Press Lives Matters: Amarie Gipson of Mud Magazine
Written By Daniel Haynes
When you hit the about page for Austin based Mud Magazine, this is what you see: “MUD Magazine is an independent publication inspired by a love for our hometowns and curiosity about the world. We are dedicated to capturing the essence of Southern culture by showcasing the diverse talents, work, and spirit of individuals across the region and beyond. Through creative storytelling and a finger on the pulse of innovation, MUD is the cultural compass of the South.” One of the persons behind making this mission statement a reality is Mud Director Amarie Gipson, a 21-year-old Houston Texas native. The Houston native is currently in her senior year at St. Edwards University where she is a Liberal Studies major and sociology minor. Modern Life Mag had the privilege of sitting down with Amarie:
How did you get involved in Mud Magazine?
Amarie: I remember one of my friends sent me a party flyer for a MUD event called Session one, which was basically a place where people can network. I went and I remember sitting on the sofa inside this house, cause the event was held at the house of the guys who had founded the magazine. I met the whole team, and it was just really chill. Soon as I got home I was on MUD Magazine just checking it out. A lot of the content prior to my arrival was music oriented, but the style of storytelling was very personalized, and I liked that. I was interning at an art gallery and looking for an outlet and MUD felt natural. I came on as Associate Editor in contributing Art- based content close to the 1- year anniversary in September 2015
What were your first experiences after coming on?
AMarie- The magazine went from throwing house parties to holding events, to even having our first physical print and new line of merchandize at the top of 2016. We started 2016 off with a whole line of momentum and at the time I was still in my sophomore year, so I was very happy I found my tribe.
What were some defining moments for MUD in 2016?
AMarie- We kicked off 2016 with Print 1 of MUD in January, and then took part in South by South West (SXSW) in March and it was a big defining moment for us. It put a lot of eyes on us and what we were doing, it catapulted us into a new realm in the city. Also, the original founders were all about to graduate which meant a lot of lifestyle changes and we had to find out how to adjust. MUD founder Quinton Boudwin got hired by VICE and moved to Brooklyn and he handed over the reins to me. I had always been a leader but it was a learning experience. We also released Print 1 of MUD in January, and in followed up with Print 1.5 in August 2016.
What was the transition like?
Amarie: It was fucking crazy! It was wild, 2016 was a crazy year for everyone, a lot in the news, we were all feelings anxieties and I got a lot of backlash, some of the old members were resistant to the change of me being in charge. We lost people but gained a lot of incredible people. Keeping everyone together was a big challenge, plus we had built up so much momentum that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Personally it was a big adjustment, I was figuring out how to lead a bigger team plus moving into my junior year of college. The fall of 2016 was very tough, and there was a lot of insecurity, I had second thoughts about doing this and I dealt with personal issues.
"Our events are always engaging and really fun and it’s always amazing to see the people we bring out. We’re always trying to provide a safe place for our demographic to get fucked up, to have a good time.
Black American culture dictates popular American culture and the way we’ve been able to bring attention to the south and culture in the south and showcase what the persons who aren’t in the mainstream are doing. Also knowing that what we’ve built is so unique."
What has MUD done in 2017 so far?
Amarie: We accumulated all the content from 2016 and had exclusive content which we turned into the best print for print. We released Print 2 as an ode to the south and a farewell to 2016 in January 2017. Also one of our biggest productions was in January 2017 and we were able to pay people in cash and it was three days before the inauguration happened. We walked into 2017 with momentum feeling that we were a space for the south and a space for the community. We also felt like we were pushing back against the media and making things people need to be reading. We came back to March to another SXSW event but we weren’t really interested in the partnership and for me since I wasn’t in charge. It was me letting other persons stretch out for themselves.
We went to Atlanta during 4/20 weekend and we had a great partnership, and sponsorship, and the partners met us with open arms. Right noow we’re on a hiatus but we have an upcoming project before we on a break as a thank you to the people.
What do you think is the biggest hurdle for MUD?
Amarie: Being consistent, it has been our biggest weakness we just like to trust that the people who fuck with us stay loyal to us and they know that we’re working on stuff and being an authority in the South. Our lack of resources also contributed to a lack of consistency and it’s been hard to scale back and know that the pressure we have is the pressure we’re putting on ourselves.
On the flip side what has been your biggest success at MUD?
Amarie: Every time we host an event of any sort it’s always a success. Our events are always engaging and really fun and it’s always amazing to see the people we bring out. We’re always trying to provide a safe place for our demographic to get fucked up, to have a good time. Black American culture dictates popular American culture and the way we’ve been able to bring attention to the south and culture in the south and showcase what the persons who aren’t in the mainstream are doing. Also knowing that what we’ve built is so unique.