Women’s History Month is an international observance highlighting the contributions of women in history and modern society. It gives us an opportunity to recognize and showcase their work individually and collectively.
This month, Empowered Flower Girl honors Andréa Butler and Sesi magazine – the only print magazine for Black teen girls in the United States. Sesi means “sister” in Sotho, a Bantu language mainly spoken in southern Africa.
History in the Making
One day, while flipping through the pages of several teen magazines, 17-year-old Andréa noticed a lack of representation of youth of color, especially Black girls. Later that night, Andréa vowed that if nothing changed by the time she was done with school, she would start one herself.
And she did.
After receiving her undergraduate degree, Andréa went on to pursue a master’s degree in journalism. She taught high school English and even worked as an editor for LivingSocial – an online marketplace now owned by Groupon.
That path led her to launch Sesi magazine in 2009 with a high school friend.
Sesi’s mission is to “give a voice to Black teen girls in a media space in which they are virtually invisible.” The publication is committed to covering what’s most important to Black teen girls, including current events and social justice issues, as well as beauty, fashion, entertainment and more.
“Life for Black teen girls has gotten even more complex, as they have to navigate not only the typical racism and gender issues but also increased gun violence in various spaces, blatant attacks by state governments on the teaching of Black history and literature, increased instances of suicide and cyberbullying and more,” Andréa said.
“Through Sesi, we help our readers process these issues by discussing what’s going on, as well as giving them a place to express themselves through short stories and poetry. We also like to give our readers a place to feel joy through other articles that focus on beauty, fashion and entertainment — the fullness of a Black girl’s life.”
Twenty-first century girls and young women are facing challenges that generations before them may have never imagined and need support from the adults in their lives.
Andréa said one of the most important ways to support Black girls is to listen to them. “They’ll tell you what they need,” she added.
New Voices Sought
Sesi accepts submissions from teens as well as professional journalists and student journalists. The publication publishes content covering everything from beauty, fashion and health to social issues, entertainment and relationships.
“We’re also looking to add more college-related content to the mag,” Andréa said.
View the writer’s guidelines at www.sesimag.com/writersguidelines.
Connect with Sesi Magazine: