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Fort Worth’s working-class men and women are reeling from an economic downturn that is leaving bartenders, hourly wage workers, and others deciding between paying rent or buying food for their children. Even before the coronavirus cacophony swept through North Texas, Fort Worth’s black community was mourning the too-frequent killing of unarmed black men and women by white police officers.

A local glossy magazine owner/publisher has taken the unprecedented levels of economic and societal upheaval to remind his affluent white readership (yes, keep reading) that it’s OK that his publications –– Fort Worth Magazine and Fort Worth Inc. –– ignore topics that are relevant to the non-rich. 

“Our Fort Worth Magazine target market is affluent readers with average household incomes of $273,000, college-educated, 35- to 54-year-old, married Fort Worth homeowners,” the owner/publisher, Hal Brown, wrote in this month’s issue of Fort Worth Inc.

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Brown was responding to an online complaint by a local woman and artist who goes by the name of Choke. Last month, she made a Facebook comment that questioned Fort Worth Magazine’s lack of diversity, both in regards to its featured photos and content.

“The owner of the whole magazine obviously had a conniption” about my comment, Choke recently said on her Facebook page. He is “basically trashing anyone who doesn’t fit into his target demographic.”

We agree, thin-skinned Brown obviously felt cozy espousing his arrogant, backwater rant from the comfort of his glossy magazine. What he failed to realize was that disparaging the non-affluent members of our community at a time when they are struggling sends a clear message that, as far as his publication is concerned, a large portion of our city is disposable. 

“If you’re reading this and you do not fall into our target demographic, while I appreciate your being a reader, I can’t change our focus to satisfy your interests,” Brown wrote in closing his asinine editorial.     

Brown also gave us a lesson in white privilege demography. Fort Worth, he said, is “64 percent white and 36 percent black and other.” This is his justification for plastering his magazine with pictures of affluent white people (within the ages of 34 to 54, of course). 

Brown has influence with an audience that could effect great change in this community. That he chooses instead to blow smoke up their asses and keep them living in their little comfortable bubbles of privilege is a dereliction of duty, especially now, when the world is unraveling minute by minute, dumb Trump tweet by dumb Trump tweet.

Relegating Fort Worth’s myriad ethnic demographics –– Asian-American, black, Latinx, Native American, and “other” –– into the non-white, unimportant dustbin shows a level of insensitivity and ignorance that is inexcusable, even when white privilege is factored in. And it’s almost always a factor. 

While the majority of Fort Worth’s documented and undocumented residents do not fall into Brown’s wealthy, college-educated, homeowner bubble, they do live and work in this city. They pave our roads and mow our lawns. Many of them probably buy Brown’s magazines or at least skim through them at doctors’ offices and apartment lobbies, and many more of these less privileged folks aspire to become business owners themselves.

That “other” demographic does the hard work that keeps this city alive so chosen ones like Hal Brown can highlight the innovators and movers and shakers who take money from affluent white people, invest in projects, and return the profits to affluent white people. It’s a business model that most of us are not privy to, but we do understand more of the inner workings of that world now, thanks to Brown.

The next time we see cover-to-cover photos of married, rich, white 35-year-old homeowners in Fort Worth Magazine, we’ll know why. Or maybe we’ll just walk right by those glossy stacks and spend our working-class money elsewhere. 

31 COMMENTS

  1. Now remember, we should all be eternally grateful to our “job creators” for their patronage of the proletariat businessess. She said with her tounge firmly in her cheek.

    • His magazine his choice. This article is an opinion in a magazine just like his opinion or choice to reach a specific demographic. Its a magazine. Who cares dont read it….why trash this guy. I don’t see to many Asians or Hispanics in a soul glow commercial….

      • Totally agree Jeff. If he succeed in finding his audience it will survive and grow, if not it dies.
        In a free country why this need to insist we be bombarded by multicultural everything “but white”?
        I am Hines 57 white with a touch of American native Indian. I don’t need a tanning bed to feel like I belong.

        Call me Casper, Kracker, Red neck whatever, just be sure to call me to dinner. Allow each of us to be judge on our own Merits

  2. Just going to be Devil’s advocate for a second. Are there not black magazine’s (Ebony)? Is there not black pride? This seems a little bit like bait. Let’s not diminish the goal with minutia.

    • Exactly. And the Fort Worth magazines in question do many stories on other demographics. These publications are far from classist or racist. Ms. Killjoy is just another professional victim looking for an axe to grind. Don’t take the bait.

    • I think the issue is with the name of the magazine. It is “Fort Worth Magazine” but it does not reflect all of Fort Worth. I think if the name of the magazine was “Affluent” or “Fort Worth Rich” it would be a different story because people would not expect that magazine to encompass all of Fort Worth. Imagine if you are a hockey fan and you see a magazine called “Dallas Sports” and there is never any coverage about hockey, you would be a little upset. I think another issue with it is how smug the Mr. Brown was about the issue. I am new to Fort Worth and the first time I saw that magazine somewhere I was like oh cool I can find out a little more about FW but I immediatly realized that it was not like a Texas Monthly or an Austin Magazine, I also definitly noticed the lack of minorities in the magazine. So now I don’t bother even looking at it, unless I play the game with my girlfriend of guess how many minorities in this issue. My guess is usually three…..
      I do find it a little sad that the name of magazine is Fort Worth Magazine but it is only focused on a small demographic.

  3. I do not fall into the demographics listed, like to flip through the magazine if I see one laying around, but you are wrong and Hal Brown is right to protect a business with good business practices. You of all people should know the challenge of managing and surviving in the periodical business. You have apparently found your method and he his.

