Hello, new friends, and welcome to The Iola Project.
The Iola Project began as a tweet, as some of the best ideas do. On May 10, 2019 at 10:14 PM, I tweeted:
“Ugh I just want to get a bunch of Black feminists together and start a site where we write Bitch media quality takes on popular culture but with the interactivity of Buzzfeed.”
Perhaps moments after that tweet, the idea for The Iola Project began taking shape in my mind.
The idea was simple: I wanted Black feminist popular culture reviews and analysis about all our favorite things on a site where you could do more than just read. I wanted a site that taught readers as much about our Black feminist foremothers as it did about our contemporaries while you perused. And I wanted people to get paid for their time.
In order for such a huge project to get off the ground, I knew I needed help. So I called the baddest Black feminist I knew: Taylor Leigh Lamb. With Taylor’s assistance, The Iola Project began to develop sharper contours and the intentions became clearer.
From our name, which was derived from Ida B. Wells’ pen name when she wrote for the Memphis Free Speech, to our site colors, which come from Alice Walker’s quote, “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender,” everything that we do at The Iola Project is part of a larger goal of celebrating Black feminism, in all its forms and iterations. We will write under Black feminist pseudonyms with an accompanying guide to why we have chosen our names; we will pay homage to our foremothers in our weekly “Letters to the Ancestors” column; and and we will encourage you to, in the wise words of Dr. Claudrena Harold, do the reading by offering up reading lists and reviews of our favorite Black feminist texts.
It is important for you to know that this is not a woman’s magazine. This is a Black feminist magazine. If you are Black, identify as a feminist and have all the feelings about popular culture, your words are welcome and valued here. We are seeking to amplify those voices. If you are non-Black, identify as a feminist and have all the feelings about popular culture, we hope you will join our community.
Ravynn K. Stringfield
Taylor Leigh Lamb
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