Harris Publication’s King Magazine is dead, according to reports, and while they blame the economy, it’s a miracle it survived as long as it did. King was mainly barbershop fare, a magazine full of pictures of cars, stereoes, cognac and women with really, really big butts. People that know me know that these are among my favorite things. Even so, I rarely ever bought the magazine. There seems to be some thought that black men are sexual brutes who like thier content mono-syllabic and half-naked. But we know that isn't true.
The problem is, you can never combine good editorial content with booty. Even when Playboy was doing it well, it was hard. King fancied itself the black Maxim, never realizing that Maxim sucked. The people behind King were pros, so the writing was always good, but you had to push past all the booty cheeks to find it. King was the stroke-book you find hidden in your son’s mattress and not the kind of magazine a grown man could read on the subway or put on the coffee table. I don’t know that it ever aspired to be anything more than that, but King aimed low and still missed. We could blame it on hip-hop culture, like we do with everything else, but it's bigger than that. We simply do not expect black men to need intellectual stimulation.
Black men only had one periodical treat them like adults, and that was CODE Magazine. Sure, there was Savoy and Emerge, but these were race-rags asking questions we all know the answer to. CODE was the closest thing we have seen to a black Esquire, smart and completely readable. It was promising but, like Eugene told me, it was a magazine for men designed by women, and it looked like it. When Lenny Kravitz's nipple ring graced the cover, people began to wonder what exactly was being encoded. It became still another magazine black men didn't want to be seen reading.
It's sad that there is no smart magazine for black men, But if there was, what would it look like?
Single Father, Author, Screenwriter, Award-Winning Journalist, NPR Moderator, Lecturer and College Professor. Habitual Line-Stepper