We have the pleasure of speaking to the editor-in-chief of Black Texas Mag Nick Bailey about Black Texas Magazine itself and its origin story. Nick also generously shares his advice for young black and brown professionals looking to start their own creative venture.
Check out Black Texas Magazine: https://www.blacktexasmag.com/
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Zach: What’s up, y’all? It’s Zach with Living Corporate, and yes, you’re listening to a B-Side. Now, yes, we’ve introduced the purpose of a B-Side before, but remember, every episode is what? That’s right, somebody’s first episode. So for our new folks, B-Sides are essentially random shows that we have in-between our larger shows. These are much less structured and somehow–that’s right, you even guessed it–it’s more lit. That’s right. So there’s lit. This is more lit than our regularly scheduled shows. Sometimes they’re discussions that the hosts have. Sometimes they’re extended monologues from just one particular host like myself or Ola or Latricia or Ade, or sometimes, yes, maybe even sometimes, maybe even most times, they’re a special chat with a special guest. Today, we have a special guest – Nickholas Bailey. Nick Bailey is the editor-in-chief of Black Texas Magazine, a media outlet that is dedicated to enriching the lives of people of color across the state and beyond by connecting on a personal level through a passion for leading fulfilling lives. Welcome to the show, man. How you doin’?
Nick: I’m doing well, how are you?
Zach: I’m doing good, man. Look, let’s talk about Black Texas Magazine. Where did it start, why the name, and what are y’all trying to achieve?
Nick: Well, Black Texas started kind of as a jumping point for me because prior to this, or about–oh, I guess about a year prior to this I was the online editor for a publication called Texas Lifestyle Magazine. Great publication. They’ve done a lot of great stuff, but as I–as I got further into it, I started to recognize that there was a disconnect between my perspective and the perspective that they were–that they were creating. You know, like, I live a very different lifestyle than the people that they target, you know? I’m not accustomed to paying $300 for a charcuterie board or paying, you know, $1,000 for, you know, a grill set. It just wasn’t really my–it wasn’t really my thing, and I was pushing for some more relatable content for the average Texan, and it just wasn’t–there was a disconnect there, and so after a lot of thinking and a lot of planning I decided to make the jump and create a publication for black people that was essentially the same thing in some ways. Like, I don’t want to say that we just copied and pasted the formula because, you know, unfortunately I created a lot of the formula for Texas Lifestyle once I came on, but I would say that our goal is to enrich the life of black Texans and really Texans of all colors by exposing them to new brands, new opportunities, and new experiences that they may not have previously known about or they may not have previously felt like were open to them, you know? So I know for a lot of–for a lot of black people in the community, we–we almost self-segregate with a lot of things, you know? We look at things as, “Oh, that’s white people stuff. We don’t really–we don’t really mess with that,” whether it be, you know, simple stuff or the wild stuff like bungee jumping or skydiving, which I’m still kind of on the fence on. Like, they might be able to keep those. [laughs] But even things like, you know, eating at different restaurants or trying different festivals and experiences. Just really making it more palatable for–you know, for the black community, because there are plenty of people in the black community that say, “Hey, I want to live life. I’ve only got one life. I want to enjoy it while I’m here,” and finding the opportunities for them that will enhance their lives is really the big overarching goal for us, but also highlighting the black businesses that are trying that as well along the way.
Zach: So it’s interesting, right? So I looked at the platform, and, you know, I think what I was taken most aback by was the amount of content, right? Like, you guys–it seems like you guys are publishing something every single day, and so talk to me a little bit about y’all’s challenges in getting this started up and, you know, what goes into managing a digital magazine. How do you juggle–it seems that there’s a lot of hats to juggle. It seems that there’s a lot of things to do, and I understand that you’re also working full-time still.
Zach: So how do you manage all of that?
