Black Disabled Journalists Unite: Zarifa Roberson of i.d.e.a.l. Magazine

Leroy - Posted on 11 September 2012

Leroy Moore


 Krip-Hop Nation:  Zarifa Roberson I’m so glad to be interviewing you about i.d.e.a.l. Magazine.  You are African American with a disability living on the East Coast tell us more about you and your love of journalism.

Zarifa Roberson: As African American Woman with a Disability it can be very challenging at times because people see the physical disability they assume that something is wrong with me intellectually not until I begin to speak people say that this gal is intelligent and she is educated. So I always feel that I have to prove myself ten step harder next the next African American with and without a Disability or a Woman with and without a Disability. This is how I see the work through my eyes.

KHN:  Who are you peers as a Black disabled woman in journalism if there are any

Zarifa Roberson: Outside of the magazine, I do not have a relationship with other Black Women with Disability in the field of Journalism.

KHN:  How do you run this magazine?  Give us a moment-to-moment how i.d.e.a.l. issues come together.

Zarifa Roberson: On a daily basis, I am operating i.d.e.a.l. Magazine from my home by sending out emails to staff and make outside contacts with people in the community so it keeps me on my toes.

KHN:  You know my work on race and disability so when I saw i.d.e.a.l. I was so happy.  Tell us way it is so important to have a magazine run by majority Black people with disabilities?

Zarifa Roberson: It is very important for Black People with Disabilities to operate i.d.e.a.l. Magazine because it gives the Black Young People with Disabilities an opportunity to look at people like themselves to be business person, to a writer, to be a photographer, etc. Not everyone can go into careers such the music and sports industries.

KHN:  Tell us what is in every issue of i.d.e.a.l.?

Zarifa Roberson: In every issue of i.d.e.a.l. Magazine, there is Beauty, Fashion, Health & Fitness, Entertainment, Sports, Book Review with Marissa, Krip Hop Column with Leroy Moore and our amazing stories about People with Disabilities.  As well as on our website, we have weekly Fashion, Beauty, & Health & Fitness and our Blog with Karley.

KHN:  As we know the magazine industry has taken a big hit with everything going on the internet.  Why you wanted a print glossy magazine in these days?

Zarifa Roberson: I want to print a glossary magazine because when you go into the bookstore you don’t see magazines for People with Disabilities and most People with Disabilities are on a fixed income so they are unable to access the internet from home. This is why it is so important to have i.d.e.a.l. Magazine all bookstore, newsstand, libraries across the United States.

KHN:  Although I’m excited to see all these new Black disabled magazines coming out but the one thing that rubs me the wrong way is the way the talk about disability i.e. something to overcome or only in gaining services.  How can we educate them on the culture, art and history side with updated terminology?

Zarifa Roberson: Once I started i.d.e.a.l. Magazine in 2004, I enrolled into graduate school to study Rehabilitation Counseling to make me aware of the terminology and addressing the different communities within the Disability Community. It is best to take a cultural awareness class about People with Disabilities so you will be address the different communities so you won’t offend anyone and/or make a jackass out of yourself.

KHN:  Who is the audience of i.d.e.a.l. Magazine?

Zarifa Roberson: i.d.e.a.l. Magazine audience is college students, professional working the disability professions and we are always looking to expand our horizons.

KHN:  What are your future plans in the field of journalism?

Zarifa Roberson: My plan in the field of journalism is to make this the #1 magazine global.

KHN: There is a lack of Black disabled people in not only in media but also across the board from art to politics to characters in movies to authors, if you had Oprah’s resources what would you do to change this reality?

 Zarifa Roberson: I will continue to educate people and bring cultural awareness about the Disability Community to society.

 KHN:  How can others help to continue the growth of i.d.e.a.l. Magazine

Zarifa Roberson: By coming to our events and subscription to our magazine at

 KHN:  In this bling reality TV society we live in do you think community journalist’s stories are being overlooked in mainstream news?

Zarifa Roberson: Yes I think there is a lot of things that happen on reality TV is being overlooked by mainstream news and People with Disabilities get overlooked by many but I don’t think people know how to reflect on the beauty and culture of the Disability Community.

 KHN:  Outside of the magazine what other projects you are interested in?

 Zarifa Roberson: I am a board member of the Sickle Cell Chapter in Philadelphia, PA and this is my 1st year. So far I am enjoying the position and having the opportunity to get the people, families, and friends who living with Sickle Cell Disease.

KHN:  Tell us the future for you & i.d.e.a.l. Magazine.

 Zarifa Roberson: The future of i.d.e.a.l. Magazine is to be the #1 Magazine globally.

 KHN:  If people want to subscribe to the magazine how can they do that?

Zarifa Roberson: People can subscribe to the magazine by contacting me at .

 KHN:  Any last words?

Zarifa Roberson: Keep believe in your dreams and planting the seeds so your dreams can grow.




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