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So, I wonder

It’s not every day you come across a publication like gal-dem. Founded by Liv Little in 2015, the independent London-based platform championed people of colour from marginalised genders and paid close attention to underrepresented community stories. But, at its heart, gal-dem was much more than an insightful resource; it was a thriving network of writers that banded together to carve out space for themselves in a largely white male-dominated industry.

So, when gal-dem announced its closure last week, writers across the industry felt the gaping hole that would be left behind. In a goodbye statement published on their site, the gal-dem team noted the difficulties of keeping an “independent media company that is reliant on partnerships afloat over the last three years”. As layoffs have rippled through the industry, the pressures of a global pandemic, budget reductions and an economic downturn proved too much for a small publication to fight against.

Small magazine fails is not exactly a new headline in the media biz. However, why did this one fail?

When I was starting out as a newbie journalist, gal-dem’s then music editor, Tara Joshi, gave me my first bylines, helping me find faith and belonging in my writing, whether it was about my love for Paramore as a South Asian listener or weighing in on the debated issue of queering white artists in the music industry.

Is this one of those things we might describe as a clue?

13 thoughts on “So, I wonder”

  1. the independent London-based platform championed people of colour from marginalised genders and paid close attention to underrepresented community stories


  2. Is our obsession with queering the likes of Harry Styles costing LGBTQI+ artists of colour?

    Where does the framing of artists like Taylor Swift as queer icons leave queer POC in music?

    How will we survive without such journalism?

  3. Don’t know quite what the “issue of queering white artists in the music industry” is but I can imagine there’s some white artists in the music industry would give you a face full of heavy-metal skull & crossbones rings for trying it.

  4. What gaping hole? If there was one to be created by gal-dem’s collapse, then it would have been generating enough revenue to survive.

  5. “Don’t know quite what the “issue of queering white artists in the music industry” is”

    I’m guessing (and its a pure guess) this means artists playing to the alphabet crowd by pretending to be ‘queer’ and thus gaining lots of social brownie points (and extra sales), while actually being as white bread as the nearest normie. Ie Harry Styles dressing all trans, while squiring a stream of attractive women, that sort of thing.

    I can see how the real weirdos can get a bit hacked off that people are muscling in to their little scam, but hey, if you’re a hustler, prepare to be hustled!

  6. Thinking further about this I believe Liv Little (surely it should have been Little Liv) has misunderstood her targeted market.

    Black and brown people are quite simply less receptive to LGB types than whites. Gender-bending as we used to say individuals are overwhelmingly white, a limp-wristed hip hop artist would not do well as the lyrics of his contemporaries and by extension their audiences make no bones about their prejudices. Away from hip hop can anyone imagine a black artist dressing and cavorting around like the portly Sam Smith? High profile gay or lesbian blacks, Jussie Smollett being the obvious example, gain what little respect they have from fellow blacks on account of their colour, not their sexuality. As far as black transgenders are concerned Ru Paul is not a counter to this argument, he is an exaggerated mainstream clown and knows it (rather like that arch piss-taker Dylan Mulvaney who probably can’t believe how far he has been able to push his shtick).

    Publishing a minority/alternative lifestyle magazine to an ethnic audience which is fundamentally opposed to what you’re selling was never going to work once the overwhelmingly white clientele moved on the the next current thing leaving only the guardianistas to mourn its passing.

  7. @JuliaM
    It is…?

    According to 2011 figures: 3% black; Indian + Pakistani 4.2%; Mixed 2%; Other 3.7%. The percentage white I think has dropped to 82% according to the 2021 census but it still a very significant majority (TV & advertising notwithstanding).

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    It sounds more like a multi author blog with pretensions, probably because they believed that London is representative of the rest of the country when it comes to ethnic and sexual orientation breakdown.

  9. @John – “a limp-wristed hip hop artist would not do well”

    You must not have heard of Lil Nas X, then. He’s known for his connection to country and hip hop – both of which have traditionally had a lot of homophobia. Society is changing. And remember that the Beatles were rejected by one record company (“Guitar groups are on the way out”), so it can be hard to see the change before it happens.

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