MEET SADE JOHNSON OF MELANTED MAGAZINE
I am so excited to introduce to you guys a new series on my blog called ‘Woman of Purpose,’ where I will be interviewing 10 extraordinary and amazing Queens. These women are people that I am truly inspired by because of who they are, what they stand for and the work they do.
I have wanted to do a series like this for such a long time but have never really gone through with it.
I want every female to be empowered and encouraged by these women. It is not just about highlighting them and the work they do, but it is also about giving those women who don’t feel like they have a purpose a chance to realise that they do. I want them to realise that they too have a crown upon their head and it is about time they start believing in it.
Let me introduce my first interviewee, Sade Johnson.
Miss Johnson is the Creator of a new magazine called Melanated, which will be launching in the Summer.
I thought of her because she took up the courage, went against the norm and left the hard hard world of freelancing to start a platform of her own.
I think it is time that we delve into her story right?
Passionate Sade Johnson, writer and lover of nature with a normal 9-5 job in the finance sector made the steps to create her own platform called ‘Melanted Magazine’ because of the frustration she felt from the freelancing world.
As someone who fell into the finance sector by accident she knew deep down inside this wasn’t her love, as writing/journalism had captured her heart from a very early age. However, leaving University finding a job in the media industry was proving to be more difficult than imagined.
When I asked her if she knew that going into the creative world was going to be so difficult, her response was: “I underestimated how hard it would be. Journalism isn’t like those other jobs out there, for example it is not like nursing where you will always have a job waiting for you.”
“So as soon as I left University I was freelancing with different media outlets whilst also working a full-time job just to keep me afloat, because obviously when you leave University your parents expect you to put money on the table (the reality of adulting). I was working full-time in call centres and doing the jobs you have to do.”
As someone who is going into the media industry herself I wasn’t that surprised to hear how hard it was to find a stable job, as I have heard from many people that being a creative wasn’t going to be easy.
However, this didn’t stop Sade from pursuing her passion. This is because she knew she always wanted to be a journalist, although she didn’t know what type until much later on.
There she was fresh out of University working for different media outlets, writing fashion and beauty content hoping to make a name for herself.
Then the sad truth of the media industry not being diverse enough came into the picture.
Did you know that the newsrooms in the UK are 94% white and less than 0.1% of journalists are black?
For Sade Johnson this was something she had to learn to deal with considering the media industry wasn’t going to change overnight.
Let us pause for a second and go back to a story Sade told me over the phone.
It was during her second year in University and she had to go on a work placement for 2-4 weeks. The place where she was working was a very well-known black news outlet, which she decided not to mention the name of.
On one hand she was very happy to be working with them because she obviously wanted to work with her people, but then she later found out the news outlet didn’t feel the same way about her. There were some people who weren’t really rooting for her or wanting her to succeed because they wanted to be the only black person in that space shining.
So, she has had a negative experience with her ‘people’ and now going into the real-world where most mainstream platforms are predominately white, she comes to meet micro-aggressions.
What is a girl to do?
In her own words she said: “I think the hardest thing for me was just knowing my voice.”
“I write about things that I would read, and that hasn’t worked out well for me because you will have people saying that it needs to be mixed content and not all black. However, when the content is all white you don’t hear people complaining do you?”
“For me it would be so inauthentic to tone down my blackness and start to write ‘white content’”
Being a woman in the media industry is already hard enough, but being both black and a woman is a double barrier to tackle.
One thing that I noticed about Sade was that even though she had many obstacles to conquer, she didn’t let this get into the way of her purpose and what she had to offer the world.
Her purpose is now in Melanated Magazine.
So, how did it come about?
“Melanated Magazine came out of frustration,” said Sade.
It wasn’t something she was planning for and it wasn’t even in her 2020 goals. Her older sister had been telling her for years to start something of her own, like a magazine and she had always rejected the idea because it looked like it would be too much effort.
But, something this year had changed in her after having a negative experience with yet another magazine.
In an edition she was working on with a small team, it seemed like all her ideas were getting shut down and the reason for it was because they were too ‘black'. The magazine was multi-cultural so that meant it couldn’t feature all black people.
“At the end of the day I couldn’t put up with it anymore and I told the magazine I was done. Only for them to come back to me and simply say ‘okay,’” said Sade.
She decided that she didn’t want to be in a space where she was uncomfortable at merely saying words like ‘melanin,’ which is a scientific word and not just about ‘black girl magic.’ Working in such a space only highlighted how ignorant and uneducated the magazine was.
Moving onto one day at work where Sade sat at her desk, doing the things she usually does that the idea of Melanated Magazine came to life.
Just a day a later did the logo and Instagram page follow.
This all happened just a month ago.
In all the questions I asked Sade, the one in which I expected a lengthy response was: ‘How did you discover your purpose in life?’
To my surprise she simply said: “I feel like I still don’t know it if I am being honest.”
“I know that I am supposed to write and be a writer. I don’t know if I can say that Melanted Magazine is my purpose in life, but I feel it is connected to my purpose.”
One thing I have noticed as I have grown up is that most people see purpose as a destination rather than a journey. This can put a lot of pressure on us, especially on young people who feel like they have to have everything figured out!
I have come to realise that us females should know the difference between living purposefully and having a purpose. Neither one is wrong, but I have learnt that I can grow more as an individual when I live purposefully.
The last question I asked the wonderful Sade was:
‘What can you say to those young females out there today still searching for their purpose?’
“I would say pray about it a lot and ask God for guidance.”
“Follow your passions as well, if your heart is in something there is a reason why it is there,” said Sade.
I want to thank Sade for agreeing to take part in this interview! I really hope this black boss and Queen has inspired all those that are reading right now.
I am so happy that I had Sade as my first interview because there is a lot to learn from her story.
Stay tuned for the next interview with someone just as special coming out Next Week Saturday, 6pm.
Don’t forget to share with all your female friends and relatives, and while you are it follow my movement’s page @EstherWHAVT