BY SID MARCH
Eboné Bell practices what she preaches. In a few short minutes of chatting, Bell treats me, a stranger, like a friend. “Are you coming to the party this Saturday?” she asks casually, not yet realizing that I’m several hundred miles away.
I so wish! Alas, I have Lesbian.com pieces to work on, another job, and a very controlling cat who would be supremely unhappy if I dashed off to this extremely exciting, big news, launch party for the absolutely fantastic Tagg Magazine in Washington, DC.
Bell is the driving spirit behind Tagg, the DC area’s brand spankin’ new bent ladies’ magazine. Made for women, by women, Tagg aims to be smart, savvy, and majorly community oriented. In fact, community and unity are the dominant themes of our whole conversation, and Bell’s amicable energy make it seem very real: Tagg doesn’t just aim to bring women together. Tagg will bring women together.
Tagg launched in the beginning of September with a fall issue featuring Project Runway’s Alicia Hardesty, but this coming weekend is the primo, grand celebration of its emergence into the DC/DelMarVa scene. Bell and her business partner have teamed up with the ladies of LURe, responsible for some big DC girl parties, to host an official launch at the legendary Cobalt. From 9p.m. to 10p.m. at Level One, Tagg will give the VIPs who have supported the magazine in its infancy some love with a swanky cocktail hour thank you. Upstairs, from 10p.m. to 3 a.m., there will be dancing, drinking, “TAGGing” and a wild good time. The locally legendary Destruction Dancers will perform a special routine on stage. A dance contest will grant the best dancer in the crowd a $200 prize. Raffle boys and girls will cruise the room, offering up tickets to try your luck for gift certificates, Washington Wizards seats, and an authentically signed poster and CD donated by Nicki Minaj, herself.
Bell has built Tagg from the ground up, her team consisting of herself, her business partner, and the numerous supporters and contributors who have graciously offered their creativity and skills to the project. They, too, felt there was something missing in the women’s community in the DC area, and have enthusiastically responded to Bell’s call to bridge the gap. From the constantly updated, well-designed website focusing on local events, lifestyle pieces, and LBT-relevant news, to the bi-monthly, full color, glossy print issues of Tagg, to the ongoing parties throughout the area, it is all intended to reach and unite the community. “We want […] everyone from the young professionals to the more established women who are living out in the ‘burbs, single family homes all the way out in […] Virginia or Maryland …we really want to make sure that this magazine speaks to them and everyone in between. We want to make it a people magazine, a local lesbian publication. We want to have local community.”
And while it is a lesbian publication, it’s not rigidly exclusive. Bell is not interested in drawing divisions based on gender or the nuances of personal identity and limiting the reach of community and interpersonal connections. A transguy gets “TAGGed” in one of their promo videos. Bell never leaves out bisexual women when referencing Tagg’s readers or audience. A well-known trans-rights activist, a transwoman, is quoted in their “That’s What She Said” feature. Tagg is voicing from the start that community is bigger and better when that community is welcoming.
“It isn’t about me or one other person,” Bell says. “How often can we have 600+ women in one space to network, connect, grow friendships, meet your future wife — you never know! We’re bringing everyone together and feeling like this is ours, that we finally have something in this community.”
Check out Tagg online: http://www.taggmagazine.com.
Tagg Magazine’s Official Launch Party will take place Saturday, October 20, at Cobalt, 1639 R St NW, Washington DC. The event will be hosted by the ladies of LURe/Bare, 10 pm to close with DJ Rosie.