| Follow Us:


Veronica Grandison and Leah Johnson

By Amelia Kanan
May 9, 2014

Veronica Grandison and Leah Johnson fittingly met in their 10th grade journalism class, but it wasn’t until their second year at University of Michigan-Dearborn, where they met Brittney Moore, when their team was complete. Working together to create a Black History Month series for the campus newspaper, The Michigan Journal, their wheels began to spin. It was clear that they each shared a passion for minorities and pride for their gender, plus their successful editorial leadership and strong teamwork gave the ladies a necessary boost of confidence.  Johnson remembers, “The idea came about that it would be great to one day have our own publication that could honor and recognize minorities all year and to especially highlight the strength and beauty of women.”

A few years later, Grandison and Johnson graduated and Moore was in her final year of school when the idea for ColorBlind Magazine built even more momentum. Between Grandison and Johnson, they had gained significant experience through interning at places like The Detroit Free Press, BLAC Detroit Magazine, WDIV Local 4, and WWJ Newsradio. Johnson had also worked at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, where her belief in the need for the publication was reinforced. Ready to give shape to their concept, the ladies decided to increase their chances of success by fully preparing it before catapulting their baby onto the web. Although the three were convinced of their journalistic strengths and the importance of the mission, the ladies were green when it came to owning and operating a business. The next few months were spent researching and getting familiar with what that even meant. They secured and tightened their brand by forming an LLC, designing a logo, and arming their reserves with content. Finally, on October 22, 2012, the trio finally felt appropriately prepared and ColorBlind was officially released into the world. Today, the publication has 200 subscribers who receive the quarterly e-blasts.

Centering on women and minorities, the e-zine provides stories that encourage cultural awareness and raise pride among minority groups. “Our goal is to continue to showcase the strength and empowerment of all women, and the more women we reach and inspire the more we are accomplishing our goal,” Grandison explains. Topics are wide-ranging, with Arts/Entertainment, Business/Technology, Education, Fashion, Travel/Culture and Opinion sections. Stories range from arguments against mainstream body image standards to articles that promote health awareness, while also informing minorities of certain opportunities available, such as “Top 2014 African-American, Minority, & Diversity internships.” Locally, the publication highlights minority professionals and businesses as well as honoring young females who have a strong drive. It’s for this component that Grandison is most grateful. “I have been able to meet so many inspirational, intelligent, and dedicated women who are making a difference in their community and defying the negative stereotypes that many minority women are portrayed as on a national level.”

In February 2014, the ladies published their sixth issue. It has been almost two years and ColorBlind has not only been welcomed by readers with open arms but by aspiring writers and editors as well. Through participation in the University of Michigan internship program, ColorBlind has a number of team members who have stayed on after their internships with the e-zine. “I love that the magazine provides a platform for various journalists [experienced and beginners] to share their love for writing,” Johnson proudly states. Operating with monthly editorial meetings, the e-zine boasts a well-rounded staff with a business and marketing team, a Director of Photography, a web designer, and a number of contributing writers. Their team welcomes both males and females from high school or college who are interested in gaining editorial experience.

A most impressive aspect of this labor of love is that the three-amigo team primarily funds it.  They rely a little on advertising for maintaining the overall company and host writing workshops for a few organizations, but ultimately hope to partner with a publishing company. Another financial goal is to seek grant funding to help boost their budget.

Until then, the women enjoy the juggle of their paid commitments and the magazine. The Jazz-loving Grandison is both a freelance music writer and a project manager at BNP Media, a publishing company in Troy, while Johnson’s experience in the Education Department at the Charles H. Wright Museum motivated her to teach, something she now gets to do at her alma mater where she teaches - what else? - writing.

All photos by Doug Coombe. 

Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts

Twitter Feed

Related Resources

  • Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History provides learning opportunities, exhibitions, programs and events based on collections and research that explore the diverse history and culture of African Americans and their African origins.