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Written, designed, and edited by women of color, Mixed Company is a collection of fiction and visual art offered as an expression of contemporary Black thought. Its goal is to expand notions of reading and seeing into the past, present, and future by highlighting the interplay between tradition and innovation. Continuing the long-standing practice of independent, street-level creatives in New Orleans, Mixed Company seeks to counter the control of literary and cultural gate-keepers over access to ownership and the production of art. We challenge both consumers and creatives to consider the possibility of a radical reconstruction of what it takes to circulate your work locally, nationally, and internationally. Mixed Company was created to challenge all lines of demarcation that exist between genres, countries and peoples. We offer this work as another kind of capital and different modality of exchange. In light of catastrophic levels of displacement (200,000 + Black people yet to return to New Orleans), we unite these narratives to assert, undeniably, that WE REMAIN.
Our contributors are Addie Citchens, Jeri Hilt, Ambata Kazi-Nance, Soraya Jean-Louis McElroy, J.R. Ramakrishnan, and Kristina Kay Robinson. Our points of origin traverse the expanse of the globe from the Mississippi Delta, to the port at New Orleans, the first free Black republic in the West, Haiti, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Our academic and professional reach includes but is not limited to institutions such as: Howard University, Xavier University, University of New Orleans, Oxford University, SOAS School of Oriental and Africana Studies, and Columbia School of Journalism. Our creative writing and journalism appears in publications such as: Oxford American‘s “Best of the South” edition, in Calloloo journal, Azizah magazine, Grow Mama Grow, Style.com, Harper’s Bazaar, Chicago Tribune, Grazia, Baffler, Xavier Review, One Drop, to name a few.
Despite these instances of access to traditional outlets, all the artists in Mixed Company have had to confront the limitations placed on women of color within the publishing industry. Instead of playing a waiting game, we created our own space that embraces diversity, humanity, and agency while refusing to collapse Black expression into narratives that fit comfortably into mainstream consumerism.