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Posted under: Culture Opinion

4 Gems from Kierna Mayo’s Interview on the Combat Jack Show

As the latest guest on the Combat Jack Show, Kierna Mayo shed light on what she has endured and accomplished in the field of journalism. She was an editor for The Source magazine as it became the premiere hip-hop publication. Years later, Kierna co-founded Honey magazine, which highlighted black women in the entertainment business as few other magazines have. Today, she is the Editor-in-Chief of EBONY magazine. Kierna’s conversation with Combat Jack is rich with insight into her life and wisdom from which others can learn. Here are four of the gems offered by the interview:

1. Kierna went to Murry Bergtraum High School with Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest.

Her memories align with what fans have seen from the two during their careers – Ali having a quiet demeanor and Q-Tip being eclectic and soulful. Kierna refers to their school as “Hip-hop High” because the Jungle Brothers and other members of the Native Tongues movement were students there as well.

2. A friend of hers recommended The Source as a place for her to work following college and told her about the magazine’s founder David Mays.

Kierna was initially confused by the magazine given the fact that it covered black music, but was founded by a white man. She says, “I didn’t reconcile ‘white’ and ‘hip-hop’ at that time." However, Kierna would go on to work with David and learn that hip-hop culture “grabs souls… and it’s not race-specific in that way.”

3. She says that she vouched for TLC deserving a cover from the magazine against doubt from some of her peers.

The debate centered upon the newness of hip-hop being exported to places other than New York City. This new issue caused the common question of “What is authentic?” as her and everyone else at The Source covered new acts. With Atlanta being their place of origin, Kierna says that TLC was breaking “every rap convention” in the early ‘90s. Yet, her work and conversations with Dream Hampton helped them figure out what hip-hop feminism meant and this motivated her to highlight major moments in the culture from women such as TLC.

4. Kierna worked to publish the shattered frame image of the Huxtable family that covered the November 2015 edition of EBONY.

When speaking of people’s reaction to it, she says, “If I’m going to be authentically black as an editor and I’m going to allow my audience to be their full selves, then we can't remove the prospect of critique.” The interview covers much more about Kierna’s life, such as the culture shock she experienced at Hampton University and the business dealings that tested her in regards to Honey magazine. Make sure to give it a listen below!

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Kenneth is a writer from the Bronx and music is his passion. Follow him on twitter - @KenHicks_