Black Owned: Davina Ajana, founder of Sadé Magazine


Davina created her own magazine after realising that there was no representative titles for her daughter (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Welcome to Black Owned, a series that celebrates the brilliant Black entrepreneurs doing bits in the UK.

Despite the challenges, the community continues to create important and excellent work – and we’re here to make sure that you know about it.

This week we’ve got Davina Ajana, founder of Sadé Magazine – probably the only UK publication specifically featuring and written for Black girls.

While the media is slowly diversifying for women in the UK (with publications such as Gal-Dem and Black Ballad doing a load of important work), Black girls are still wildly unrepresented in print.

When and why did you begin Sadé?

The idea first came to us February 2020. We started to build our Instagram account by posting positive affirmations and inspiring Black role models, such as Shirley Jo Thompson, Toni Morrison, and Simone Bailes, just to name a few.

Sadé (my daughter) really enjoyed researching and writing short pieces of copy for the posts, so we both decided to develop this further and create a published magazine that celebrated more than inspiring Black role models.

We noticed that there was not a children’s magazine that highlighted the importance of Black history, arts, Black writers and Illustrators, so we wanted our magazine to be educational and also fun.  

What’s the aim of the publication?

Our mission is to build a community for young Black girls like our daughter Sadé who will be leading the way for the future. We want to support parents, guardians and teachers with information that has not been mentioned or shown as often as we like. This includes showcasing different professional creatives within a variety of sectors. Our magazine is for everyone but it’s specifically designed to inspire and empower Black girls aged 7+.

As Sadé is an avid reader, we thought it would be a good idea to include within our magazine book reviews, Q&As and short stories. In our first issue, we have interviewed award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola and writer and actor Nathan Byron on their newly released book ‘Clean Up!’.

Davina started the magazine with her daughter, who it’s named after (Picture: Davina Ajana)

Is the British media landscape diverse enough?

There’s definitely room for more BAME journalists to be included in the mainstream media outlets but I think that we will definitely be seeing an increase in the near future. With all that’s been happening recently, it’s very important for publications like ours to educate others on Black history and culture.

Growing up as a young Black girl, I didn’t have access to this type of information. Sadé is being inspired by the work we’re doing together and I definitely know that others will be too.

What does Sadé think of the current discussions around race and identity?

Starting this magazine together has been really great for Sadé. As well as having to research current affairs and historical events, it’s definitely opened up discussions and debates around race and equality and how Black people are viewed and have been treated through the years. Sadé has numerous icons, including British scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, American NASA astronaut Dr Mae C.Jemison and myself. 

Is the magazine open to submissions? If so, how can one contribute?

We absolutely encourage young artists to submit their work. It’s a great way to promote creativity and confidence at a young age. You’ll find information about current or future submission opportunities on our website.

The magazine is all about inspiring young Black girls to be well informed, creative and proud of their identity (Picture: Sade Magazine)

How difficult has it been to set up the magazine?

I have previous experience working with print publications so producing an independent magazine has been fun. Since the launch of the first issue (September 2020), we’ve had a phenomenal response. Our magazine is full of original content and beautiful creative, mainly focusing on fun and educational topics. It’s been embraced by parents, guardians, schools and charities. It’s been refreshing to know that this content is needed. 

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before getting started?

Only that I wish I had started this idea during my university days – but I’m glad that I’m doing this with my daughter now! We’re really looking forward to seeing what Sadé Magazine will become in the near future.  

What advice do you have for other women looking to start their own businesses?

The main advice would be to have a strong business plan and research your chosen business idea. Once you have those two things, everything will start falling into place. 

Check out Sadé Magazine here!

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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