Nick: I manage that with a lot of stress–a lot of stress, not a lot of sleep, and an overdose of patience, because we do have a small team. We’re always looking–like, we’re always looking for new writers to bring on-board, but right now we do have a small team, and it’s really just a matter of balancing everyone’s talents and abilities. Like, for the time being I take on the burden–I take on the bulk of the burden by handling a lot of the administrative tasks. So, like, making sure that content is up on the website, proofreading the content, gathering all of the materials. So that might be, like, getting the photos in order, sorting it–like, sorting our files and documents online. So I do a lot of that stuff, and so I have the writers, and I say, “Hey, I want you to focus on writing,” and the plan that I have right now is really to kind of spread that load across–across the team so no one person is having to do all of the writing. ‘Cause everybody–like, to my knowledge, everybody else is working full-time somewhere as well. So what I would rather them do is each person write, you know, one or two things a month, and we could be able to keep a steady flow than expecting one person to churn out, you know, a new article every week, you know? And with balancing it with working–like, I work full-time, and for me it’s kind of difficult ’cause I work 12-hour shifts. So a lot of my work is done–I guess done at night, so I’m usually up until about 1:00 in the morning making sure that content is looking good, there’s no errors and we’re gonna be good to go.
Zach: So I have another question as a follow-up, right, really to the title of Black Texas Magazine. Has anyone run up on you with, “If we had a White Texas Magazine, that would be racist?”
Nick: Not that directly, but it’s been one of those side–like, side-swiped questions. Like, “Hm, why is it just for black people?” And kind of insinuating that, and to that I would say, to be honest, most of the public–like, most of the Texas-based publications we have are catered to a white audience. And, you know, I’m not opposed to–I’m not opposed to acknowledging that it may seem–it may come off as a bit contentious to say, “This is a publication for black people,” you know, but at the same time it’s never been a situation of, you know, “No whites allowed,” you know? We’ve had–we’ve had white contributors to our publication. We have a lot of white readers. We have readers all over the world, and most of those aren’t, you know, nations of color. And so I would say if they want–if they asked the question or they posed the question or the statement “If we had a White Texas Magazine, that’d be racist,” I would tell them, “Well, let’s go read Texas Highways. Let’s go read Texas Monthly. Let’s go read Texas Lifestyle.” The list could go on. Most publications are catering to a white audience. Like, they may not be as blatant as to say it, but it’s one of those–I would say it’s one of those underlying things of once you see the subject matter you–there are ways of siphoning out certain groups by the content.
Zach: Right. And, you know, it’s funny because I think it’s easy to forget that white is the default, right? Like, it’s–like, you don’t have to call something for it to be–the majority of the country is white, so most of the content out there in any type of media is largely going to be white, right? So you don’t have to call–I don’t have to call something white, something anything, but you do call things–you know, if there is other underrepresented groups, black, XYZ, or Asian-this or Latin-X or Hispanic-this because we’re trying to highlight the fact that this is not the default, right? It’s not what you immediately consider when you think about whatever audience or population that you’re gonna be engaging. Okay, so let me ask you this. You know, you guys landed J Prince recently, [inaudible] J Prince, but how did that happen for you guys? Like, how did it work, and what was that experience like?
Nick: For me, honestly, it was an amazing experience. I lucked into it because I got–I got an email from the city of Austin about an event that they were co-hosting. It was just an evening with J Prince where he was just hearing Austin talking about his life, and I went, and I was like–I didn’t know what to expect, and I was just like, “Man, I just want to see this guy in person, see, you know, really what he’s about and just kind of, you know, measure him up instead of just looking through a screen,” and it was a cool event. The event went off really well, and at the end there was a line to, like, you know, take a picture with him and stuff, and I was like, “Okay, cool.” You know, “I don’t mind getting a picture with J Prince. That’d be kinda cool,” and so I get in line, and as always they’re trying to sell the book or sell merchandise and stuff like that, and just out of, you know, the spur of the moment I’m like, “I’ll buy the book,” and so I get the book, and when it’s my turn he autographs the book and everything, and I ask him a question, and the question I asked him is, you know, “Hey–” Like, he talks about–he talked a lot about, you know, replacing IGs with OGs in terms of, you know, getting off of social media and really linking up with people that have done what we do before us and really gaining some knowledge from them, especially, like, in different entertainment avenues. A lot of the OGs that we came up with came up through nefarious ways, you know? They sold drugs, they robbed people. They committed crimes to get the assets that they needed, and so I asked him, you know, “How can we look up to these OGs and get advice from them when we’re at a age where we don’t want to take those penitentiary chances to make it into the industry?” And I think it kind of–it kind of put him on the spot, and he stopped and he said, “You know what? Talk to me after the show.”
