Arthur Jafa guest-edited the new issue of i-D
Alastair McKimm introduces the groundbreaking artist and cultural commentator who curated the magazine from front to back.
This story originally appeared in i-D’s The Darker Issue, no. 365, Winter 2021. Order your copy here.
Arthur Jafa was one of the first people we photographed for my first issue as Editor-in-Chief in 2019 (#357 The Post Truth Truth Issue). He is one of the most important – if not the most important – cultural commentators of our time.
It was vital to have him in that issue. Arthur grew up in the Mississippi Delta which he has referred to as “ground zero for Black culture, ground zero for Black musical culture, which means it’s ground zero for American musical culture, which in the 21st century means it’s ground zero for American culture. Period.”
As an expansive, radical and progressive thinker, a man who has spent his entire life obsessively and forensically collecting, editing and compiling images, I can honestly say there is no one better suited to take the wheel of i-D for an entire issue, front to back.
The first artist to guest edit the magazine, Arthur is at an extraordinary nexus of an incredible group of cross generation, cross disciplinary, cross genre thinkers, many of whom grace the pages of this issue. He is the great connector. He is ever inspiring, always thought provoking, and with an extraordinarily unique vision in using images to access experience.
It’s such an honour to hand the magazine over to someone I admire and respect abundantly. It is with immense gratitude that I say a simple and resounding – THANK YOU AJ!