Memphis political, community leaders call for action after controversial magazine cover

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Just days after Memphis Magazine pulled its September issue due to a controversial cover, a group of social and political leaders is calling for further change.

The group hosted a press conference Tuesday at Civic Plaza in front of Memphis City Hall, and they’re looking for more results after the magazine’s apology.

They’re looking for genuine cultural changes both in leadership and in the voices in these decisions.

“There’s nobody in that room to say, this isn’t okay,” Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones said. “I think when you’re devoid of having proper representation, it allows this type of situation to fester. We’re just saying to everybody, be inclusive.”

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They claimed they’ve seen the Memphis Magazine’s response and that it took too long for a heartfelt response and acknowledgment of what happened.

“For all publications and organizations in this community that call themselves to be of service,” said Darrell Cobbins, president of 100 Black Men of Memphis. “That they think intently about images, about representation.”

They also noted the historical precedent of this style of political caricature, but they said it’s an unacceptable tradition that is part of a less progressive time.

For a long-term fix, they want more minority voices to be heard in influential settings. They also hope the artist will be banned from working in Memphis and with Memphis print media.

“Don’t use him,” State Rep. G.A. Hardaway said. “I’m saying this, I don’t care where he’s getting business in the world. Don’t pay a bigot to bring us news.”

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