Meet Lindsey Day, Woman & Mind Behind CRWN Magazine
DateJuly 31, 2017
It was just two years ago when Lindsey Day, along with her close friend and co-founder Nkrumah Farrar, launched CRWN Magazine, a print publication that speaks to natural hair and the diverse women who rock it. With a solid career history in marketing and business, Day had all of the skills to communicate her strong vision to the world; one that connects others on a deeper level. That knowledge worked hand-in-hand with Day’s passion for building a progressive dialogue (as described on CRWNmag.com) for Black women. CRWN was created as a platform that not only speaks to natural hair but to Black women as a whole -–from heart-to-heart commentary, literary recommendations and artist features, to traveling the world solo and showcasing the undeniable importance (and power) of sisterhood.
CRWN is the in-depth conversations that you have with your girl friends about sex, relationships, procreation, healthy minds, and yes, of course, unrelaxed hair. CRWN powerfully reminds its reader, “You are changing the world just by being yourself.” Day has certainly begun to change the world with a magazine that was well overdue and — as shown by the impact it has made since 2015 — has been welcomed with open arms.
CRWN is certainly a pioneer! Between artistic design, photography, showcasing artists, and storytelling, you’ve elevated the way we look at hair magazines — most importantly natural hair (and natural lifestyle) magazines. Tell us about the initial concept for CRWN, and the journey up until now…
Thank you so much! Hearing it put that way is so encouraging because it’s a sign that our initial vision has manifested — at least in part (we have very big goals!). Nkrumah and I started CRWN from a shared sense of longing to create something better, more diverse, and more representative of our people, so we take design and artistry very seriously. We look at the creation of CRWN as a way to serve our people by filling a void in the media landscape while also creating a new type of platform for commerce and wealth-building.
Mainstream media often picks apart and samples Black American culture without investing the time and care to do so authentically; and without having a vested interest (financial or otherwise) in the community itself. In ad campaigns, Black women are so often portrayed as either “strong,” or overtly sexual, allowing no nuance; no true regard for the human being beneath the skin, hair, and image of strength. We are human beings, each with a unique story that is in no way linear or monolithic.
That’s the spirit with which CRWN was created, and it’s so encouraging to see women’s eyes light up when they see the cover; and their excitement as they flip through and see familiar faces or make new discoveries in the content. Our goal is to be the most beautiful and honest representation of Black women in the history of print. The journey has been a huge challenge — the devil is in the details — but worth every single minute.
“When you love yourself, those around you tend to mirror that love. You see yourself in others, and thus, treat others with respect and dignity.”
You launched BLOSSM Consulting Group and CRWN in Summer 2015. Before then, you spent many years in the marketing and business world. Obviously, nothing compares to the freedom of running your own ship, but what do you miss from the early days of your career?
I honestly can’t say I miss anything! Early in my career, I was very focused on putting myself into positions to learn. This didn’t always mean I was in a fun or glamorous job, and as a competitive overachiever, it was definitely tough to remain confident when I didn’t feel like I was living up to my full potential. I would never trade those years though, because I learned so much by placing myself in unfamiliar positions and finding my way.
I’m still learning every single day, but now it’s within the framework of even clearer values and goals; and a vision that’s much greater than myself. I’m so thankful for the ups and downs of my early career, but I would never go back. I love being right here, right now.
What has your own personal natural hair journey been like, and what are your hair care secrets?
The beauty of CRWN for me — a natural introvert — is that it’s less about my natural hair journey and more about our natural hair journey. Historical context is so important in any discussion about Black people today. Natural hair, afros, locs, etc. are not new styles by any means, but growing up I rarely saw these styles beautifully represented in magazines. The standard typically included weaves and relaxed styles, and our hair products were located in the “ethnic” section of the hair care aisle.
Today, “natural hair” tips that were once exchanged in our homes with our moms and aunties is available via a quick Google search. Women across the world have been discovering (or re-discovering) their natural hair textures and sharing their journeys with each other via YouTube for almost a decade, like our first cover girl, Whitney White. Simultaneously, we’re experiencing a shift toward health and wellness, led by women like Lauren Ash and Deun Ivory (of Black Girl In Om and Lifestyle with Ivory + Ash), who grace the cover of our forthcoming Love Issue. We are in the midst of a phenomenon, and it’s one of increased consciousness and ownership.
As a reader, you begin to see how the stories all work together to send the message that strong, healthy, beautiful hair really begins from inner strength and happiness. What do you do to keep a healthy mind and lifestyle?
I believe that knowledge of self and self-love (two of CRWN’s brand pillars) are truly the building blocks of community. When you love yourself, those around you tend to mirror that love. You see yourself in others, and thus, treat others with respect and dignity. When self-hate exists, our actions steer toward conflict and pettiness.
For me, traveling and discovering more about my heritage on both sides of my family have given me additional context for who I am and what I can offer this world. Self-knowledge is a journey that never ceases. Daily prayer and solitude, plus with time with my community are always my fuel. And yoga!