Zach: You asked him–you asked him that in front of a bunch of people?
Nick: No, it was–like, it was a one-on-one thing. I asked him, like, face-to-face, maybe two feet away from him.
Zach: Oh, my gosh. Well, shout out to you for asking J Prince such a very pointed question to his face.
Nick: You can’t get the answers you don’t ask for.
Zach: [laughs] That’s a good point.
Nick: You know? ‘Cause I would love to be in different indust–like, involved in different industries, but I don’t wanna have to go sell coke to get the money for it.
Zach: Straight up, yeah.
Nick: But at the same time, trying to save money from a regular 9-to-5 is a very slow process.
Zach: And this is the thing I think people forget, like, man, the blessing of an–you cannot, you cannot undervalue initial capital, man. Like–so you know, like, even when you talk about Jay-Z’s album, the last album he dropped right, and he was talking about how I flipped this, and it’s like, “Well, Jay-Z, man, you started off with, like, 400 racks. You had $400,000 from the coke game, so you say.” So it’s like, “Okay, yeah.” If you–if you gave a very ambitious, you know, entrepreneurial person of color $400,000, man, that’s gonna–yeah, they could flip that into something too. I’m not saying–they might not flip it into a billion, but they can flip it into something because they have the initial capital. So to your point, like, how–that just was such a good question because, like, okay, I’ma talk–if I talked to Jay-Z for an hour, people would say, “I’d love to talk to Jay-Z for an hour ’cause then I would learn how to be a billionaire.” It’s like, “Well, Jay-Z’s gonna be like, “Well, I had initial capital of $400,000 because I sold drugs, and it was tax free. So I basically started with a 400–” Like, most black people don’t have seed money, hundred thousand dollar seed money. They have a little bit of change here and there that they scrounge up, like you said. Like, that they hold over from their full-time job after paying off this and paying off that and whatever debt they have, and they have, you know, a little bit of change, not enough money to build an empire. You know what I’m saying?
Nick: Absolutely, and that was–and after listening to Jay-Z’s album, that was one of the things that I kind of left with. I was like, you know, “He talks a lot about, you know, these amazing ways to do better,” and it’s one of those things of “If you knew better, you’d do better.” And that’s cool. Like, I would love to buy a piece of art that’s worth, you know, 1 million, hold it until it’s worth 2 million, sell it when it’s worth 10 million. That’s cool. I would love to be able to give that to my children, but I gotta get that first million.
Zach: Right. [laughs]
Nick: It’s easy–it’s easy to compound wealth once you have it, and a lot of rappers talk about that part, but they don’t really tell us how we can get the money, how we can get started without selling drugs, without robbing people. That’s–like, that’s the link they never give us, and I think that unfortunately that’s because a lot of them don’t have the answer for that, aside from “Sell drugs. Rob people.” And that’s an unfortunate truth. Like, I get it, that’s the environment they came up in, but if we’re trying to do better now we need new lessons.
Zach: Right, right. So let me ask–let me ask you this. What advice would you have for black and brown folks trying to get, you know, multi-effort ventures off of the ground? So you have a full-time job. You’ve launched a magazine. It takes multiple hands, driving it and grinding it. It clearly–like you said earlier, it’s stress. It’s late nights. What are you–what advice would you have for folks who look like us trying to do similar things?
