Think about all of those magazines you have stashed under your bed, piled up on your bookshelf, or hiding in your locker. They may be recent, or issues from way back in the day. Personally, I have magazines dating all the way back to 1996, so I feel you. I’ve always had somewhat of an obsession with magazines. As a teenager, I legit couldn’t leave a store without buying at least one — every time. Still, I felt something was missing. Rarely did I see a Black girl gracing the covers of the magazines I so unfailingly devoured.
One day, while I was still in high school, I was lying on my bedroom floor flipping through some of the teen magazines in my collection, and a full-sentence thought popped in my head that said if nothing’s changed by the time I’m done with school, I’ll start my own magazine, just for Black teen girls like me.
Sesi is that magazine.
But what does “Sesi” mean?
“Sesi” means “sister” in Sotho, a Bantu language mainly spoken in Southern Africa. We rep Black teen girls to the fullest — filling that void in mainstream media, in which Black girls and their voices are virtually invisible. My friend Shannon and I initially launched the mag in 2009, publishing three issues, which we now refer to as “test issues.” After taking a two-year break to relaunch things the way we really wanted, Sesi came back on the scene in December 2012. We’ve been publishing ever since.
How often do you publish?
Sesi is a quarterly magazine, so our readers can expect to receive a new issue every spring, summer, fall, and winter. Some people have asked if we’ll ever increase to putting out an issue every month, but as you can imagine, putting together a magazine is A LOT of work — from coordinating photo shoots and interviews to researching, writing, and editing articles to laying out every page of every issue. So for now, we’ll stick to publishing quarterly. (Overall, mainstream magazines tend to have much larger staffs and much more funding than indie, Black-owned teen magazines like ours, so they have a bit more bandwidth.) Our team is super small — me, about seven to eight freelance writers, and three freelance layout designers — but hella mighty, so don’t sleep on our fire.
Is Sesi a print or digital magazine?
My favorite quote from Dr. Samir Husni (AKA “Mr. Magazine“) says, “If it’s not ink on paper, it’s not a magazine.” And at our core, Sesi is print. Over the years, our readers have told us that’s exactly how they like it — 98.7% of them are all the way here for print magazines and the much-needed break they give from staring at screens all day.
That being said, we also offer a digital subscription option.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick intro to the only teen magazine for Black girls on the newsstands! You can learn more about me here, and of course, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Covering the Black girl’s mainstream