50BOLD: Meeting the Needs & Passions of the Over 50 Black American

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(L to r) Karen Halliburton, Ruth Manuel-Logan, Judyth Watson-Remy and Angela Kinamore. Photo: Brian A. Pounds

Today’s 50 is not your grandma’s 50. And, 50BOLD is a new online magazine that caters to the new active person 50 and over.

Published twice a month, 50BOLD highlights the contributions of Black people age 50-plus.

“The new 50-plus folks are more informed than ever, they want to make lifestyle changes (food, exercise) and are determined to live longer. The new 50 is the new 40! We are not ready for rockers, we refuse to be put out to pasture. We are BOLD. We want to transform and not conform. We are sexual! We have opinions and are not afraid to speak our minds,” explains Judyth Watson-Remy, Good Stuff Editor for 50BOLD.

Watson-Remy along with a group of friends and fellow magazine editors, came up with the idea for 50BOLD.

“We are sisterfriends, a girl power collective, who worked at Essence Magazine more than 30 years ago,” shares Ruth Manuel-Logan, 50BOLD managing Editor, “We maintained our friendship throughout the years. After we left the magazine to pursue other employment opportunities, we stayed in touch by meeting a few times a year for lunch or dinner. In recent years, however, we began noticing how aging brings about new challenges in all areas of life. As African Americans, we found that there really weren’t any go-to publications addressing our needs as 50-plussers. So as time progressed, we began to notice there was one consistent theme in our conversations which was how one can age gracefully and soulfully in a society that worships youth? Thus, the inception of 50BOLD.com!”

The women noticed a major void in media outlets. “We decided to launch 50BOLD because there was a need for a publication that specifically spoke to the needs of the aging Black community, those 50-plus. We realized that publications like AARP and grandparents offered broad brushstrokes of information for everyone but we wanted to zero in on our people,” says Manuel-Logan. “We visualized this vehicle we call 50BOLD and fueled it. We wanted to drive this vehicle to places where it would truly be appreciated.”

According to Manuel-Logan, 50BOLD addresses the issues Blacks over 50 deal with. “We as aging African Americans face so many challenges–systemic and especially healthwise. African Americans have only a fraction of the wealth of white families, and as we get older our economic status tends to get shaken particularly when the paychecks stop,” she says. “As far as health, we face a multitude of diseases that tend to strike us harder particularly as we age–diabetes, asthma, certain cancers, heart disease.  We felt compelled to inform, inspire and empower our readers with articles that will help keep them afloat in all areas of their lives. Information is power and if we can help our folks live longer, keep a few dollars in their pockets and center them spiritually then we are doing the job we set out to do!”

The friends believed in the project so much they decided to self fund the venture. “We decided to pool our monies together to get this vehicle in motion.  We voted against taking out loans because getting into debt was simply out of the question,” says Manuel-Logan.

It is also a project of passion. The women juggle other jobs as well as putting together 50BOLD. “We all have other jobs but we are dedicated to making 50BOLD.com a success so we work into the wee hours to make sure we deliver what we have set out to do! 50BOLD is always a priority because we are so dedicated to our cause. We all came from Essence Magazine and understand how much dedication it takes to make a publication a success. We want to get ‘brand us’ right, we are embracing our distinction, and not comparing ourselves to anything else out here,” says Karen Halliburton, 50Bold’s Feature Editor.

Like any startup there have been uphill battles. “The startup challenges we’ve faced has been trying to get advertisers to believe in our product. Since we are new and an African-American product, advertisers don’t want to play ball! 50BOLD.com is a ground-breaking venture, no one else is doing US! 50-plus African Americans are consumers! Why is it so hard to get advertisers to believe in our product? We have a great vehicle, one that speaks for itself, all these ad folks have to do is read what we have to offer. Our product should speak for itself,” says Angela Kinamore, also a 50BOLD Feature Editor.

Another challenge is building 50BOLD’s online presence. “Growing those social media numbers have been difficult because our readers seem to think that we are only a subscription-based publication. We don’t know how the word got around that folks must subscribe to 50BOLD.com in order to read it!. I think many of our 50-plussers are not that technical and are unfamiliar with Facebook and Twitter. We soooo often times get questions like, ‘How much is your magazine subscription?’ ‘Where is your magazine sold?’ So many of our folks don’t understand that 50BOLD.com is absolutely free and available online. Trying to get readers to go to our Facebook page to hit ‘like’ is something that is not readily understood,” offers Manuel-Logan.

The women behind 50BOLD are on a mission to show a new face of the 50-and-over Black Americans while address the needs of their target audience.

“We strive to offer our folks a great mix of articles that will keep them interested. Health is big in our publication so we not only hit the common ailments like diabetes from all different angles but we have done stories on ailments that are common amongst our folks but not really covered in publications (‘Do You Suffer From Pica?’ ‘Do You Suffer From Adult Diaper Rash?’ ‘All About Flatulence or Passing Gas’),” says Manuel-Logan. “Sex is also covered in every issue–like ‘Outercourse Can Be the New Intercourse for Folks Over 50,’ ‘Why Not Have a Sexual Bucket List?,’ ‘Scary Things that Can Happen to Your Penis As You Age,’ ‘If You Want to Live Longer Try Kissing’ We want to move our readers forward armed with newfound knowledge so that they can continue to fight the good fight because after all, age ain’t nothing but a number!”