Letter From The Editor: FlyPaper is The New Frontline of Columbus | Feb 19 2016

(Originally Published on the FlyPaper Magazine website. February 19, 2016)

Dear Family.

FlyPaper Magazine is on some new ISH and I’m responsible. FlyPaper was created in 2007 and served Black Columbus dutifully for many years before falling dormant. In August of 2015 I was named Editor of FlyPaper Magazine. My team and I have spent months strategically planning how we can revive the publication, and as we approach the launch of the inaugural issue of the new magazine, I felt it was time for me to formally introduce myself.

I am Malcolm White and this is the story of how I came to love my hometown.

I’m From the City.

I was born at Grant Hospital in the early 90s. My mom brought me home to Bexley Woods before the gentrified renovations and we later relocated to a house on the corner of Geers and Whittier. My granny, two of my aunts and uncles, and grandma all lived in houses on the corner of Livingston and Parsons, on Wager St., and that’s where I have most of my childhood memories. The block is unrecognizable to me now. Imminent domain, old age and family deaths saw the properties sold to Children’s Hospital and the whole area’s been generally gentrified. From there I migrated across the City from neighborhoods like Northland to Brentnell, to the suburbs of Worthington and Pickerington where I later finished my senior year of high school at Centennial HS .

I am a graduate of Capital University and now only live a few blocks from my family’s first home.

Columbus is the Greater Than Club

I remember the Gusmacker, when City Center was actually the center of the city, and when Easton was more than a movie theatre and had an indoor amusement park. In Columbus you say ‘pop’. You respond ‘I-O’ when a stranger yells out ‘O-H’. Everyone is your ‘bro’ and when your’e down you’re ‘salty’ about the situation. There is in fact a culture here. It’s not something that you can teach someone, and without guidance, a naked eye may miss it. So in lies the problem.

Customs evolve from history and tradition in the city- there’s a real void of record. It wasn’t until adulthood that I truly began to understand Columbus, even though I was raised by it. In the months since being named Editor of FlyPaper, I have been conducting interviews with people across generations here in the city, asking questions about our collective history. I’ve learned that Columbus was a hot bed for hip hop culture in the 90’s and that the era produced some world-renown musical talents, artists whom I never heard of. I’ve discovered that there were parts of towns that thrived on the merits of black entrepreneurs-those same areas that were systematically targeted, politically, and disenfranchised. There are athletes, legendary locals, who’s feats I’d never known about if not for word of mouth. Beyond scattered Dispatch clippings and scarce YouTube videos, there certainly isn’t media waiting to be discovered in a known archive.

TGTC was released my freshman year of college and Fly Union was thrust onto the national stage. Local heroes they were, but many in MY generation don’t even know Fly Union used to have another prominent member years ago. Projecting, future generations might not remember that a Columbus group had one of the dopest releases in music in a year that saw Drake drop a classic and Kanye and Jay Z team up for a super-collaboration. They wouldn’t know that the best basketball player in the world not only listened to their album, but also tweeted it out to his millions of fans and placed it on one of the best selling video games of that year. How could they possibly know if it’s not written down anywhere?

It goes deeper than music. Until I graduated from high school, I was unaware of just how prominent the LOCAL poetry movement was across the ENTIRE country. I didn’t know that Columbus was one of the best places to raise kids as a black family. I didn’t know that my city’s government had programs that actively worked to give minorities access to home ownership and entrepreneurship. Even landmarks around the city; as a kid from the inner-city, I never stepped into one of the city’s many acclaimed museums until I was an adult.

Love Yourz

So many of the things that I felt like other cities bragged about, were missing from Columbus. Then, the things touted on tourism collateral, felt foreign and out of reach for me. The statehouse was a place that i drove by regularly and sometimes took tours of as a student in elementary school, but never was somewhere that I imagined me or anybody like me working in. Those attractions in the city, just felt like they were for everybody else. Out of ignorance I thought things like hometown pride belonged only to natives of cities like Chicago, New York, Cleveland, and Atlanta.

All of my discoveries have instilled a sense of tremendous dignity; it was the type of sensation that stems from self-actualization. It is an empowering feeling to know that I am the son of a city that has spawned so many talented individuals and that was the riff. As I came across and learned more about all of this history that I didn’t know, that I didn’t know.

FlyPaper is for Columbus. And The Mid-West.

It’s all about history. FlyPaper was founded nearly 7 years ago and in its last era it was a real force in the city. I have the weight on my shoulder to make sure that we don’t just get back to that level, but to also surpass it. Under my direction, FlyPaper Magazine is going to do everything in our power to capture the energy of the city so that it’s never forgotten. Our listen tab is exclusively reserved for musicians with ties to the Central Ohio area. When you want to know what the sound of Columbus is, FlyPaper has the answers. My associate editor Jenna Tay, is putting together an events calendar that will make up the best source for what to do in Black Columbus. FlyPaper Videographers are canvassing the city creating videos and conducting interviews that tell so many of the undocumented stories that Columbus have to this point, gone untold. The FlyPaper Instagram gives weekly spotlight to the Columbus fashion scene in a way that has never been done before. We put together regular events that give you a chance to experience parts of Columbus that are outside of the bars and clubs and give away a wide variety of things with our contests. Everything that we are doing is local, original and fresh, but most importantly for the city.

Come Fly With Us. Thank You For Your Support

The FlyPaper mantra is “Come Fly With Us” and with that, we are inviting everybody from the capital, that has love for Columbus, to join the movement and contribute to the positive energy that we are harvesting. The philosopher Jermaine Cole spoke recently on the importance of loving your own. At FlyPaper, we don’t wish that we were in Atlanta or Los Angeles or New York, because we know that there are treasures here.The first edition of FlyPaper will go live February 29th. We are asking everybody that supports what we stand for to join our Thunder Clap campaign promoting it. It costs you nothing but a social media endorsement and will help us to reach more people. Follow our twitter and instagram pages. Like us on Facebook.

By participating actively in the FlyPaper community, you are endorsing the notion that Columbus is good enough. As a thank you for joining our efforts, we are giving away two free movie-passes and a pair of FlyPaper exclusive Nikes.


I was raised in Columbus and now, through FlyPaper, I am trying to raise the regard by which Columbus is considered. I thank you for joining me and the rest of the FlyPaper team. You’ll be hearing from us soon.

Malcolm White

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