Tuesday, September 27

Not Vibin' with Vibe

This early 30's woman would like a good "black" music or pop culture magazine to vibe with. Any suggestions?

In keeping with my renewed faith and love for my peoples, I have been making a special effort to patronize these "black" magazines...ie.....Ebony, Essence, Oprah, Vibe, etc. Can't do Ebony unless it has a specific person of interest to me on the cover. Ebony served it's purpose in my life. It was wonderful to have this magazine, featuring people of color, delivered to my Grandma's home in my younger years. I feel the same about "Jet" magazine. I remember grabbing Jet from the mailbox before my Grandma got a hold of it, hoping the Jet magazine's featured photo of the week would be Whitney Houston. Essence magazine I discovered more in my early twenties (my Grandma didn't subscribe) and I now feel the same way I feel about "Ebony" which is...unless there is a specific article someone told me about or someone on the cover of interest to me, then I'm not really in to it. I appreciate their presence in the publishing world but I'm definitely part of the problem, 'cause I'm certainly not part of the solution.

Always buy Oprah. This quality magazine oozes....."I care about my reputation and I care about what goes into this magazine". And I love it. But I'm still a bit young to give over my entire soul to the older distinguished mags and I do love my music .....So I try to "Vibe".

Ohhhh Vibe! This magazine used to be my Shiznit.....Used to be....I am a Taurean and though I constantly crave change I recoil in horror from it as well. I lost my zest for Vibe magazine when they changed the format/size from the cool Rolling Stone Magazine size to that boring 8X11 ish size. BORING!!!!! But I still gave them a chance because it's VIBE. If they changed the size because they were trying to seperate themselves from Rolling Stones I've got news for them. Vibe is a "black" magazine.....All the separation required. So much so that Vibe could call itself Rolling Vibe Magazine, change the size back to its original size and still not worry about being too much like Rolling Stone Magazine...it's nothing like that. But Vibe magazine is necessary for the proper music minority representation so it needs to step it up.

This 8X11 format does not suit Vibe and they don't seem to be recovering from whatever's happening. Maybe it's office politics or maybe they can't afford all they want to do but good Lord....Vibe is filled to the brim with advertising. And not very cool advertising at that. I understand ads are a necessary evil but come on. I appreciate interesting ads. Not just some page filling form of masturbation. (Sorry but I'm steeped in disappointment right now) I mean what kind of magazine is this supposed to be now. Is it still geared towards music lovers or fashion victims or just some uninformed fools who will take anything? What are the demographics? I LOVE music, will accept a bit of the fashion fair but they are doing wayyyyyy too much. Rolling Stones magazine manages to keep its focus on music very nicely(while slipping some fashion in on the dl.) I understand the fashion (clothes) and black folks thing....like peas and carrots I suppose, but in Vibe magazine it would be nice if their need to become a fashion magazine was a bit more subtle or at least provide a fashion layout that's less insulting to sensible readers. You can't just say it and so it is. Make folks want it. Me thinks there are too many chiefs in cushy offices, smoking peace pipes and then promptly causing chaos.

I picked up the magazine for the Luther Vandross tribute.....boring or offensive or something. The "Tribute" if that's what it was supposed to be was not very flattering. I couldn't tell if the writer was trying to lead us to an enlightened respect for Luther or make us suck our teeth at his long speculated sexual preference or to serve us up a hefty helping of his own past issues with interviewing Luther. The "reporting" on the funeral was incredibly dry. How one manages to give a dry replay of a funeral packed with some of the greatest performers of our time ie....Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle and Miss Aretha Franklin, I don't know, but it was managed. Next time they hire someone to write a cover story tribute to a music legend, they should hire a writer who is not conflicted about his like or dislike towards the late entertainer.

The (very few) articles in the October 2005 issue of Vibe lack depth. The format and print aren't aesthetically pleasing from jump but I forced myself to read them anyway. I will force no more. The articles lack passion (or maybe that is intentional.) Especially the Luther Vandross article. Is there a difference between reporting or journalism? I looked up both words. They are defined in very similar terms but if I had to give my personal definition I would give journalism the grit, the meat, the passion, the edge and I would call reporting as it is "reporting", just laying out some information in a very blah way. Reporting is the feeling I got from the recent Vibe articles. Journalism is what it used to feel like when I read an article in Vibe. Journalism requires talent. Reporting does not.

It's like everyone at Vibe is really comfortable and sitting around rubbing his or her fat belly as they half-heartedly write, edit, layout or print. I checked the contributors page and the staff page, It seems to take a billion people to put together a magazine. Am I the only person that notices the shoddy quality of this (used to be) great magazine. It's corny now. And it's sad. Being out here in Los Angeles, removed from my NYC grit...I needed a dose of "Vibe" but now I need a dose of Ginger Ale to ease the nausea of disappointment. Maybe I'll go pick up a copy of" The Source" magazine..see how that's going. The Source was always a newsstand read to me because it focused mainly on hip-hop. Nice but I need a mix. The Source always seemed like a boy magazine to me..not man, but boy...a hip-hop obsessed one at that. Vibe's not all bad to me.....They have a section titled "start" at the end of each page theirs a section called "running numbers" it gives stats on a bunch of stuff...for example (and this is not the only reason I dig the running numbers feature) 9: the number of No.1 singles Whitney Houston had before she married BB. 2: Number of No. 1 singles Whitney Houston has had since the marriage. Another example - 3: number of NBA teams that Master P has tried out for. Cute and not so cute facts. Good idea.

My newfound optimism says "Vibe is salvageable" (I hope) they just need a hungry idea man or woman and maybe a good house cleaning to stir things up and make people dig into their reservoirs to create some works of interest because I need this magazine. Yes,..NEED and I need it to be quality. And so do you. And I will try again next month.