Last week, Chief Editor J.Allan Longshadow spoke to Kyle Jackson to discover first-hand the truth of what it looks like to be a black man in America. Before we dig deeper into the all-important matter of Black Lives Matter, let’s take a moment to discover a little more about who he is and what he does. Here is the first part of our interview.
J.Allan Longshadow: Kyle, thank you ever so much for making time to join me today. Would you be kind enough to share where you are calling from?
Kyle Jackson: Today? I’m calling from Detroit, Michigan in the United States of America. I live here, I’m American born and raised.
J.A.L: Are you from Detroit originally? Is that where you were born and bred?
K.J: Actually, no, I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana originally, but I moved here about three years ago, going on four years and I have to say, it’s not a bad town.
J.A.L: Is it somewhere you would recommend one of us British folk come and visit some time?
K.J: Yes, I would because it’s got a good flavour to it, it’s got chicken shawarma. It’s got all types of nationalities’ foods. It’s a very diverse city – Detroit is kind of a melting pot of America. We’re in the Midwest where you get as a mix of everything. So here I’ve met a lot of different people from different backgrounds and nationalities. So with that said, I have to say Detroit, It’s a good place for any Englander, Londoner, Brittanear as you call them to come down and visit us. So yeah, as a New Orleans boy, I gotta say, get down to New Orleans first – we’re way cooler down there.
J.A.L: Kyle, you are the chief editor and the founder of the Astonishing Tales digital magazine, aren’t you?
K.J: Yes, I am. We founded it back in 2017, actually. It started out as a project just to kind of help struggling writers to really help them to get their voice out there, because I’m a former journalist. I worked for a newspaper called the daily advertiser. I have a background in journalism. And the one thing I noticed was is that in this industry, nowadays in writing and journalism, it’s very difficult for someone to break in without having clips or experience. So the magazine gave everyone a chance to get clips. And then from there, show their writing jobs and get the advice of an editor, someone who’s been in the business and blossom from there out. And that’s what I did.
J.A.L:Your platform really is all about sharing, well – literally – astonishing content, isn’t it, but really something really positive, bringing positivity into the world. Isn’t it?
K.J: Yeah, very much. So. Um, I mentioned what I said before, to help writers kind of get their voice out there and course expand their career. But from there I wanted to gear it towards positivity because for me, it was an interesting year and I wanted the opportunity to say to them, hey, you know what, for readers there’s a better path. And there is, there’s poverty out there, there’s death, but there are all these things to help people be better, even fitness steps. Just bettering your life, enlightenment, enlightenment.
And so from there, I didn’t know exactly we were going to be going for positivity, because I wanted it to be a magazine that was really about just sharing the content of our writers, their words, their adventures, their astonishing tales, but then they kind of went a different path. I just kinda went with it myself, as the editor and the founder. And from there we thought about sharing positivity and we linked up with a lot of writers. That was their mission and their goal. And from there we’ve taken on a lot of different articles and we publish a lot of different content. And some of this has been to make sure that we are fair and balanced to make sure that we’re not exactly biased against one thing.
However, though, our main mission is help everyone be astonished. What that means is it’s just really to give people a chance to be their best self, be their best character. And that might be a better mindset, a better body size. Better eating habits, that’s what I’ll focus on.
J.A.L: What a fantastic project. It’s grown quite considerably since the early days, hasn’t it?
K.J: Yeah. At this point, a lot has changed in the world itself and because of that, we’ve changed with it. We’ve done movie reviews. We’ve done music reviews, video reviews, but with that, we’ve also had to take on – let me say it, unfortunately. Well no, not, unfortunately I should actually say fortunately, we’ve had to actually take a stance on issues that have happened in America and in the world. Because as you know, with the Astonishing Tales, we have writers all over, we have writers who have been to Serbia, we have writers who have been to Kuala Lumpur, they have shared their adventures in those places. And even you in America, they’ve shared their adventures. So they talked about a violence in different cities, whether it be new Orleans or Seattle, or the opioid fights. So we’ve had to adapt. And even now with the kind of things that are happening in the world such as the current outbreak of COVID-19, people wearing masks, things like that. And also as, you know, there’s this whole other thing that’s happened where we’ve had to adapt the content.