Our favorite It-Girl Marley Dias, the brains behind the #1000BlackGirlBooks Campaign, is back. And this time the 11-year-old is adding Editor-In-Chief to her repertoire.
Dias recently teamed up with up Elle Magazine to launch her own digital publication called Marley Mag. In her first editor’s letter, Dias wrote that her new zine will continue to create spaces for girls of color who are often pushed out of conversations in this country.
“A year ago, I wanted to collect #1000BlackGirlBooks, but I see now that there is so much more to do and so much more to this journey. I want to use what I’ve learned to elevate the voices of all those who have been ignored and left out,” she said.
“This experience at ELLE has given me a preview into my future and shown me what is possible. So even though I am still very nervous, I hope you will enjoy what this amazing team of women and I have put together,” Dias added.
For the first issue, she interviewed Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay in New Orleans.
The two talked about pop culture and racial inclusion, BET noted. When asked about did she see a lot inclusive casts on television growing up, DuVernay says, “No,” perhaps “a handful of things that I recall at the time had inclusive casts.” She remembers The Cosby Show and Miami Vice, but she can’t really name another.
For Dias, Marley Mag is also about who and what inspired her, including ballerina Misty Copeland, who she also had a chance to interview. The two chatted about race, body issues and her love of dance.
“As a young black girl and as a black woman, I know how much focus there is on body issues and, at the same time, I think it’s good that we’ve really started to celebrate black bodies. But a lot of people have taken that [celebration] and turned it into a very overtly sexualized thing. It’s so important to me that I set an example and show people that black women are beautiful and strong. We don’t have to be seen in any one way,” Copeland replied when asked what issue matters to her most right now.
Other articles in the first issue include: A middle school survival guide, why Muslim kids should be represented in books too, an interview with comedian Larry Wilmore and body positive paper dolls.
“This issue is about women and girls who have left their imprint on the world. Some of them have charted new courses. Some have expanded the way we see the world and what we think is possible. And all the women (and man! Hi, Larry Wilmore!) in Marley Mag are people who have inspired me,” the pre-teen also wrote in her editor’s letter.
Dias also stressed that she hopes that those reading―regardless of age―will be empowered by her new project in return.
“My generation feels the pressure to make things better, but we need more spaces to speak our minds and to make a difference. I hope that, no matter how old you are, you enjoy this issue and that it inspires you to think. Most importantly, I hope it inspires you to act. The women and girls in this issue show us how,” she concluded.
What a role model for all of us. Congrats Marley!