L.A. Pride History: First black gay magazine

ByPatrick Stinson, Jessica Dominguez KABC logo
Thursday, June 6, 2019
First black gay magazine
Los Angeles is home to many firsts when it comes to LBGTQ publications.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles is home to many firsts when it comes to LBGTQ publications.

"One" was the first national gay magazine, which was published from 1953-1967. Followed closely by the launch of "The Advocate," which is still in print today.

And thanks to publisher Alan Bell, in 1988, L.A. and the nation got its first black gay magazine, BLK.

"Every community wants information about them so the black Lesbian and Gay community was no different. There wasn't that information. And some of the information out there, was misinformation," said Bell.

As the founder of this publication and a journalist, he felt it was his job to collect information and then people could use it as they felt best. Another reason the publication was important - history.

"We need to say we were here," said Bell.

It was required reading for black gays and lesbians looking for reporting that addressed their issues and interests. From the job hunt and the AIDS crisis to pop culture and entertainment, BLK was on the best when no one else was.

One impact story that stands out in Bell's mind is when the magazine covered Magic Johnson's announcement in 1991, when Johnson told the world he was diagnosed with HIV.

The groundbreaking magazine lasted for about 6 years, with the final issue being printed in 1994. Today, Bell runs BLK Publishing, a graphic and design printing company and is still an advocate for his community.