Signed, sealed, delivered: Why you’ll find the best Black writers via email newsletters
Read these three brilliant mail drops, from beauty and poetry to electrifying cultural discussions straight to your inbox.
If signing up to emails to find new, exciting writers sounds like a crazy throwback to the advent of the blog, don’t worry. There’s a new generation of email newsletter writers who are more entrepreneurial and sophisticated than the early internet trendsetters, with some paid-for subscriptions delivering the most engaging, personal and informative content out there.
As the media landscape grows ever smaller with less space for journalists, many are turning to platforms like Substack and TinyLetter to offer their penmanship to readers directly - and the result is a flood of writers to discover, including brilliant Black women. Here are some of our favourites…
This is the beauty bulletin you’ve always dreamt of - a focused mail drop on beauty and Black women. Not limited to the next lipstick release, the newsletter dives into the impact of beauty on race, communities and culture. Founder Darian Symone Harvin says: “There are socioeconomic motivations for why it’s important to understand Black livelihood through beauty — and for all beauty editors to have a deep understanding of Black women through the lens of beauty.” Her slick writing has earned her a fellowship from publishing platform Substack - so there’s going to be plenty more from Darian in future. She goes on to say: “Even examining the vulnerable space of a hair salons as a place where only gossip took place is a grave injustice deserving of counter narratives. They were places to organize, discuss politics, exchange vital information, and advice. I talk about this in ‘black women, their beauty shops and civil rights.’ Beauty has made Black entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs, and it continues today.”
For those looking for super sharp commentary on life and in particular on Black culture and politics, then you’ll want to hit subscribe asap on Bim Adewunmi’s excellent TinyLetter. It’s not regular but when it lands it hits a mighty punch. If you’ve followed Bim’s work in the past, from The Guardian to Slate, you’ll know she’s always been a brilliant observer on the issues that matter. Her latest newsletter is no different. Titled ‘There are Black People in the Future’, it talks through her thoughts and feelings in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Her writing is stunning and she weaves in beautiful snippets of poetry which have been a balm to her during these turbulent months.
New to the newsletter scene but already gaining incredible attention thanks to winning a huge $100,000 grant for her writing, Kaitlyn Greenidge is a Brooklyn-based journalist and author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman, which was one of the New York Times Critics Top 10 Books of 2016. Her newsletter is all about cultural criticism. She says it’s “entirely unchained from the demands of the timely/the zeitgeist. Deep dives on forgotten cultural phenomena; interviews with writers who wrote forgotten works, critiques and discussions groups around cult classics and art from the recent past.” If that doesn’t get you signing up, we don’t know what will…
Feature image by @thestevexchange