Article taken from The Face Volume 4 Issue 005. You can order your copy here if you’re into that sort of thing.
It’s a funny thing, sitting down to write your first editor’s letter in 2020, the year the world went mad. How do you sum up 12 months in which the only constant was constant change? The short answer is: you don’t. At least not in so many words.
Take the US Presidential Election. As I write, the first results are still over 24 hours away. We knew we couldn’t confidently declare victory one way or another and so, to our readers across the pond, we say good luck – we’re rooting for you.
For this issue, we made the decision to focus, predominantly, on stories from within our own shores. We have our UK rap portfolio, in which the defining sound of 2020 is explored across 26 pages, alongside bumper art and beauty specials. We have features on musician Beabadoobee, footballer Dominic Calvert-Lewin and activist Imarn Ayton. Plus there’s Stormzy on BikeStormz, an exclusive short story by Booker Prize-longlisted writer Gabriel Krauze and Ify Adenuga – mother to Skepta, JME, Julie and Jason – interviewed by comedian-of-the-moment Munya Chawawa.
Headlining it all is our Winter Issue cover star, Jorja Smith. This summer, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter followed up her biggest hit to date, Be Honest, with her most explicitly political number yet: the moving, Black Lives Matter-inspired By Any Means. The song’s video, shot in Smith’s hometown of Walsall in the West Midlands, features portraits of Black families, communities and businesses. It was an example of using your power to uplift and we couldn’t be happier to have her, in an exclusive story written by Liv Little and shot by Bolade Banjo.
Someone said something in a meeting a few weeks ago that really stayed with me: “signal boost”. It’s not a new phrase by any means, long used by activists to describe the mechanics of sharing something to raise awareness. But it really tallied with what we’ve been trying to do at THE FACE since our relaunch last spring: taking ostensibly small stories and using them to tell big ideas. It was an effort started under the editorship of the outgoing Stuart Brumfitt, to whom we are incredibly thankful, and which we proudly continue here.
As we approach winter, the number of signals in need of boosting is likely only to rise. If we can give you one constant going into 2021, it’s that you’ll continue to see them on the pages of this magazine – wherever you or they may be. For now, we hope you enjoy the issue.
Matthew Whitehouse, Editor
London, November 2020