Nick: The strongest advice I would give is work together. In college I ran a midterm program, and one of the things I taught was the idea of collective development. You know, especially if you’re starting off with little to no capital. You’re–like, you’re working at a point where you’re not getting paid. You need to find a team of people who are willing to work with you to build something up that benefits everybody, you know? Like, Black Texas isn’t just me. It’s not the Nick Bailey show, you know? My byline comes up very little. For me, I look at it as a plat–as I’m creating a platform to advance the careers of other people, you know? Because as we gain our audience and as we, you know, get that brand retention, that brand recognition, people start coming to the website looking for other people. They’re not looking for me, you know? They’re looking to see, “Oh, let’s see what’s up with these movie reviews. Let’s see what’s up with these fashion tips. Let’s see what’s up with these house-keeping tips.” You know, “What events are coming up?” I want–I want people looking for the thoughts and ideas of other people, and for me in my particular situation I can say, “Hey, I can’t pay you to write right now, but what I can give you is an opportunity to grow your name,” because not everybody has the money to start up a website, you know? Even the cheapest websites that aren’t free aren’t cheap. Once you get past the, you know, this is BrandXYZ.WordPress.com and you get to just Brand.com, it becomes a different–a different financial burden, and not everybody–not everybody is willing to take that risk, and I’ve gotten to a point where I took that risk to–ideally to make it easier for other people. So I would say, you know, one, be willing to work together. Understand the vision. Don’t just work for anybody, but understand the vision. Understand what it means for you personally and how it’s going to benefit you personally, and then you give it your all, you know? Like, that’s the truest thing that I can tell anyone, and also set ego aside, you know? Not everybody’s going to be #1, and not everybody needs to be #1. You can easily do amazing as a strong #2, and what I mean by that is not everybody has to be a CEO. Not everybody has to be the founder, the president. You know? Like, I don’t introduce myself as the founder or CEO of Black Texas because that’s not important to me, you know? I want this to be something much bigger than myself. I’m the editor-in-chief, which is just to say I’m the guy steering the ship right now, you know? Like, I don’t look at the–I don’t look at the Dallas Cowboys and think of who the owner is, I look at the Cowboys and think of who are their star players, you know? Who are the people who made the team breathe? And that’s how I look at–that’s how I look at Black Texas and really any business, you know? We know–we know who Mark Zuckerberg is. That’s cool. He made it that way. He’s not the one looking at all this Russia info. He’s not the one making sure that you wind up in Facebook jail for some post, [laughs] and those people may not have the fame, but they’re getting us all a paycheck.
Zach: Right. Right, right. Man, this has been dope, man. Do you have any shout outs for us?
Nick: I did not think of shout outs. Let’s see. If there are people I’d shout out, honestly I would just give shout outs to my team. It’s been–like, we launched this year mid-January, and it’s been a wild ride along the way. I’ve taken risks. I’ve asked them to follow me, and they have, and we really–we really made a lot of strides this year, and I’m proud to see the work they’re putting in and what we’re able to accomplish when we work together, you know? This is the first time that I’ve really steered a team like this, and to see them, you know, putting up the hard work is honestly amazing. I would want to give a shout out to my family, you know? Like, I love my daughters, but most importantly, like, my parents. They have been a well of support for me. They’ve encouraged me to, you know, chase my dreams. They’ve helped me when I–like, when I wasn’t sure about myself, and, you know, my grandma’s been my day one, and she’s helped me in life as well, but I don’t know. I would say–if I had to give a specific shout out it would be to my father, and that’s because he gave me the capital to get this magazine started, you know? ‘Cause, like, every year he’ll give–like, he’ll give a gift for Christmas, which really isn’t a gift to me, it’s more of a “Hey, here’s some money from me. Get gifts for the girls,” because he doesn’t really–he doesn’t really celebrate Christmas. Different religion. That’s not really his thing, and so I get it, but this last year he gave me a little more than usual, and he said, you know, “Take this and do what, you know, you feel you need to do with it,” and I was just at a loss, and I thought and I thought about it. I strategized, and I prayed over it, and I said, “You know, I have to be willing to take that jump,” you know? It called me back to a quote from Steve Harvey talking about getting to success, and he said, you know, “You have to be willing to jump. You can’t be successful on the ledge,” and so I went for it. And so, you know, I’ve got to give it my all because I can’t–I can’t let folks down. That’s not my thing.
Zach: Awesome, man. Well, look, that does it for us, guys. Thank you for joining us on the Living Corporate podcast. Make sure you follow us on Instagram at LivingCorporate, Twitter at LivingCorp_Pod, and subscribe to our newsletter through living-corporate.com. If you have a question you’d like for us to answer on the show, make sure you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have been listening to Nick Bailey, editor-in-chief of Black Texas Magazine. Peace.
Kiara: Living Corporate is a podcast by Living Corporate, LLC. Our logo was designed by David Dawkins. Our theme music was produced by Ken Brown. Additional music production by Antoine Franklin from Musical Elevation. Post-production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion? Email us at email@example.com. You can find us online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and living-corporate.com. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.