zine—this time a massive collaborative effort—along with a curated cassette mixtape. At the height of Left Bank, I managed a team of 20 people from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Lagos to NYC.
I quit my job and created Left Bank Buzz; a blog for our collegiate artists; a feminist magazine High Street Disco; and, hosted a lot of events. As recent as March, we hosted the absolutely massive virtual festival Left Bank Live, which I still can’t believe was picked up in the Guardian. Until recently, nothing made me more proud or fulfilled than Left Bank—the community that I helped cultivate still amazes and inspires me to this day. Then Covid happened and George Floyd was murdered.
My priorities shifted, and, I launched what is truly one of my favorite projects, Chez Nous Guide—an online directory and founders network for women-,LGBTQIA-, and(or) people of color-owned businesses. It is an intersectional home of content, interviews, resources, business listings, and even a podcast. It’s what, as my friend Emma puts it, “the thing you’ve worked your whole life for.” It has been featured in magazines that I dreamed of being in one day (Fast Company, Refinery29), and as my work aligned with my values—raising awareness of, and supporting, historically-marginalized creators—it made me reflect on Left Bank and it’s future.
Left Bank is like a first love—something that lives deep within your soul. But, I can’t consciously keep sharing the work of predominately white heterosexual males while spending the majority of my day advocating for people of color, women, and queer creators. In order for Left Bank to continue, big changes need to be made.
I will be actively seeking and making space for non-white artists
I will be opening up a film section dedicated to the work made specifically by people of color, LGBTQIA, and women. I believe these creators are telling stories that the world needs to hear and I can only hope to surface these voices
I will be re-opening the literary section to share work primarily from women, LGBTQIA, and people of color for reasons mentioned above.
I will be launching Left Bank Hub, a virtual and IRL network for artists and creatives to collaborate, take courses, and connect with those who are outside of their circle. It’s important to me that we build our community of intelligent, creative, provocative artists and thinkers because we are much stronger together
I will stop operating Left Bank with a one dimensional lens. It doesn’t have to just be music and art; feminism and current events isn’t just important to High Street’s audience. Advocating for justice and equal rights isn’t just important to Chez Nous Guide; I am all of these things and do all of these things and want Left Bank to be an accurate representation of who I am, and my audience—dynamic, well-read, culturally savvy people, who also make amazing art.
In keeping with this promise, I will be opening Submithub back up for submissions and encourage you to send me pitches, artists you love, filmmakers, etc to firstname.lastname@example.org xx