UPDATE: June 7 marks the 18th birthday of Hyphen Magazine and they got the perfect gift: Hyphen Media is changing their name after there was an outcry accusing the newly launched media company for copying Hyphen‘s logo.
Sources say that both parties will hash it out and that Hyphen Media will pivot to a new name.
That said, all is good. All it takes is some talking and understanding. We didn’t have to resort to Hunger Games antics.
This is what happens when people connect and have empathy. Let’s do more of this!
Also, happy birthday Hyphen! You’re old enough to vote now!
It's our 18th birthday! 🥳🎂 (sort of)
Hyphen magazine launched its first issue on June 7, 2003. Pictures courtesy of Hyphen contributors and @melissahungtx. Article by @sfchronicle writer @vanessa_hua #AsianAmericans @aaja #History #media @Dannosphere @Kidrobot pic.twitter.com/ll6PaiVWty
— Hyphen magazine (@hyphenmag) June 7, 2021
PREVIOUS: On May 18, it was announced that A+E Networks exec Andrew Kuo and ex-New York Times exec Kareem Rahma launched a podcast company called Hyphen Media that looks to bolster people of color in the audio space. The company aims to be a destination for original and immersive storytelling for underrepresented voices.
Their slate of projects includes projects from High Maintenance‘s Abdullah Saeed, Space Force writer Mamoudou N’Diaye, and writer Sarah Cho, who’s currently working on Hulu’s The Girl from Plainville.
Great, right? Well…there is a glaring issue.
It’s logo is looking a lot similar to the non-profit Asian American publication Hyphen Magazine which was launched in 2002 and first published in 2003. (Yours truly also contributed to it in the ’10s).
When Hyphen Magazine co-founder Melissa Hung got word of Hyphen Media, she immediately saw the similarities in the logo. Needless to say, she had some words about Hyphen Media’s launch which is backed by investors including Hyphen Capital, media veteran Sean Cohan; James Cole, Jr., Board Member of AIG and CEO of The Jasco Group; and Jennifer Fitzgerald, Co-founder and CEO of Policygenius
“For more than a decade, I put in the equivalent of a part-time job volunteering on Hyphen on top of my full-time work,” said Hung in a Twitter thread.”Hyphen’s a scrappy operation, which has survived this long because of the dedication of its volunteer staff. We are a labor of love, rooted in community.”
She added, “Hyphen has been a training ground for Asian American editors, writers, photographers, and artists. We’ve been a stepping stone for many in their careers. Hundreds of people have come through Hyphen over the years. We also covered emerging artists and helped boost their careers.”
Oh, IDK, maybe check to see if there's already something called Hyphen in the media space before launching your new venture? https://t.co/FdlkFDX6bY
— Melissa Hung (@melissahungtx) May 30, 2021
Hyphen is also part of the Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AARCE) and is aligned with Chinese for Affirmative Action, which helped build to create a network to build the Asian American movement. Iconic journalist and activist Helen Zia, who became a national organizer and spokesperson for the Justice for Vincent Chin movement, was part of Hyphen‘s advisory board in the publication’s early days.
If you are confused by a new podcasting company called Hyphen Media, we are too. We are not associated with them.https://t.co/bJWdkpLkMX
— Hyphen magazine (@hyphenmag) June 3, 2021
The word of the similarities between Hyphen Media and Hyphen spread quickly and although they weren’t stealing the mission of the magazine, having logos that are nearly identical presents some problems. Jenn Fang of Reappropriate tweeted, “I’m really having a hard time with Hollywood creators showing their entire hand when it comes to not having any ties with the As Am community they market themselves as representing.”
She added, “Stop carelessly erasing those of us who have been doing this work for decades because you don’t know the first thing about this community, and you couldn’t be bothered to either reach out to people or perform a Google search to find out.”
Stop carelessly erasing those of us who have been doing this work for decades because you don’t know the first thing about this community, and you couldn’t be bothered to either reach out to people or perform a Google search to find out.
— Jenn | Reappropriate (@reappropriate) May 31, 2021
Diaspora did reach out to Hyphen Media for a comment but they have been radio silent — which isn’t exactly a good look.
Listen, Hyphen Media’s goal of amplifying underrepresented voices and narratives is very much appreciated. We need it. There is always room for representation. There’s space for both companies — and maybe opportunities for them to work together to put more shine on marginalized voices. Diaspora is on board with all of that. However, this situation of copycat logos is the problem and the fact that Hyphen Media hasn’t addressed it raises some eyebrows.
If anything, Hung and all the creators of Hyphen and even the Asian American community who supported Hyphen for nearly two decades deserve the respect to get some sort of explanation for this ordeal — at the least. From what from what I understand, they are still waiting.