about me and conformity magazine
Hello, I am Khaleel Johnson and I started Conformity Magazine when I was 16 years old. The magazine started life simply as a platform to showcase some of the extraordinary black artists out there. Often their talent can go unrecognised, whereas their white counterparts, sometimes with less talent, have more of a chance of carving out success and getting seen.
This was only the beginning though as Conformity Magazine has since evolved into something more. This evolution went in tandem with exploration of my own sexuality and gender. As I began sneaking out to gay clubs (without my family knowing) I learned that instead of being able to feel free, safe and uninhibited, these gay spaces were inhabited predominantly by older white males and my experience was the opposite. I was faced with continuous groping of my hair and body, racial slurs, fetishisation and discrimination.
So at 17, I decided to create my own movement for other young queer, trans and intersex creatives of colour and society’s anomalies.
I began to organise discussions, photoshoots, exhibitions, open mic nights and parties in Manchester, where I group up. My aim was to provide a safe space and sense of belonging for all those who feel on the outside, judged, unaccepted, misunderstood or as if the world is stacked against them.
For some of us, this lack of understanding or wanting to understand would have seen our families deliver the biggest beating before sending us back to the motherland via the Church.
In late 2017 I was lucky enough to find a co-leader in my partner Nadir Gonçalves, founder of fashion and humanities platform 3quality. With him being more responsible for creating visual concepts while I work more on the advertising and PR aspect, this allowed me to maintain my university studies simultaneously.
At present, we have an online blog but we want to go beyond this and reach more young people who are looking for a sense of belonging, no judgement and a space to explore. To achieve this, we want to produce a print magazine with a high end visual aesthetic - a publication I wish I had when I was growing up.
During my own personal exploration, I documented my journey through poetry and photography – the latter informing my visual aesthetic for the Conformity blog as it stands today.
To achieve our goal, we have to generate the funding so that we can produce the magazine ourselves. We want to maintain editorial and photographic control, so that our publication really resonates with those we seek to reach.
Our plan of action
Our intention is to print our first issue in June 2018. The central theme for this will be 'intimacy'. The title of the issue will be ‘Our level of intimacy is a rare entity’ .
The purpose is to subvert the portrayal of gay and female roles in intimate moments as often portrayed in the media and other sources, e.g. pornography. We will seek to examine intimacy as more than just sex and focus on everything from personal connection to connection to all different types of culture. Content for our launch edition will include features and stories that educate, taking the publication beyond its visual photographic foundations.
We want readers, regardless of where they are from, to feel they can connect with the artists or individuals we profile or get to comment on key themes.
We hope that through Conformity Magazine those who have traditionally felt like a minority within a minority (e.g. black and queer) feel one of many – an abundant collective with a shared voice and platform for expression.
Here's where you come in...
Firstly, Conformity Magazine is non-profit - I am not starting this crowdfunding campaign for personal income and actually wanted to avoid having to go out and ask people to donate. However, as a full time student with my mindset in the best place it has been and the magazine at a key point in its development, I can't afford to waste the opportunity to build on what we have achieved to date - especially knowing how important this magazine is for a number of people.
Below I have listed what your donations will be going towards:
- £1,300: Venue hire for magazine launch party (one full day):
- £250: Equipment hire for launch party (e.g., projector, lights, DJ equipment, security and bar staff - one full day):
- £350: Entertainment (for launch party)
- £500: Production costs (creating content, inc studio hire)
- £2,600: Costs for the printing of 500 copies of magazine, production of film book, and release of art and poetry zine.
If we hit our minimum fundraising target:
This will allow us to print just above half of our desirable number of copies of the main print issue alone.
Hitting our full target will allow us to:
Hitting our full target will allow us to print our desired quantity (500) of our main print issue and distribute copies. Our plan is to work with international distributor "Antenne Books", so we connect with people nationally and across the world.
It will also enable us to produce an exclusive film photo-book, as well as an art and poetry zine release. Our exclusive film photo-book will showcase behind the scenes work and surreal imagery which we hope will speak a thousand words, open to interpretation by the reader.
Furthermore, money aside from printing will go towards distribution and the exhibition launch party.
If things really take off and we raise more than our target we will:
Donate 30% of any additional funds raised to The Rahul Kotak Foundation who are helping bring quality education to children in the slums and rural areas of Africa. The Foundation stands for compassion, charity and change. The other 70% of any money above our target will be put back into future print publications, exhibitions, events and discussions all aiding to form a safe space.
Keep up to date with our progress
We will give updates on the our progress of our campaign every 48 hours through social media. We will also send direct emails to those who have donated every seven days.
Where to find us:
In return for donations, we have some great rewards on offer, so check out the right hand side of our crowdfunding page for more info!
Other ways to support
We need as many people as possible to be talking about our project. Therefore even if you can’t donate personally, you can still help us by spreading the word about our project to your own network of contacts.
Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in person or on your blog.
By helping us promote the project, the greater chance we have of turning our bright idea into reality. Your support really matters!
Of course if you are also able to make a small personal donation and sponsor our project, we would be very grateful.
A big thank you from me and the rest of the Conformity Magazine team!