Onward. Upward.


Preview Issue of VIBE. 1992.

Now what?

You want to clutch your chest and lay back on your chaise and dab your brow with your hankie?

Go ahead.

I can’t go there with y’all.

I’m busy.

Running a fiction workshop right here on my blog.

Reaching out to my dear readers right here on my blog.

Shilling for Yummy’s.







The game is changing. If writing is your passion, do not pass Go.

Mourn Vibe.

I’m thisclose to crying. For real.

And then get over it.

We are in the middle of a huge transition.

Where will you end up?

Much love to all my Vibers, past and present.

Thank you to Danyel Smith for not hiring me to be your assistant and for knowing there were bigger things in store for me.

Thank you to Dave Bry, for assigning me my very very first story in the front of the book. Thank you to Erik Parker, for always making me trim the fat and get to the meat of my stories–even when it pissed me off. Thank you to the whole team who made the Mary Woodson story happen: Laura Checkoway, Lacey Banis, Jamie Katz.

Thank you to Keith Clinkscales, for letting me interview for three hours on how Vibe came to be.

Thank you to Serena Kim for assigning and editing some of my best work. Thank you to Karen Good for making me want to be a better writer.

Thank you to Raqiyah. Just because.

Rondell, Angie, BMI, J-Rod, Mariel, Lakeba….Thanks to the entire staff for hosting my students for countlesss class trips to see the inner workings of a magazine. Thank you to Rob Kenner for believing in my long-form investigative work. Thank you to Emil Wilbekin for being tipsy at Danyel’s house on DeKalb that day 12 years ago and making a newbie feel like she had a future in the game. Thank you to Akiba and Ayana and Tai for showing me love at Vixen. Thank you to Alan Light for letting me interview you about your time at Vibe. Thank you to Mimi for a second chance. Thank you so much to Shani Saxon who stopped me in the hallway and assigned me a story on the spot cause she heard I was a fearless reporter. I don’t have a masthead in front of me. This is all off the top. I’m verklempt.

I’m sad.

I’m fucked up.

And now. I’m done.

Onward and upward.

My first cover story for Vibe.

My first cover story for Vibe. 2005

My last cover story for Vibe. Faith Evans. 2005.

My last cover story for Vibe. Faith Evans. 2005.

Fantasia. 2007. My first and last cover for Vibe Vixen

Fantasia. 2007. My first and last cover for Vibe Vixen

35 Responses to “Onward. Upward.”

  1. Vibe Magazine RIP « Slang Rap Democracy Says:

    […] Upward. [via Aliya S. King] Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Vibe Mag’s 50 Hottest Rap Blogs X Slang Rap […]

  2. rashaunhall Says:

    Great post

  3. Russell Nichols Says:

    RIP VIBE magazine. Thank you Aliya for your words.

    “The game is changing. If writing is your passion, do not pass Go.

    Mourn Vibe.”


  4. Katura Says:

    Sigh. That’s all.

  5. Whitney Says:

    Great post. Thanks Vibe, for all the good work. To all my fellow writers, let’s take Aliya’s advice and keep pushing.

  6. NakedWithSocksOn.com aka NWSO Says:

    I’ll admit that I haven’t read a Vibe front to back in more than a minute (perhaps that’s part of the problem) and my work hasn’t appeared in its pages for some time, but I’m still saddened. I know magazines are (clearly) falling left and right, but with very few outlets that speak our language taking a brunt of the fall I fear that our voices are being stifled—slowly.

    Thankfully, writers such as yourself are expressing through blogs to counterbalance the dribble that exists in the “hip-hop blogosphere” at times (no shots), but the tangible product, the documentation of an ever-evolving culture will surely be missed.

    This news only makes me more concerned for the future of my chosen career, but also pushed me to go even harder making my own space/brand in the world. cough, cough, http://www.NakedWithSOcksOn.com.

    Onward & upward indeed

  7. Michael Says:

    Great post as usual. Now I gotta get back to work!

  8. Kenny Says:

    It would be you to post one of the original FLY covers of Vibe when the dimesions of that magazine was used to be this BIG.

