Vibe (magazine)

Vibe is a magazine, launched 1993 by founder Quincy Jones and funded by Time Inc. The publication predominantly features R&B and hip-hop music artists, actors and other entertainers. Issued monthly, the magazine's target audience is predominantly young, urban followers of hip-hop culture. Though hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons was rumored to be an initial partner, publisher Len Burnett revealed in a March 2007 interview that Simmons clashed with editor-in-chief Jonathan Van Meter.

The magazine owes its success to having a broader range of interests than its closest competitors The Source and XXL which focus more narrowly on rap music or the rock & pop-centric Rolling Stone and Spin. It also differs from the more staid Essence, Ebony or Jet publications by attracting younger readers of many ethnicities. As of 2007, Vibe has a circulation of approximately 800,000. Advertisers run the gamut from record labels to Dolce & Gabbana to Cognac brands, thus enhancing the magazine's status as a trendsetter.


R&B singer Mary J. Blige has repeatedly made the cover of Vibe, with countless articles following her career. Trio TLC were infamously photographed for the cover in firefighters' gear, referencing the fact the member Lisa Lopes, aka Left Eye, burned down the house of then-boyfriend and NFL star Andre Rison. The first non-photograph cover of Vibe was an illustration of singer Aaliyah by well known artist/illustrator Alvaro. Other famous cover subjects are Brandy, Snoop Dogg, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Keyshia Cole, Lil Wayne, The Fugees, Eminem, T.I., R. Kelly, Michael Jackson, whom Quincy Jones' daughter had dressed in hip-hop clothes for the first and only time in entertainer's career, and Ciara who has repeatedly covered the magazine, although her October 2008 issue controversially airbrushed her clothes off.


Recurring segments include the back page list 20 Questions, the Boomshots column about reggae and Caribbean music by Rob Kenner, Revolutions music reviews and Vibe Confidential, a celebrity gossip column. Next profiles up-and-coming artists. The magazine also devotes several pages to photo spreads displaying high-end designer clothing as well as sportswear by urban labels such as Rocawear and Fubu.

Vibe has made a consistent effort to feature models of all ethnicities in these pages. Former editor Emil Wilbikin was frequently credited with styling those pages and keeping fashion in the forefront of the magazine's identity during the early 2000s. Many clothing brands created or linked to hip-hop celebrities, such as Sean Combs' Sean John, Nelly's Apple Bottoms and G-Unit by 50 Cent found plenty of exposure in Vibe's pages.

In the September 2003 issue commemorating 10 years of publication, the magazine created different covers using black and white portraits of its most popular cover subjects. It also contained "The Vibe 100: the juiciest people, places and things of the year"

As of 2007, the editor-in-chief is Danyel Smith, who held the same position from 1996 through 1999. Her predecessor was Mimi Valdes, with the aforementioned Emil Wilbikin serving prior to Valdes. Many successful writers and editors have contributed to the publication, including Alan Light, Jeff Chang, Dream Hampton, Cheo Hodari Coker, Erica Kennedy, Miles Marshall Lewis and Serena Kim.

Expanding the brand

In addition to the magazine, Vibe also publishes books on hip-hop culture. To celebrate the magazine's tenth anniversary, it published "VX: Ten Years of Vibe Photography". Featuring a bare-chested 50 Cent on the cover, the book includes photos of Alicia Keys, RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, Eve, Chuck D of Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C. Works by prominent photographers Albert Watson, Ellen von Unwerth, David LaChapelle, Sante D'Orazio are among the 150 photographs in the hardcover edition.

Other books under the Vibe banner cover the history of hip-hop, the women of hip-hop and rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. Additionally, the magazine published a spin-off publication, Vibe Vixen from 2004 to 2007. Aimed at Vibe's female multicultural audience, Vibe Vixen had features on beauty, fashion, styles and female entertainers. Ciara made the magazine's history as the first ever Vibe Vixen.

Also a short-lived syndicated late night talk show of the same name, it premiered in August 1997 and was produced by Quincy Jones, hosted by Chris Spencer, and featured President Bill Clinton on its first episode. Like The Arsenio Hall Show of the early 1990s, it attracted young, urban audiences. Spencer was fired in October of that year, and replaced by comedian Sinbad, along with Big Boy as the in-house announcer. The show would only last until the summer of 1998, when it was cancelled. The show taped from CBS Television City in Los Angeles.

Other platforms are listed as VIBE Online, the magazine's online presence; VIBE On Demand, an on-demand network; VIBE film; MVibe, a wireless content provider for handheld devices as well as CD and DVD lines distributed under the same name.

Vibe Awards

Since 2003 the magazine has put on its annual award show, held on UPN. The award show in most infamous for the 2004 incident where two rappers were caught up in a scuffle and a stabbing occurred. In 2007, the choice for the next Vibe Awards were to be held, The CW was not chosen to carry in the Vibe Awards tradition. Instead VH1 Soul was chosen to hold the awards ceremony exclusively on Nov. 14, 2007 and rebroadcast on VH1 on Nov. 19, 2007.

External links

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