“We’re talking about hair…but we want to push the conversation a little deeper.”
By Jade O.Earle
Illustration by Grace Molteni
Lindsey Day, founder of CRWN Magazine, wants everyday Black women to see themselves. At a time when news can be fake and Black bodies are seen by some as not valuable enough for existing, CRWN allows Black women to not only be seen beautifully and authentically, but also to be seen with their full humanity. Entrepreneurship, health and wellness and lifestyle are only a handful of the diverse topics that Day, creative director Nkrumah Farrar and the rest of the team cover in CRWN, but Lindsey wants the publication to also serve as a platform, which builds a community of creative Black women who strive for physical, mental and financial success.
Lindsey sat down with Jade O. Earle to discuss the legacy she hopes to leave with CRWN, how she hopes it’ll resonate with Black women and the importance of acknowledging the generation that paved the way for all of us.
Jade O. Earle: You mentioned the Brooklyn museum a few minutes ago and I appreciate how you opened up on how emotional it was for you to see CRWN there. The team has been working really hard just to get the magazine running. What do those milestone moments mean for you?
Lindsey Day: We’re really trying to do something different and I think the milestones are really exciting because people are starting to see what we see. Entrepreneurship in general is hard. It’s not an easy road and then, specifically as Black entrepreneurs and then also, specifically serving Black women. A lot of times there’s a lot of doubt about whether it’s the right market to serve or how to serve these women. We know who she is, we study her, we talk to her all day, everyday and it’s our people. It’s our friends. It’s our family. People are seeing CRWN, but they’re seeing Black women in a different light through CRWN.
JE: Speaking of which, I notice normal women on the covers of the magazine who aren’t necessarily famous, but who’re regular women. Was that at all intentional?
LD: I feel like it happened organically because everything started from creating a version of our vision, so to speak. These are the people who work in the community or work in the different corporations and really have a voice. They’re a lot of our friends and we think they deserve just as much shine if not more than a lot of these celebs out here (laughs). It’s not like we’re anti-celebrity, but we organically grew with our woman. Now, it’s about, ‘how can we give her what she doesn’t even know she needs yet?’
I think as a community, Black women are the celebrity. There’s this moment around us. There’s this time where we’re exercising our power and our value and a lot of us are waking up in various ways.
JE: Community seems to be key here, and I know you know that it’s not just about being online. How do you guys want to build the CRWN’s platform, outside of just the magazine?
LD: Nkrumah and I are both digital strategists by trade, which is funny because we’re creating a print product, but we’ve always been in the content world. Him on the creative direction side—visuals and web-based—and me on the content side of things—written content, blogging and social media. Digital is very much incorporated into CRWN as a print product as well, especially how we approach marketing, business and design presentation. Whether it’s the photographer’s handle on a page so you can find them on Instagram or the look of the articles similar to a blog post.
JE: I was just going to mention the look of the publication—it’s pretty clear a lot of resources were used for this.
LD: It was definitely a lot of love and miracles (laughs). The differentiation with CRWN is that you can sit down and savor [the physical publication]. We’ve relied on some of the smartest and most visually creative people we know to get their perspective. We want to be representative of the real people who often don’t get the shot they deserve to shine and show what they can do. It’s a greater mission of really empowering the community.
JE: Do you have any more plans this year or next to reach the community through different mediums?
LD: We’re definitely doing more video content. Video is such an important part of us connecting now and we want to bring forth a premium quality and bring CRWN to life in a way that’s vibrant and diverse and reflective of our perspective.
JE: A lot of publications nowadays reflect on the external beauty that Black women possess, which is beautiful—don’t get me wrong. We know how to work a bomb cover. But, our stories as human beings with needs are not often addressed. We still have to talk about or financial health, our wellness and how to basically stay sane.
LD: Yeah and we’re talking about hair–beautiful styles are on our pages–but we also want to push the conversation a little deeper. The things that may come as a result of the hair journey or part of it. I wish I could’ve seen women who looked like what I thought I’d look like when I got older. All of these different entrepreneurial examples—running businesses or being artists or activists in their community. There were, because I definitely had Jet and Essence [magazines] in the house. But, we’re the new generation and we have to fit new expressions. [The older generation] created this legacy and we have to build on that.
JE: That’s a good point. I think the reputation we have as millennials that we’re not as appreciative for what our foremothers have done.
LD: Our market sometimes casts them aside, unfortunately. I often think about, ‘like, where would I be without my aunties and mother?’ I feel a responsibility to honor them through my work. My family didn’t come from money, so just to see our power and glory. The world needs to see the power of Black women.
JE: What legacy are you trying to leave with the women who’re in your life with this publication?
LD: I just want to see women, girls, and elders flip through the pages and authentically see themselves. When you can see yourself in your sister and vice versa, that can reshape the world. There’s a lot more representation of us on the screen now, but I think there needs to be more. It starts with the pages for us, but I want to see more of our stories. The more of us that are behind the lens and adding our perspective, it’s going to bring the realness. We’re going to keep it real. After I’m long gone, and if someone has a CRWN magazine, I think that’ll be pretty dope.
Jade O. Earle is a freelance writer and editor who is currently working on her first novel. To keep up with Jade and her other projects, you can follow her on Instagram or visit her website at jadeolivia.com.
Grace Molteni is a Midwest born and raised designer, illustrator, and self-proclaimed bibliophile, currently calling Chicago home. She believes strongly in a “beer first, always, and only” rule, and is forever seeking the perfect dumpling. For more musings, work, or just to say hey check her out on Instagram.