theLeftAhead is a conversation amongst writers, artists, and activists. It is one part poetry, one part culture, and one part action. Shaken, with a splash of revolution.
theLeftAhead is an experiment in culminating the 9 years of journalistic endeavors pursued by the founders of Millinium VII Entertainment. In 2002, Millinium VII decided it wanted to branch out from music production into print and created a publishing division of the company. The first project, Seeds from the White Rose, was a print and online monthly newsletter that was centered on political and cultural commentary. The inaugural issue, January 2003, was officially launched when a group of volunteers went and passed out free print copies of the issue at the Texas Capitol and around downtown Austin, TX. One of the signature achievements of the newsletter is that it took a courageous stance in opposition to the Iraq war during a period of contentious political rhetoric. In an environment in which dissenters of the U.S. foreign policy initiatives were widely labeled as “traitors,” the newsletter served as one of the pioneering voices of opposition directly attributable to underground hip hop culture. Seeds from the White Rose ran from January 2003 to June 2004.
Concurrently, Millinium VII developed a series of increasingly trafficked web forums between 2003 and 2007. Participants from all over the world created blog posts and interacted on discussion forums. The content was copious but central themes included radical political change and thinking, hip hop culture, revolutionary music, corporatization, and the technology revolution.
These engaging interactions among a tight knit but slowly expanding community helped Millinium VII reincarnate Seeds from the White Rose into a hybrid print and online medium called The Stash Box. The Stash Box was primarily an electronic offspring but its first few issues were printed in the same format as its predecessor (Seeds). Rather quickly, it became abundantly clear that the revitalization of the print format with the new electronic newsletter (e-zine) was a pursuit of tradition instead of an objective attempt to service the needs of the target audience. Almost all feedback after launch of The Stash Box came from the electronically distributed editions and the print edition was quickly retired. After launching as a bi-monthly publication in January 2005, The Stash Box ran in print through mid-2005 and online through mid-2006 covering generally the same subject matter as Seeds from the White Rose with a heavier emphasis on hip hop culture and less emphasis on political commentary.
In early 2007, Millinium VII used the success of The Stash Box to experiment with a weekly email publication called The Weekly Stash. The idea was to draw more visits to The Stash Box and Discussion Forum sections of the company’s website by emailing subscribers an update of newly available content. The Weekly Stash was highly successful at generating traffic and some of the publication’s editors have gone on to incorporate similar tactics to blog trafficking with subsequent sites. The Weekly Stash ran from June 2006 to February 2007.
In 2007 the technologies associated with blogging and online independent journalism started to reach maturity. At this time, Millinium VII Entertainment made the strategic decision to shift all of its publication resources into a new venture called onehiphop.org. In April 2007, onehiphop.org was launched with full social networking capabilities and full content customization capabilities. While some of the community that was established with Seeds from the White Rose and cultivated through all of the subsequent projects made the transition into using the new technology available at onehiphop.org, a vast majority of the community’s contributors and audience were lost through the transition and the emergence of global social networking sites.
While Millinium VII made a strategic decision to launch onehiphop.org when blogging technology reached maturity, the company held off on launching any new ventures in the publishing division after onehiphop.org until the technology integrating social networking and blogging reached maturity. Now that that time has come, theLeftAhead has become an inheritor of the Millinium VII publishing legacy. While, theLeftAhead intends to recoup past audiences and participants, over time the views and interests of the company’s founders have matured and widened as well. Just as the technologies have matured overtime, so has the vision for content and audience for this new venture. We are in search of a continually widening discourse while keeping true to the roots and foundations that brought us to the left ahead.
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