What is BLK?
BLK is a monthly newsmagazine in America started by Alan Bell. The market of the BLK magazine is the group of people known as African American LGBT. LGBT is an acronym used in the 1990s, which refers to ‘Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender’ collectively.
BLK magazine was primarily published in Los Angeles. It was distributed without a fee to local establishments that are commonly served as hangouts of colored people. Specifically, the colored people mentioned are gays and lesbians. The magazine gained popularity and not for so long, distribution reached greater LGBT venues across Los Angeles.
As BLK magazine’s popularity increases, more people got interested and its coverage continued to increase. The local colored LGBT target soon becomes the focus of countrywide and international audiences. Soon, the magazine reached the distribution of Canadian readers.
BLK magazine was famous for its sub-title ‘The National Black Lesbian and Gay Newsmagazine.’ Moreover, BLK is also famous for its motto ‘where the news is colored on purpose.’ The newsmagazine name was derived from the abbreviation used as a standard for the color black (BLK).
The history of the BLK newsmagazine can be traced back from 1988. The initial release of the publication was black and white newsprint with 16 pages. Later on, it became a 40-page newsmagazine printed in glossy covers. The magazine ceased its publication in the middle of 1994.
The editor of BLK was Alan Bell, a graphic designer of an African American descent. He was known to publish the magazine ‘Gaysweek’ in New York City in a span of three years. It was in the late seventies when Bell was pushed for starting the BLK newsmagazine. The black LGBT AIDS activists were responsible for the start of BLK’s publication.
Bell hesitated at first but with the founding of Black Jack, a safer sex club for black men in LA, his efforts began to increase. The shortage of trustworthy information about the increasing problem on HIV on African American LGBTs inspired Bell to pursue the publication of BLK newsmagazine. BLK newsmagazine was actually an expansion of the Black Jack.
Bell established the BLK newsmagazine as a publication covering prevalently hard news. BLK had since then an alternative to the mostly common information-entertainment publications. Bell personally chose the name of the magazine. The name was associated with the tradition of how people called the African Americans. Usually, the color black is used to indicate racially these colored people.
Black is abbreviated as blk but Bell used BLK (always capitalized) as the official name of his publication. The first issue of the newsmagazine contains the cover of a black man showing his muscles. The black man wears Santa’s traditional hat and whiskers. The succeeding covers were mostly black men or images of well-known African American LGBTs, who were featured in the magazine itself. The publication had 41 printed issues before it stopped its circulation. However, sister publications remain in circulation such as the Blackfire and Kuumba. Some of BLK’s sister publication were Black Lace, Black Dates, and the Mentor.