I never dreamed about becoming a journalist on staff at some big glossy magazine. I always saw myself as a freelance writer (though the word “freelance” was not in my vocabulary as a wee writer) who would happily flit around from novel to magazine to newspaper to sitcom to wherever my pen decided to go.
So, unlike a lot of journalists who have eulogized Vibe magazine, I can’t say that I ever longed to be staff there. A by-line? I would gladly have taken that and if Quincy Jones has his way, maybe the opportunity will present itself in the near future. I have read almost every issue of Vibe. The magazine had ups and downs in its 16-year history, but it has groomed and inspired a whole legion of writers (I count myself among the inspired) and its abrupt departure from news stands will be felt immediately.
Vibe’s contributions to hip hop, pop and r & b culture are priceless. The now iconic cover shots, the revealing exclusives, the usually hilarious “20 Questions” and unique national exposure for young artists who would never make it into other major magazines without a million records sold plus a scandal–these are just a few of the reasons that Vibe will be missed dearly. There had been many times when I read a Vibe article and literally said “Wow.” Those writers showed me that journalism was not just stuffy, perfect King’s English typed neatly onto stark white pages. Their writing was as energetic, entertaining and engaging as the subjects of the articles. Urban (turned international) music journalism needs a place like that to grow and change and progress.
Come back soon, Vibe….even if it’s a new name, new writers and strictly online. We need that place, that breeding ground.