BLK Publications

BLK Publications is located at 5903 S Corning Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90056. BLK Magazine was a magazine designed to educate and inform the Black LGBTQ community in Los Angeles that hadn’t yet been informed about issues that related to their community, particularly during the height of the AIDS crisis. Created by Alan Bell in 1988, BLK Magazine aimed to not only be the best black gay news publication, but the best magazine altogether. Designed in the vein of Newsweek and TIME, BLK Magazine aimed to be a source of mainstream news for everyone to enjoy as well as provide a safe methods for the Black LGBTQ community to communicate. At the time, the community had only limited ways of interacting or learning from one another, so the purpose of BLK transcended just news to be an avenue for the community to flourish.

BLK Publications was paramount to the increase of unity and awareness within the Black LGBTQ community not only in Los Angeles, but across the entire nation. Being members of a community with multiple constantly oppressed and marginalized identities, it was extremely difficult for black LGBT people to find solace with other like-minded individuals. BLK Magazine gave comfort to these people, ensuring them that they were not alone and that their identities mattered. This was especially necessary with the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, as people in Black LGBTQ communities were dying at higher rates than others largely due to lack of shared resources.

BLK gave outlets for activists to talk about the injustices their community faced and advocate for fighting back against oppressive systems, encouraging readers to dedicate their resources toward minimizing the deadly disease as much as possible. This was done through BLK collaborations with icons like Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute. BLK also constantly ran advertisements that provided opportunities for the community to help one another, such as dispensaries for people suffering from chronic pain. Another example would lie in their more sexually-inclined magazines such as Blackfire and Black Lace, which showcased Black LGBTQ people in sexual pictures whilst also portraying them as strong and fierce in their own ways.


BLK Magazine July 1991 Whole No. 32 Vol. 3, No. 7: “High Risk, Low Priority: AIDS in the Black Gay Community”

Broverman, Neal. “ONE Archives Exhibit Highlights Queer Activism.” The Advocate, The Advocate, 2 Feb. 2013

“African-American LGBTQ+ Periodicals.” Oviatt Library, CSUN, 16 Feb. 2016