Traditional media spaces have a history of alienating minorities and reproducing hostile environments for people of colour, particularly women. Fed up with the blatant instances of exclusion, a female student from South East London decided to build a platform. Called Gal-dem, hers is an online and print magazine that focuses on telling the stories of women of colour and better articulating their widespread interests.
The brainchild of Olivia ‘Liv’ Little, Gal-dem officially launched in 2015. She was becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of diversity she encountered at her university and was growing in her awareness of how often issues facing black, Asian, queer, disabled and trans women were being bypassed by mainstream feminism. Inspired by the work of screenwriter Cecile Emeke – creator of popular web series, Akee & Saltfish – Little decided to dedicate herself to the creation of a platform that would connect her with like-minded people who share her highs and lows.
Since its inception, Gal-dem has done just that. It provides a safe online space for the exploration of unique issues facing women of colour as well as for the elevation of their artistic visions and creative works. Comprised of over 70 contributors of colour, Gal-dem has found enormous success in supporting the creative work of a diverse range of women.
In September 2016, the Gal-dem team released the very first print edition of the magazine. Focusing on the theme of ‘gal-hood’, the first edition features a mixture of long-form features, interviews with fascinating women of colour, and opinion pieces, as well as beautiful illustrations and photography provided by in-house creatives.
“Through authentically representing the diverse body of voices of black and brown feminist millennials, our team is able to deal with complex and varied identities,” White wrote in The Guardian. “By taking control of our own narratives as a diverse group of young women, Gal-dem counters stereotypes that permeate much of mainstream media and academia.”