WTF is a PEWM?
Now I think it's pretty clear what we all about here at PEWM-- if not you betta go and re-read that home page. But how did we actually come to be?
Proud of Everything We Make. It actually didn't start out as an acronym. It's more of a sound effect, an onomatopoeia, if you will (I just wanted to see if I could spell that.... I couldn't). You know, when you're trying to make the sound a rocket makes when it takes off or like shooting them video game guns-- its like PEEewwwmmm. Okay before I lose you, I started to use that word expressly with a particular friend (who is featured in The Straight Shot), because they make shit move and I wanted to celebrate their dreams taking off-- but it's not everyday a heartfelt speech when your homies are phenoms. Nonetheless, the acknowledgement had to be made every time, without fail, and it started to catch on between us with some regularity, since I'm a phenom too. So that's one piece of how this came together. Last summer, though, is when I realised I wanted to make a magazine in the first place.
As an artist, I am primarily a musician, but this is rooted in my love of story-telling, manipulating language, and collaboration. I've always been interested in exploring art through different media, so during quarantine I wanted to expand my perspective, and decided on creating a magazine. I wanted to push myself to exercise some newfound graphic design skills while bringin' together the work of friends I've met at USC, and from back home in NYC, to create something new. But revolution came calling, and I felt like it made no sense to revel in the art world while the material world around me, and the Black community in particular, was in shambles. I took on a lot of work on the ground, but at a certain point, pleading for your humanity gets exhausting, so I decided to turn back into what would nurture my spirit and my community.
I pivoted the beginnings of my magazine to center the varying experiences of Black folks around me. This way, I could serve my community without losing myself-- and I could actually have control over the outcome. And in a way, it wasn't't really a pivot, as I was still drawing from the work of inspiring peers, but I wanted to be straightforward about the political nature of the magazine in the context of our social climate. So I started to consume and curate art commenting on the times from my environment, and brought it all together for others to contemplate in a singular space. And because of the activism I was doing on USC's campus, strangers and old friends alike who saw what I was getting into offered advice or to lend their skills for my project. That is how I started to find the amazing women who work with me today.
I wanted to come up with a name that was as original as what we were setting out to do. After many flops, I was thinking, what embodies the energy we want to bring and inspire with this magazine? PEEWWWMMM! It came to me. But I knew that would need a lot of explaining, so I thought-- what if it could stand for something, and the words came almost immediately. Proud of Everything We Make. I think it's because what that had meant to me by then was already aligned with what I wanted for each and every person involved in this publication. So, like almost every other space in my life, we stand out. And I know no one's doing it like us--
cause if they were, we wouldn't need to exist.