Tuesday, November 01, 2011

JET Magazine: Celebrating 60 Years

Today in African American history, JET magazine launched its first issue featuring the wife of boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson on the cover. JET magazine was founded on Thursday, November 1, 1951, by John H. Johnson of Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois. November 1, 1951, marks a historical day in African American history because a kinship began that would last throughout the 20th century, and it’s doing very well in the 21st century. I cannot think of any other magazine that speaks to the Black experience in America like JET magazine. The magazine’s coverage of the everyday lives and historical events surrounding the lives of African Americans and Africans in the Diaspora continues to be unparalleled.

In fact, besides Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, all of Stevie Wonder’s music, and Ebony magazine (also of Johnson’s Publishing) I equate growing up as an African in America with JET magazine. Furthermore, JET magazine has also helped to shape my perception of black women with the much anticipated “Beauty of the Week.” As the poet, Langston Hughes, described so eloquently in his poem, Harlem Sweeties, the “Beauty of the Week” featured every woman from a “…Brown sugar lassie” to a "Peach-skinned girlie.”

I was always proud when the model was from the Washington, D.C. area. It was great because JET didn’t highlight the “traditional” Western standard of beauty; instead, it featured the “real” beauties or the quintessential "girl next door."

As JET magazine celebrates its 60th year in publishing, I pray for its continued success as an excellent resource about African American life and culture. I also pray that it continues to present news from an African American perspective; it’s more valuable than many of us may realize. Keep on flying JET. God bless. Peace ~

Sources:  jetmag.com, theblackgirlnextdoor.com, blackfacts.org, and Wikipedia
Photo:  Jennifer Baszile, author of The Black Girl Next Door.
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