Former VIBE editor Danyel Smith and husband Elliott Wilson, founder of Rap Radar, set to launch one of the most anticipated media ventures of the year
By Emiley Mallory
Danyel Smith and Elliott Wilson raised $67,230 for their cutting edge media venture, HRDCVR, a cultural magazine for diverse communities.
Hip Hop’s elite power couple surpassed their original fundraising goal by $30,000, raised entirely through a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter, they said.
thank you to everybody. such a mission we’ve been on. and now it really begins. #HRDCVR: the design n build. looking forward.
— Danyel Smith (@danamo) June 27, 2014
So what exactly is HRDCVR? It’s a magazine that will have the look and feel of a beautifully designed book that targets a multicultural, multi-generational demographic, Smith said.
“We are not trying to compete with anyone,” Smith said. She believes the melting pot is not truly being expressed in today’s media landscape as mainstream magazines and infographics might have you believe. This is why Smith wishes to change the soul of journalism. “The soul of journalism is service,” she said, “and we want to over-serve the journalistically underserved.”
HRDCVR’s mission is to challenge the lack of variety in society’s narrative and to bring more diverse communities forward. HRDCVR is, in essence, an ode to the culture. It’s not solely a hip-hop magazine and it’s not just about politics either, Smith said.
Wilson is a host and a television producer who runs the popular and influential website, Rap Radar. Smith is the former editor-in-chief of VIBE and was the first black editor at Billboard. She is currently a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.
With more than 20 years of journalism and media experience between them, HRDCVR, Smith said, is about authentic storytelling.
The magazine is designed to reject the mainstream idea of an audience, that is primarily white, in favor of a more honest reflection of the country’s true demographic. Smith said she and her husband have recruited a diverse team to tell diverse stories.
Smith credits her mother with coming up with the slogan for the magazine’s target audience, “the new everyone.”
The “new everyone” is actually the “old everyone,” said Smith.
“When was the last time you saw everyone [represented] together in between the covers of a magazine?” Smith asked.
And at a time when so many in the media industry are declaring the death of print, Smith recalled her days at VIBE when readers would tear out the magazine’s pages and frame them. She wants to recreate that experience with HRDCVR.
“Some of HRDCVR could be printed on paper with the dotted lines, to tear it out so you can frame it or share it,” she said. “We love print and I don’t think we’ve seen everything that can be done with it.”
Smith and Elliott are now in production mode and are looking for photographers, writers, graphic designers and other creators.
“If you think you’re what HRDCVR wants, you’re right. If you think you’re not what HRDCVR is looking for, you’re wrong,” Smith said.
The first issue, 1nce, will be the last. Its expected release date is November 28th.