Our Stories. By us. For us.
Charcoal is a multimedia arts, culture, and fashion publication dedicated to celebrating young artists of color and their stories.
Charcoal Magazine celebrates young POC creatives and explores the intersections of identity and art. A publication based in Boston, MA, Charcoal features live, visual, and written content created by young artists of color throughout its varying platforms.
Charcoal is published by the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground.
The very idea of Charcoal originated back in 2017 when the Founder & Boston University (BU) Alumna, Remy Usman, wanted to bring an environment for people of color to commune and tell their stories their way. Throughout the early years of Charcoal, Remy, alongside BU Alumna Adia Turner worked tirelessly alongside some close friends of theirs to bring the first Charcoal issue to life.
Enter Mirrors, Charcoal Magazine's first printed issue. We often say that Charcoal is a labor of love, and you can truly see that passion in the very binding of that book. After constant work in the BU Build Lab to lay the foundation of Charcoal, along with the assistance of BU Alumna and former Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground (HTC) Assistant Director of Arts and Programs, Shari Tumandao, the team introduced Charcoal into the hearts of POC students across BU. In that moment, a seed was planted. A rebellion – a revolutionary idea that people of color deserve a space to be expressive, creative, and ambitious by creating tangible work and space that we can commune and support one another.
Charcoal has continued to evolve since then. We published 2 online-only issues: Echo and Fuse. We have produced numerous printed issues, shifting our storytelling into long form narrative approaches that continue to embrace layered, artistic expression surrounding a larger value in our more recent issues like Climax and Ego Death. We launched our online blog, Charcoal Connect, that gives our community freedom to tell their own stories through our platforms.
Bringing our community together is always a priority of ours. With the support of the HTC's Director and Associate Director, Katherine Kennedy and Nick Bates respectively, Charcoal has been able to expand what our community looks like to new heights. Whether it was 30 people in the basement of the George Sherman Union to release our 2nd issue, Sweet, or over 400 people throughout the Howard Thurman Center to watch our Spring 2022 Fashion Show, we have always remembered that one of the top priorities of our work is community care, always. That involves all of us, and every single person that shares space with us. Students, staff, and faculty alike, there are people of all types that believe in the idea of Charcoal.
We never forget what we do this for. Yes we do it for the art, the creativity of it all. We do it for the enjoyment and sheer bliss of it all. We do it for the professional experience and pride in our work. We do it for so many reasons, but most of all we do it for this community. We choose Charcoal for each of us, those before us, and those after us who need a space like this–who need a community like this. It will grow, and change, and have highs, and have lows, but the idea of Charcoal will never go anywhere. People of color will always need a community like this.
If you take anything away from the idea of Charcoal, let it be that. You will always need community to come alive in. That community does not have to always be Charcoal. But let this publication show you how vital community is, how to build it, how to nurture it, and how to trust it. Let this publication show you how to build something like Charcoal that meets your needs, and share that space with those that make you come alive. Let this publication light a fire in you that lasts a lifetime.
2022-2023 Editorial Board
Community Relations Director