The New York Review of Magazines

Arise

By Derrick Taylor

Circulation: 50,000
Date of Birth: 2008
Frequency: Monthly
Price: $11.99

Arise magazine creates a stunning portrait of Africa. Covering the vast continent is no easy task, but Arise does so in a bold and beautiful way. The monthly publication showcases art, culture, fashion and entertainment, and its pages are filled with photographs that embrace the sun-kissed races of the motherland. There is no other international publication that so ably highlights and celebrates brown people from around the world, let alone focuses on Africa.

Based in the United Kingdom, Arise drags you away from your Western mentality and slams you into the middle of everything Africa with oversized pages (12 by 9 inches) that display detailed, eye-catching photos. The text is simple and often arranged in unique shapes to make for an interesting reading experience.

The magazine’s audience spans the globe, with a 40-percent male and 60-percent female readership hailing from France, the U.K., the United States (among other places), and, of course, Africa. It can be found in some U.S. bookstores and news outlets, or you can subscribe to it via the magazine’s website. Surprisingly, Arise doesn’t have a large circulation. At most, Arise distributes 50,000 copies around the world, with more than half of its readership located in Nigeria and London.

A considerable portion of the publication is dedicated to fashion designers who hail from Africa. Not all of the models are African — many come from other parts of the world, demonstrating Africa’s international influence. Arise manages to make a lot of global noise, especially during the annual Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York, where the magazine puts on a fashion show with African designers.

The music and entertainment sections shine a bright spotlight on emerging artists across the continent, highlighting talents from Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya, among other places. There are also travel pages displaying the beauty of Africa’s vacation spots and attractions. If you’ve never considered vacationing in Africa, these picture spreads will make you think again.

Of course, Africa is not just beautiful places, people, music and clothes, and neither is Arise. Serious — and often controversial — topics are covered, too: H.I.V. and AIDS, efforts to go green, political leaders and political unrest. The magazine provides a holistic look at Africa that leaves the reader with an inspiring image of the continent, without overlooking its darkest moments.

No magazine has everything a reader may want, and one thing I miss in Arise is coverage of the continent’s food. It’s disappointing that there isn’t a food section in which readers can visually taste a piece of Africa.

Whatever your thoughts are about Africa, if the images in your mind are negative — if you think of Africa as a begging bowl or a grief-stricken land depleted of resources — this magazine will change them.

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