  4. I know ChoKe personally, she is a dope artist. She’s using her creatlive talents and gifts to heal the heARTS of the privileged profiteers. He’s mad that she’s holding these entities socially and economically accountable. They deceive themselves by living “”their best life” as absentee humanitarians. “Scratch a liar, find a thief,’ as stated by Ray Charles’ mom, epitomizes why they love the status quo. When they become sensitive to that 36% and stART empowering them it’s a win win for humanity.

  5. Admittedly, I got this post through Google, otherwise I’d have never seen it.
    And that’s probably why I don’t understand the purpose of this post other than been another nagging, ideologically, potentially leftist complaint about another example of our society not been equal for everyone. Well, that’s the truth – we are not equal (we are not zombies) and diversity (not one pot) is what makes us humans what and who we are. I’m not white, I wasn’t born Texan, I moved to Texas just 10 years ago, my wife is White, I’m Latino, we both work and we are not affluent.
    I see the magazine every weekend at the Central Market shelf’s but I don’t BUY the magazine, simply because it is not interesting to me. I don’t ever take offense (not ever noticed) the racial profile of those showcased in their cover pages.
    America is a free, capitalist country. The owner of this magazine is free to sell whatever he wants for as long as he is not attacking anyone. The so-called offended reader had/has a simple choice (don’t buy the magazine). If she doesn’t like it, she can take her hard earn $$ and buy another magazine (even better, make her own!) because in the US, that’s what we can do.

    I completely agree with the owner that nobody (not even you) can please everyone. His is a business model that works for him and his readers. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back, stop taking (or looking) for offense everywhere, and stop the public lynching of those who don’t agree with our (free) views.

    • Amen!!! Give us all a break. They’re is so much more to worry about. If s magazine chooses to focus on one demographic, it is well within their right. No one complains that you can’t get Cover Girl mascara at Neiman’s, and who cares that Walmart doesn’t stock Gucci. We shop where we shop to buy what we buy. The same applies to our publications. Geez people, get a life and let others live theirs. It isn’t hurting you, if you need to read something that interests you, buy another magazine.

      • Ditto !
        Social correctness flies in the face of accepting individuality as a person.
        That we accept the primus for the need and benefits of social filtering does not imply it need be instituted and all must comply.
        There is no National Advancement of White People. That I can turn a blind eye to that and think no more about it, says what about me? Should I be like Forrest Gump and apologize for intruding and disrupting their Black Panther Party?
        Its wise to be light hearted about our differences without need of discouraging tones.
        To take offence is a personal choice made among the frail and delicate.
        Americans are strong, we are all the worlds peoples sharing one nation who aspire to a pledge that we are one nation with liberty and justice for all.

  6. White privilege is still going strong even when you might think we are above this. It is sad that someone who has the power to change perception is so tone deaf.

  7. Dear Mrs. Killjoy,
    I am white and I do not fit into this group either, so I do not read this magazine, but I also do not complain about it.
    I am not a gamer so I do not read computer game blogs.
    I am not a golfer, so I do not read golf magazines.
    Sometimes, glossy magazines are all about dreaming about things you do not have.
    Dreaming abut the new car, the latest hairstyle, the good looking celebrity on the front page.
    Etc., etc.
    Maybe, you need to review your own choices in the past, instead of throwing the race card.
    Maybe you need to set an example for yourself and do more for your community, instead of whining about others who may be doing plenty in the backgoruund that you do not see.
    Stop trying to shame white people.
    There are plenty of us that are down here with you, of all races and backgorunds, but some of us are looking up at the stars or making progress on our own dreams.
    Don’t take that away from us, because your mama didn’t marry her man or you got pregnant in high school or your son won’t pull his pants up and stay in at night cracking the books or getting a part time job. Attitude is everything.

  8. While I don’t entirely agree with Mr. Brown’s decisions, this is a private publication so he gets to do what he wants to do with his magazine.
    We, however, can choose not to participate or support him or his publication.
    We are also welcome to start our own publication(s), targeting a demographic more like ourselves (which is most likely what Mr. Brown has done here).

  9. I am in the target demographic listing here but I don’t care who you are, no one can argue that Mr. Brown’s response was completely irrational and a horrible way to handle the situation. As a business owner he may have the right to handle it that way, but that doesn’t make it right. I have lived in this city for over 30 years and it is widely known that Hal Brown the owner of Fort Worth Magazine is one of the most arrogant and egotistical men in this city. Thats no secret to anyone and his response is just another example of his flawed way of thinking and bad decision making.

    • Thank you! I agree with another poster that the name “Fort Worth Magazine” implies that this rag is for everyone in Fort Worth, not just the wealthy. What an ass.

  10. You know life is good when all you have to cry about is representation in a private publication. Count your blessings and stay in your lane, Woke Choke.

  11. It would be nice to have a Fort Worth magazine that is inclusive and interesting. If the owner hadn’t published such an offensive and tone-deaf editorial, this issue would have died. Kind of glad he showed his true colors so those of us who don’t even know who he is are enlightened.

  12. It’s hard to feel anything about this for several reasons. 1) Fort Worth Magazine is as much a magazine and Hal Brown is as much an editor as Green Sheets is a newspaper. Who doesn’t know this ? Companies who buy subscriptions pay for “advertorials”, FW published photos taken at events held by these companies to highlight the hierarchy which is Fort Worth society who appears to be indecipherable in their choices of style, thought, and er…. um “skincare” regime. Does this point need to be made? 2) The BEST of this is “editor” Hal Brown’s ( my god, the decisions this man must make) reaction which was COMPLETELY honest. Good for him he did the absolutely wrong thing someone in his position should do and should have said .. Nothing. 3) Choke doesn’t belong in Fort Worth magazine, and she should be pleased by that. 4) Panther Media Group, parent company to FW magazine, exists as a tax shelter for similarly named investment group whose tax records are truly an exceptional work of editorial prowess ….. allegedly …..

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