this new publication is dedicated to celebrating people of colour
POCC Magazine is made by PoC talents to celebrate PoC talents.
Shuwei Liu for POCC Mag
When news broke that Beyoncé would creatively direct and star on the cover of this year’s September issue of Vogue everyone celebrated her appointment of photographer Tyler Mitchell. Over 126 years and 1500 covers not a single one has been shot by a black photographer, until now. The moment also reminded us all that diverse representation in the creative industries remains scarce and that there’s work to be done. Working on that representation from another level is 22-year-old Kenyan-born, Melbourne-based writer and model Mercy Sang. As the editor of the recently launched POCC Mag she’s been creating the change she wants to see in the industry.
In Mercy’s own words POCC Mag is a digital publication about the representation of people of colour in the creative industries, “who can represent us better than us”. For Mercy this is a positive project, not a political statement but a celebration of heritage and community. It’s driven by the urge to rise above rather than fight against the underrepresentation of people of colour. “As minorities, we already share such a powerful bond due to our struggles, so to be able to have a project like this that shines a light on our talents is extraordinary,” she tells us.
Inspired by her own community and an urge to support and celebrate their work, Mercy began assembling the frontline of featured creatives. “All the work on the website is work that I truly believe in, made by friends and artists who I’ve admired for a very long time,” she says. The launching contributors include filmmaker Joseph Haddad, creative directors and designers Tim Lo, Kenneth Pan and Aggie Choi, with photographers Brandon Bowen, Shuwei Liu, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong. Each contributor from the collective was given free rein to create a visual story of their own. Naturally, most of the content explores themes of their own heritage.
“We need to make sure that we have representation across all fields. That is the only way to rapidly change the industry,” says Mercy. It’s projects like POCC that highlight the abundance of talent that has existed for a long time and will be here for years to come. What POCC represents is a celebration of these talents moving, in their own ways, to the foreground.
It’s an exciting time to see creatives taking ownership over their practice and how it is presented to the world. Mercy’s best advice to those, like her, who are overflowing with inspiration is to simply create work. “Start somewhere, anywhere, with as little resources as you may have. I think what is really special about minorities is the bond and the support we share with one another. We want to uplift each other in any way possible.”
Last time i-D spoke to Mercy, POCC Magazine was just an idea, it’s come a long way since then. POCC is more than a digital publication for the aesthetics, it’s a true representation and celebration of talent and authenticity. Leading up to the launch Mercy shared her nervous anticipation with us, “I’m extremely excited. I’ve been showered with support and could not be any more grateful with the response towards POCC and the message this magazine stands for. Which is a magazine that embraces us — for us, by us.”