  9. nodfactor Says:

    I was looking allover for that Treach cover or the Chris Rock and Michael Jordan cover

  10. serenakim Says:

    yeah we have to stay busy and figure out where we’ll land. thankfully i haven’t been surviving off that vibe money for about 3 years, but i think the whole landscape is altered, historically. you’re right though… gotta stay focused, keep up with the transition, write to survive.

  11. Robyn Says:

    Ripping off the band-aid. Painful but necessary. Thanks Aliya! Great post.

  12. spamwarrior Says:

    oh no! Vibe is folding?

  13. Kennedy Nicole Says:

    When will it ever stop?

  14. Something Like Beautiful Says:

    It feels like the death of an era. Wow.

  15. Tremaya Says:

    Wow, my adolescence has taken some serious hits this past week. Thanks as always Aliya.

  16. MML Says:

    just this morning, vibe crossed my mind. i was walking through the 10th arrondissement, thinking of the mint condition first two issues of vibe i’ve got in a box somewhere. wondering what they might be worth after vibe puts out another 20 years worth of issues. (what’s that john lennon issue of rolling stone worth these days?) thinking of how i threw out my every-single-issue collection sometime after they shrunk the magazine down, wondering when the DVDs with the entire vibe collection’s gon’ drop.

    are y’all lester bangses or tom wolfes? that remains the Q. take s’more inventory.

    & vibe, rest in peace. you were snooty at times, but that elusive carrot to catch at one point.

  17. SoSoulfull Says:

    Well said – Onward. Upward. Man, the young ‘me’ has been drop-kicked in the chest with all these recent pop culture changes. I’m trying not to get ‘in my feelings’ for too long but this news just totally blows. Another star plummets from the sky… :sigh:

  18. Claire Says:

    Aliya, was so waiting to hear your thoughts and this fulfilled my expectations. I already read about your Shilling for Yummy’s and other side hustles and know that all fearless, flawless writers will find their place. In my wee tribute (that came from the audience’s point of view), I could only reminisce on those first Vibe issues back in the 90’s with the Fugees, Snoop Dogg, and Pac on the cover. I haven’t cracked a Vibe Mag open in years; can’t say why, but I feel that as much as I’m saddened by its departure, I played a small role in its demise by not renewing that subscription.
    A few notables have already taken to Twitter to tapdance on Vibe’s grave, but as we all did with Michael Jackson, we’ll remember the good times, when the book was at the top of its game.

  19. Belle Says:

    My first magazine byline was at VIBE. I was the music department intern under Shani Saxon. When she and her assistant Jasmine didn’t have me calling labels to FAX over the album release schedules, they lent me out to Emil Wilbekin’s assistant Eunice Liario. She would always have me send out the new issues to the contributors and important industry folks. That’s how I learned the names of the who’s who in the Industry (and how I learned not to take any sh*t. Eunice didn’t ask, she demanded. And people always came thru. There’s an art to doing it.)

    Brett Johnson assigned me to write picture captions. Shortly thereafter Craig Seymour assigned me to write reviews and a Next. I did the best I could and he called me into his office and told me how it was wrong and why, and then showed me how to do it right. He told me reviews were like poetry and because they were short I had to make each word count. I will always be thankful for his patience and his teaching. Serena Kim came while I was there. She ripped what I wrote too. I was an English major and wrote in lofty academic prose. She got me to write like a writer, not a professor. (After I left, I wrote something for her and he wrote back “this is great.” I was so proud I’d gotten her approval.)

    I read the raw features by Lola O. when they came in and would take another look when Shani was done. That’s how I learned what an editor did. I learned what a boss was supposed to do while watching her too. She never asked me to do anything she wouldn’t (she was the music editor, but you could find her standing at the copy machine), never sent me on food runs, and always said thank you for a job well done. I will forever be grateful for that experience.

    I was supposed to be there for a semester. I stayed for a year. The staff, including ME Jackie Monk and asst. ME Andrew Simon, bought a small cake and soda and threw me a bye-bye party when I left (the first time. I went back after summer.) I was shocked that they were marking my exit. I guess I was a good intern.

