In August 2014, Complex flew to Ferguson, Mo. to do something we’d never done before: report in real-time on the civil unrest occurring in the wake of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, at the hands of a police officer. Covering serious topics wasn’t new to us—following entertainment and convergence culture, you can’t help but step into the arena of real-world strife—but this story, and our commitment to telling it from our perspective on the ground, was different. As a staff, we felt a responsibility to do something, and we felt strongly that the reporting would be important to you as well. We were right; in Ferguson, night after night, readers spoke to us on West Florissant Ave., glad we were telling their story, rather than leaving it in the hands of the major news networks. In New York during the Eric Garner protests, and in Baltimore during the Freddie Gray protests, we heard the same sentiment. Still, we didn’t have a proper home for this coverage.
Now we do. This is Complex LIFE.
We want to know: How does this culture live (and nurture and heal itself) when it’s not debating the best rapper of the year, or analyzing the latest news from Sundance, or considering safety in the NFL, or at the club, or out buying gear? Bundling together the kinds of reporting Complex has been doing about activism, race, campus life, sex and romance, money and work, citizenship and American politics, LIFE will be the place for stories from the people who look and sound like you. Of course, as the times change, so will we; our focus will be defined by its flexibility and breadth. As ever, the guiding question will be: How do you live in the current moment?
If this sounds very serious, remember that there’s a crying Jordan face out there waiting for each and every one of us, and if you can’t find something to laugh at in your life, the world will ruin you. So, many of the things we’ll report on won’t be dire. All of social media is basically one big dating app, and investing in multiple pairs of Yeezy Boost 350s is maybe not a great retirement plan—there’s a lot to poke fun at in 2016.
It’s a common refrain among our staff that the best jokes are written in rooms of keen, uninhibited thinkers, and that belief in collaboration will inform everything LIFE does. Not that each story will be told by committee, it’s more that no single perspective will be privileged. Good storytelling and reporting needs the power of many voices.