One Twenty One is a new online journal of Literature and Art here at Virginia State University, and we have done remarkable things this semester! We’ve come a long way since our first staff meeting in February, and that is all thanks to the dedication of our student staff, editors, and our faculty advisor leading us by example to get the job done.
We decided early on that our journal would be led by and for the students and we did just that this semester as we built this journal from the ground up. I was delighted to join the team as a student editor and becoming the Editor-in-Chief gave me the opportunity to be a leader, to be sure everyone was on task, and that we set out to reach the goal that we created for ourselves, which was to make this journal a reality for students nationwide. During our first meeting, we all agreed that it is One Twenty One’s mission to go beyond the scope of a traditional literary journal, publishing poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and drama, but to create an avenue to include digital art, recorded performances, and music videos, as well.
Our student-run team consisted of Art Director Bryné Grisset, Poetry Editor Aerin Cuff, Prose Editor Sade Woodliff, and Multimedia Editor Donovan Eubanks. We all had multiple roles and tasks, and we were quickly on-board, sharing the vision for this journal as we all worked alongside one-another remotely to get things done. Everybody wore many hats here at One Twenty One!
Nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it, as we all worked together in a timely manner throughout the semester and as a team, we were able to build our social media platforms, design a new website, create a space for artists and writers to submit their work, and even provide opportunities for new incoming students, who can join the staff of this amazing journal in semesters to come.
One Twenty One student staff and editors were able to transition over previously-published Virginia State University student work from the TVN@VSU website, honoring our journal's history and origin. Our journal started as the new home for student writing at VSU after The Virginia Normal underwent a transformation, becoming Red Brick Review. We are proud to take up the mantle of showcasing amazing student writing and art at Virginia State University, while expanding our community and the scope of our journal by accepting submissions from undergraduate writers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide.
In our inaugural Spring 2021 issue, we honor this year’s winners of the VSU Art & Poetry Contest as well as the VSU Student Writing Contest alongside student writing from VSU and across the country. After just a couple of months promoting our journal on campus and at Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide, we are proud to represent students from not only Virginia State University, but also Alabama A&M University, Coppin State University, and Stillman College.
A big thank you goes out to the student staff, our faculty advisor Professor Claire Boswell, VSU Contest Judges Professors Ann Franklin, Gary MacDonald and Michael McClure, to all of those who submitted their work, those who spread the word about the journal, and to each of our contributors! Thank you for helping to make this journal great!
Here at One Twenty One, we believe that art and creativity is what keeps us thriving. At One Twenty One, our mission is to serve the HBCU community on our campus and across the country as we continue to make a statement by bringing your creativity to light. We hope you enjoy our first issue, and we hope to see your creativity in our inbox, currently open for submissions for our Summer 2021 issue, coming this August!
Until then, be safe and keep your dreams alive!
~ Talya Johnson, Editor-in-Chief, One Twenty One