I would be the last person to claim that publishing a monthly magazine is easy, but I must confess that I find writing my publisher’s statement harder still. As both publisher and editor, I sometimes find a conflict between my two functions, a small tug-of-war between business and philosophy. As publisher, my prime responsibility is, of course, w make everything come together so that you have a magazine to read, but — also being the editor — my duty extends to selecting that reading material, and here’s where I face a dichotomy of objectives: should I take a philosophical stand and have that reflected in the magazine’s editorial content? or should ROUTES be some sort of neutral mirror of the times, concerned only with trends and goings-on in the arts and entertainment world?
As publisher and editor of ROUTES over the past two years, I have seen the realities of individual struggles for personal and cultural survival, but just as the struggles are individual, #0 must be the solutions; personally, I am not caught up in the moment’s concern for the survival of our culture, I believe that will take care of itself if we take care of ourselves, However, it does concern me that so many people try to impose their personal dictum on others, for I feel survival can only be insured if a generally outlined philosophy is understood by all. ROUTES Magazine exists because I feel that a segment of the population is ignored by the media. We live in a country governed by an economic system called capitalism and under such a system the only way to survive is through self-reliance — not by leaning on our brothers, the government, or benevolent institutions.
Last evening, I attended a performance by singer Esther Marrow at the Upper West Side’s Grand Finale. For some twenty minutes, I observed a crowd of people from the entertainment world file through the lobby to pay tribute to 2 colleagues. I must confess that I had not heard of Ms. Marrow before, so I approached the ticket taker and revealed my ignorance by asking who she was. “Aunt Em in the Broadway production of ‘The Wiz’,” he informed me, adding that it would be an excellent show. He was right, from the first to the final umber Esther Marrow took us from our roots through the spectrum of our experiences, a performance for which she received a standing ovation, In the course of the evening, even the most sophisticated were caught with their pretense down, giving Ms. Marrow much waving of the old “gospel hand”’ (if you’ve ever been 10 church, you know what that is), and urging her on with ‘‘sing it, sister,”’ and other soulful encouragements. It all transported me back to my younger days in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant section, and as I looked around at the dressed-up people in this nightclub milieu, it struck me that no matter how mainstreamed we become, no matter how high we rise economically, nothing can erase from within us our basic heritage. We should acknowledge that with pride.
All that to say that, though we many not yet have all the trimmings afforded Mainstream America, we are a vital part of it, a core that is expanding at a consistent pace. Admittedly, that pace is not fast enough for some, but just scan the pages of ROUTES, check out the many things we, as a people are doing, and let your chest swell. You will find ROUTES Magazine’s format and philosophy reaching for its own level, a rational one that I hope you, our reader, can identify with and grow with. Your support and encouragement will always be our measure of success.