Heart & Soul Magazine Skips a Beat

Journal-isms: With drama over unpaid writers and no April issue, what's going on with the magazine?

George Curry Group
George Curry Group

No April Issue Amid Drama Over Unpaid Writers

Heart & Soul, a health-and-wellness magazine targeting women of color, has had a rough go since it was acquired in January by a group that includes veteran journalist George E. Curry.

One of its longtime writers says the staff has gone on strike to protest lack of payment. Clarence I. Brown, president and CEO of the acquiring group, acknowledged Wednesday that an issue was skipped but says that is partly because the magazine, still in transition, is making adjustments in its publication schedule. 

Larry Goldbetter, president of the National Writers Union, told Journal-isms that his group was “trying to work with the company” to get the writers paid.

One writer, Sheree Crute, whose field is health and science, said, “There are people who are individually owed five figures. This is a group of African Americans, primarily female. If a white publisher or owner did this, there would be outrage. This has been going on for months and months and months.”

Brown told Journal-isms that Heart & Soul owed many of the writers — and some vendors — when his group purchased it in January from Edwin V. Avent. “We anticipated a certain amount of debt, and we started to see more stuff,” Brown said. “A few little bills will throw any [plans] out of whack.”

The company has paid some writers and arranged payment plans with others, he said.

Avent told Journal-isms in December, “. . . every writer, editor, designer and freelancer will be fully compensated when the deal is consummated.”

Brown said then, “. . . we value the important work done previously for the magazine and we are committed to making full restitution to all contributors who have not been paid in 2011. However, we are unable to take any actions until we officially assume ownership.”