    On my last day, Tasha Turner, Memsor Kamarake, and Bart Graham, who all worked in fashion, told me I should have been working with them. If this writing thing doesn’t work out, I may have something to fall back on.

    I cried on the subway home because that experience confirmed that running from to DC to NYC wasn’t just some suburban fantasy about making it in NYC and that I actually had a chance here.

    I mention all the names because everyone who was there moved UP, UP, UP. If you don’t know the names, Google them. That place was a breeding ground for talent and I’m proud that I was even a very, very small part.

    I’m super sad about his news. What is the world coming to?

    RIP VIBE. Thanks for everything.

  20. Belle Says:

    Ooh. Sorry for the length. I was purging. Thanks for providing a space to do so.

  21. Damon Says:

    @belle: The worst thing about this the tales you just recanted are things fewer young journalists will not get to experience in the THAT culture …

    That’s just another reason why this is a sad day.

  22. dana Says:

    Thank you Aliya & Vibe for the amazing story on my aunt Mary Woodson. Thank you for taking the time to try and find the truth behind her death. Love You Always!

  23. la negrita Says:

    Great story, belle. Sparked up nostalgia…

  24. Lisa. Says:

    Damn Belle hit the nail on the head.
    I remember back in the days reading VIBE and the raw stories that spilled across its pages. Those were the days and the editors were top-notch, all hustlas going places. Like NWSO, I haven’t read a VIBE cover from front to back either because it’s just not the same, but damn…it used to be so good.

  25. Portia Says:

    Wow. This isall too much…So much change and loss in such a small amount of time….I feel you Aliya. Onward. Upward.

  26. Brian B.Dot Miller Says:

    an ineffable feeling. sad day in journalism.

  27. clove Says:

    As someone who saw my image reflected in vibe when I was younger, and even though it ain’t what i used to be, this news saddened me. A magazine that cherished Black faces and culture and supported my obsession with music… I loved it. And when I worked there, I adored it.

    the thing that kills me is that young journalists are losing a dream publication. If there’s (eventually) no magazine that you can see yourself at, something you can aspire to, then what does that mean? I don’t know. I had that dream and I met it and it meant everything to me. hopefully they’ll create their own dream destination. I think that’s important…

    It’s getting dire for us. but still got my puffy cap on…positive vibes

  28. Gilz Says:

    You were the first I thought of when I heard the news.

  29. R.I.P. Vibe « Rashaun Hall’s Blog Says:

    […] that, here’s the official story about the magazine’s closing AND a really poignant take on what it means to a great writer who’s worked there. That is […]

  30. jay1 Says:

    my mom got me a subscription to vibe as a gift when i was 15 or so and that was the first time i ever read it and it made me want to go into writing.

  31. Honey Says:

    Gilz Says:

    “You were the first I thought of when I heard the news.”

    I thought I was the only one. I went straight to Aliya’s site when I heard the news about vibe. I was very anxious and curious to read her thoughts on it.

  32. Honey Walrond Says:

    Gilz Says:

    “You were the first I thought of when I heard the news.”

    I thought I was the only one. I went straight to Aliya’s site when I heard the news about vibe. I was very anxious and curious to read her thoughts on it.

  33. Boss Lady Says:

    Aliya I used to read your work in VIBE and sincerely dream of being as talented a writer as you are (still working on it).

    Thanks for this piece – it sums up how a lot of us are feeling.

    Here’s my thoughts on the closure of VIBE: http://live.drjays.com/index.php/2009/07/01/boss-lady-speaks-my-tribute-to-vibe-magazine/.

    ~Boss Lady

  34. Twitted by MissCocoaLuv Says:

    […] This post was Twitted by MissCocoaLuv […]

  35. Jimmy Says:

    Vibe will be missed, though if we could bring back Vibe or Ego Trip, I’d still have to go with Ego Trip, lol

    Dope Hip-Hop books –

    Check The Technique http://www.waxfacts.com
    Can’t Stop Won’t Stop http://www.cantstopwontstop.com
    How To Rap http://www.howtorapbook.com
    Classic Material http://www.o-dub.com/classic/classic.html

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