Issue 18: The Representation Issue

Issue 18: The Representation Issue

“You can’t be, what you can’t see” is as popularly quoted right now as the current buzzword of our time: representation. Race is in the air and we do not plan on halting this need to expand the single story.

Representation by faces and races, representation in sizes, representation in unity, representation of Muslims, representation of disabled bodies with abled minds, representation of the nuances in minorities and as we saw from the support in recent elections from the new right, even representation in majorities.

We are so tired of seeing only one side of the coin that we want to push the needle, so subconsciously when you are scrolling and you see five different photographs of black men taking centre stage in advertising campaigns, you are not instinctively classing it as a “black campaign” where the brand is being “cool” but the models are deemed as the norm. We want to expand your minds so when you see XXY Magazine continue to do as it begun by publishing voices which are not just misrepresented but demonised by the wider press at times, you know that this is the platform where we will continue to represent even when it stops being on trend.

Recently, a large media conglomerate copied verbatim an event, an entire issue and even a hashtag previously published by XXY Magazine – before being of colour was back in fashion and taboo subjects were still being ignored. Yet they only began discussing these “trending topics” because they have seen how successful (and well-intentioned) publications such as  TeenVogue in the United States have been; especially with the millennial consumer. This large corporation is funded through millions of pounds and frankly, pays people to produce original ideas yet just like many other large businesses, felt this right to steal work and ideas from a business smaller than them with a more modest following. However, regardless of the difference in numbers, there is a current attitude where influential media organisations feel this need to be “hip” but only momentarily. I am still waiting for multiple voices to be the backbone of their businesses not just when they feel like it or need to tick a box to show the world that they are “inclusive”.

We are not interested in being “in the know” because we just are. XXY Magazine is made up of the time, efforts and true love of labour by black, brown, white and every-shade-in-between minds and hands because we were formed out of misrepresentation. Formed from this lack of effort by platforms in 2012 to produce work that was stimulating both textually and visually, without this need to cater to one thing. We know we are in abundance where it concerns contradictions but then again, we also know how to represent and document the myriad experiences of feeling a certain way. And we will keep on representing, way past the point of being financially motivated, way past the timeline when you are “done” discussing subjects because it makes you “uncomfortable” and beyond a time where people of colour are used for stylistics but not the narrative. Simply because we do not know how not to. We are in 2017 and lack of representation for the sake of preservation is dead.


Written by Tahmina Begum,

CEO and Editor-in-Chief

Visuals not owned by XXY Magazine