Caribbean Pride

Article excerpt

Byline: Liz Borod

Many magazines tout the romance of the Caribbean as a tourist paradise, but few have targeted the 1.5 million Caribbean people who have recently immigrated to the U.S. Addressing that demographic has been a long-held dream of P. Nigel Killikelly, a Guyanese native who has launched his own quarterly general-interest magazine for Caribbean Americans called S.O.C.A.: Souls of Caribbean Americans. S.O.C.A. is definitely a labor of love for Killikelly who withdrew $50,000 from his 401(k) to start the publication, which he runs in his spare time. His day job is vice president and editorial director of Upscale, an Atlanta magazine about the affluent black lifestyle.

"I started to notice the growth of Caribbean people moving into top positions," says Killikelly, citing Colin Powell, Cecily Tyson, Lenny Kravitz, and Essence's Susan Taylor. "I felt there was a void in this market. The Caribbean is just portrayed as a travel destination, and nothing reflects its true roots and culture or the contributions of its people." He says there are large populations of Caribbean people in London, Toronto, New York, Miami, Atlanta and Maryland. It's a group with higher household incomes than other African Americans. And, he says, they travel more and spend money in the U.S. and in the islands.

Like the Caribbean itself, S.O.C.A. is sumptuous and enticing, filled with lush, artistic photography on heavy (80-lb.) stock. The premier May issue, featured a mix of inspirational articles, fashion spreads for men and women, music reviews and a story about an Indo-Guyanese neighborhood in Queens, N. Y. Articles also covered the tranquil island of Bequia, Trinidad's Carnival, the beaches of Barbados and the Santeria religion.

So far, Killikelly's main marketing efforts involve distributing S.O.C.A.'s 50,000 issues at events such as Atlanta's Peach Tree Festival, Toronto's Caribana, Brooklyn's West Indian Carnival and at carnivals in the Caribbean. "I know where my audience is, and they're at all these events," he says. "The whole marketing concept is to get people familiar with the magazine. …