(Valerie Muzondi/Art Director)
When we began creating this issue, all we had were questions. The most pressing: what the hell is going on?
A pandemic, war, fire, famine, corrupt governments –– 2020 was a black hole that swallowed us all into its vortex. Our first instinct was to fight the pull, but soon, days on the calendar passed by in a blur. Time bled from one moment into the next until something snapped us back to remind us that the world had, indeed, continued on without us. Many of us felt like we were strapped inside a rocket ship, 3Gs of force flattening our backs to our seats.
Each day, we gathered around the TV to hear any updates. Pundits on flickering screens promised hope, despair. We held our breath, waiting to see a safe landing. Who wins in this race? Or does everyone lose?
With a flight this long, all we could do was let the earth spin away, sit and think. So we did. We thought about what led each of us here to this moment: heading into the dark with no clear destination, only our values and memories in tow. But do we know the moment we leave the atmosphere, or do we only realize it as gravity loses its grip?
Somewhere along the way, we discovered that to recognize these turning points –– to use the weightlessness and fly instead of fall –– you have to be vulnerable enough to analyze them, even if you don’t like the results. This year has been a lot of that. Growing. Falling back into old habits. Learning. Unlearning. Learning again.
In this issue, we wanted to explore the events before and after our generation’s pivotal moments and try to seek answers to life’s most pressing questions.
How do we move forward in a world that upholds institutions of racism? What experiences have led us to embrace our creative individuality, in spite of society telling us no? Is it possible to come back from a period where interaction and connection are put on pause? In what ways do our experiences tangibly change us? And how can parsing our past help us form our future?
We may not know what comes after this, but we can see what’s in front of our eyes. Our safe landing isn’t guaranteed as we blast off into space. It’ll take some grit, some ingenuity and even more self-awareness. But if there’s no embers among the night, we’ll just have to be our own torch in the darkness, raging against the dying of the light.
Rowdy Magazine, Volume IV releases Oct. 30, 2020. You can buy a copy on our website, at RowdyMagazine.com/shop. Check @rowdymagazine on Instagram for release week updates and events.