Joshua "Fahiym" Ratcliffe has been hired as the Editor-In-Chief of Smooth men’s magazine after suddenly departing The Source in August of 2005.
The editorial vet intends to offer his Hip-Hop background with a more adult approach to the content of the sexually driven publication.
“Hip-Hop is the dominant counter-culture that has gone global, and Smooth has always had an urban edge,” Ratcliffe told AllHipHop.com. “But as the music and the lifestyle continues to grow by leaps and bound, steadily mesh into the mainstream, it’s only right that we try to be on the cusp of what's hot. Given my background working at The Source, you will see a lot Hip-Hop representation, but with a mature feel.”
Although he was a frequent reader of Smooth, Ratcliffe said he began working at the magazine in an editorial capacity after the termination of former Editorial Director Sean Cummings. After a period of consulting, he was offered the position to run the magazine’s editorial interests and has done so since November.
As a leader, he must also contend with the critics of men’s publications that believe magazines like Smooth objectify African American women only as sexual objects and foster misogynistic views in men.
“I understand the criticism and I see the arguments. Shoot, not to long ago, I was one of those critics, but what got me to come around was two things,” Ratcliffe explained. “First, men wanting to see beautiful women of color and second, the response the magazine gets when I mention it to many brothers. Its a men's magazine, with interests and tastes skewed to men within the 21 to 40 demographic.”
The present issue of Smooth features a scantily clad, voluptuous video model Esther Baxter, rapper Tony Yayo, R&B group Black Buddafly, NBA player Ron Artest and other articles.
“Here's a magazine that captures how we feel and what [African American men] think...even if it borders on the scandalous side,” he said laughing. “But really, Smooth is not some T & A magazine with nothing else to offer editorially. At least, not under my tenure as E.I.C. We're men. Why should hide being a man?”
To balance the imagery with the content, Smooth will run more thematic stories like a Black History Month quiz dedicated to Black Women. “Women of color have contributed so much to civilization, and Smooth wants to balance their beautiful bodies and their beautiful mind,” he said.
Ratcliffe resigned his position as Editor-in-Chief of The Source Magazine in August because of a disagreement with company heads over album review for Little Brother’s album, The Minstrel Show.