Students announce the creation of the Black Star Journal
The student writers have created a new publication, The Black Star Journal, to connect black voices in college and create a “more informed community” on campus, the publication announced in a Nov. 10 post on its Instagram account. @theblackstarjournal.
Amiri Nash ’24, the founder of the newspaper, told the Herald that he first came up with the idea of ââlaunching the newspaper after reflecting on how black students on campus are seen and portrayed in the publications of the campus. He added that journalism can be a tool both for informing the world and documenting everyday experiences. âBlack students don’t have the same type of archival history of everyday life on campus,â he said.
He added that the journal would serve as a platform to represent the experiences of black students in all aspects of campus life and society. Nash said that “in a predominantly white space, it’s so important for black students to be able to open (a website or a newspaper) and see that there are so many other students like them.”
Keiley Thompson ’24, co-editor of the newspaper, said she was approached by Nash with the idea and fell in love with it because many stories of black people on campus are shared by word of mouth but not by the print media. âIt is especially important these days that everyone has access to information about their own culture and history,â she said. She hopes the journal will unify and amplify black organizations on campus as well.
Nash and Thomspon both agreed that the newspaper would focus on the achievements and joy of black people rather than focusing exclusively on struggles within the black community. âThere is so much more to the dark and being black in Brown than wrestling, and there is so much joy in being a black student in Brown,â Nash said.
Carson McNamara ’24, a potential writer for the newspaper, said she believed the newspaper would shine a light on current affairs, culture and politics within Brown’s black community.
âI think it’s important for us not only to provide an outlet for black writers and artists, but also to distribute their work throughout the community,â she said.
McNamara added that by applying to colleges, she wanted to major in journalism. At Brown, she couldn’t find a club that matched her job, so she found off-campus writing opportunities instead.
âI’m happy to have something on campus that I can get involved in and really feel like part of the Brown community,â she said.
Nash said the newspaper also aims to centralize black news and community events, as it can be difficult to find this campus information in one source.
âI am very happy to have an outlet for my writing,â McNamara said. She added that other news outlets on campus were not suitable for the job she wanted to do, especially in-depth articles on race issues.
âI didn’t want to be limited or feel limited in my writing by going into predominantly white spaces and having them criticize my work,â she said. McNamara added that the Black Star Journal would allow him to be part of a community that understands the meaning of his work in a way that predominantly white publications do not.
McNamara said she looks forward to writing articles from her perspective as a queer black woman. âIt’s important to bring that intersectional lens when thinking about black issues and race issues in general,â she added.
One play she said she would work on for the newspaper was an analysis of Jasmine Lee-Jones’ play “Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner”, which was performed on campus November 4-14 at the Leeds Theater.
Nash said the name of the newspaper stemmed from the idea that it would serve as a safe space for black students on campus. The word “star” represents the importance of the star symbol within the black community and the pole star. Thompson explained that the North Star represents a path to a brighter future and that the word ânewspaperâ is used to mean that the publication will focus on sharing stories rather than just news.
Thompson told the Herald that the newspaper’s management was still thinking about what the publication might look like in terms of funding, constitution, and the organization’s relationship with former black campus publications such as the African Sun. Nash added that they looked at black newspapers across the country for formatting ideas.
The post hopes to be approved as a University Recognized Club in January and start posting digital stories on its website early next semester. In honor of Black History Month, Nash said the journal plans to publish its first print article next February.
Thompson added that the printed paper will have an organized format, while the website will allow experimentation with artistic mediums such as films and photo series.
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The newspaper is currently looking to recruit members to fill positions as writers, section editors, business leaders, artists and other positions. There will be an interest meeting on November 17th at 7:00 p.m. for potential members.
âWe really want whatever support you have,â Nash said. “We want there to be a place for you in the journal.”
Looking to the future, Thompson said the post hopes to break out of the College Hill bubble. She added that the newspaper can be a resource for teaching black culture to others outside of the black community.
The newspaper “will act as another resource without people having to devote themselves specifically to creating media that explain the dark,” she said.
Nash agreed, adding that engaging the Providence community is one of the journal’s goals. âWe really want to be able to work from a committed perspective to get into the community of Providence and do programs,â Nash explained.
For now, Thompson and Nash are excited about the positive response to the newspaper’s announcement. “I’m glad this was something the community wanted,” said Thompson, adding that the journal’s goal is to recognize the spaces it can fill that other publications aren’t already filling.
Nash said black students are thrilled with the portrayal the newspaper will bring and is excited to see how the newspaper will transform the black experience at Brown.
Building âa community is the goal here, and we’ll keep that in mind as we move forward,â said Thompson.