You’ve described CRWN as a lifestyle brand. Do you see it expanding into different elements? (Clothing, hair products, health?)
We have a lot of plans for CRWN, which definitely include additional merch/products and expansion as a media platform as a whole. Every decision we make is guided by our brand pillars: Sisterhood, Authenticity, Knowledge of Self, Self-Love, and Ownership. When evaluating opportunities, our first consideration is what’s best for our reader.
In CRWN Issue No.1, you wrote a beautiful piece that speaks to the sisters you never had. At a time when women are coming together more than ever, what do you think we could do more of to strengthen one another and what do you think we’re doing a great job at?
Thank you so much! I really enjoyed writing that piece, as I could not be here without the community of women who believed in our vision and helped us bring it to life in various ways.
I think it’s great that consciousness is being raised around women’s issues, and that social media and digital tools have made us more interconnected and powerful than ever before. It’s great that we’re choosing to partner and exercise that power in unique, impactful ways.
But to be frank, “white feminism” is a huge problem that’s standing in the way of our progress as women. We cannot have a true conversation about equality — whether that’s equal pay, or any other right — without addressing how women with more access and privilege can advocate on behalf of women with less access to those same resources.
It’s not enough to have one fair-skinned “person of color” and three blondes on a women’s panel and call it diverse. It’s not enough to go to one march, post on the ‘Gram and feel like you’re now a “feminist.” It’s not okay to underpay or refuse to promote the one Black woman in the office, while accessing her cultural intelligence whenever there’s a “multicultural” project. The list goes on, particularly as it relates to being a Black female business owner.
Sometimes, even when we think we have all the answers, the best thing we can do is stop talking and listen to new perspectives — particularly to those of the oppressed. We shouldn’t feel like we lose when another woman gains. The day that Black women are treated with fairness and dignity, I believe everyone will be better off.
CRWN has such a dope range of featured contributors and artists. Who would you love to see join a future issue?
There are so many people I’d love to work with! Part of the magic of this work is seeing such greatness out of everyday people, many of whom probably wouldn’t normally have had their thoughts or visions published in a mainstream magazine. I’m humbled to work with such brilliant minds and I know there’s so much more greatness in store for everyone. In terms of celebs, Solange, Auntie Michelle (Obama) and Ms. Badu are all at the top of my list!
What is something you’ve wanted to let off of your chest but haven’t had the opportunity to yet?
I’ve had the new Kendrick album on repeat since it dropped. It might be a problem.
Can you share a few of your favorite feedback stories from fans of CRWN?
My all time favorite stories come from the first day we shared CRWN Magazine with the world in the form of a small, folded zine. We went out to a music festival and had one-on-one conversations with over 500 women, exchanging our “Zero Issue” for Instagram follows and emails. I will never forget the look in women’s eyes as they saw the cover, then unfolded the zine and took it all in. I knew then that we had something that people needed to see. It was then that I realized this was so much bigger than myself, my insecurities, and my hair story.
You’re a Sacramento native but currently reside in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Both such different environments, but how do they each influence you?
I’m a Northern Cali girl through and through, but I left Sacramento at 17 to go to USC in LA — so it’s actually a bit funny going home these days. At this point, I’ve been gone almost as long as I’ve lived there, so it’s interesting to see how much has changed, yet how much has stayed exactly the same.
LA was where I met the college friends who are now my (Trojan) family. I built my first professional network there and I became an adult there. But, New York was always a dream of mine, since I was a teenager, so being here is definitely the manifestation of a long-time vision. I’ve always loved the pace and the hustle, the culture and the melting pot that NYC is. Being here has allowed me to take my work to another level, and to connect with like-minded people who share in my wins — and vice versa. Brooklyn gives me major Cali vibes (lots of transplants here), and the diversity of living in Crown Heights is so beautiful to me. Although it’s changing rapidly, there’s a strong sense of community and culture that I hope is preserved.
What books are you reading at the moment?
CRWN! Haha, I’m constantly reading, writing, editing, pitching, etc… so I haven’t been reading “for fun” as much lately. Luckily, CRWN’s contributors are amazing authors as well, so I just started Tiffany Dufu’s Drop the Ball which I’m loving.
If you could be remembered for anything, what would it be?
Helping my people — starting with women and girls — to see themselves and access their innate power.
If you designed a tee with a motto on it, what would it say?
F-U Pay Me.
What are 3 hidden gems in NYC that you absolutely love?
Marche Rue Dix, Mayfield, and The Chocolate Room. Mostly food, obviously…
Who is your main MISSBISH?
I could never pick just one! I’m inspired every day by all of the women in my life; their unique stories, battles, and wins. They all fortify me and energize me in ways that I can’t even verbalize.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is owning your story and going left when everyone says going right is the “safe” route. It’s recognizing and honoring the collective power of womanhood.
Photographer: Yumi Yamsuan