Power Point

Issue no.8 of Riposte magazine is out – loud and proud. We hear from editor-in-chief Danielle Pender about cover star Ericka Hart, and the moments in the mag's history that have shaped it's place as a must-read.

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Cover of Riposte #8 featuring Ericka Hart shot by Shaniqwa Jarvis

01 Tell us about Ericka Hart and that heart-stoppingly great cover for issue eight...
I’d gone to the women’s march in January and, like a lot of other women, had loved it and felt powerful and was inspired by the amount of people who had turned out.

And then, later in the week, I watched a speech from the women’s march in Philadelphia by Ericka Hart, who basically called bullshit on the whole thing. She questioned who it was for, asked why all the knitted pussy hats were pink and made the point that just having a pussy didn’t make you a woman.

She raised loads of points that I’d never even thought about and made me think differently. She also did it topless in Philadelphia in January, because her other reason-for-being is raising awareness about breast cancer in younger audiences.

As soon as I saw Hart, I really wanted to feature her because she embodies everything we think is important at Riposte. She challenges what you think about a number of issues but in a way that you can’t help but sit up and listen. We’d worked with Shaniqwa Jarvis who shot the cover on a few of our past issues. We really like her, she’s super easy to work with – she gets us and we knew she’d get Ericka.

The images are tender but confrontational, they’re fun but powerful and they’re exactly what we’d hoped for. With this as the image cover it made us very nervous. I didn’t want it to be seen as being controversial for the sake of it. But this is Ericka, this is how she styled herself and this is her message. We wanted her in the magazine because of her work and because of what she stands for so it was only right that this is what the cover should look like.

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Spread from Riposte #8 featuring Ericka Hart shot by Shaniqwa Jarvis

With issue eight, it feels like we’re more where we want to be with the image cover, something that has a message, that is arresting and bold

02 Since issue five, you've offered a choice between the text cover and photographic cover – what prompted that choice and how has it been received?
After four issues of a white text cover we felt like we were starting to plateau with how many people we were reaching. We were a little bored with it and we thought, "if we’re bored our readers probably are". The image cover was introduced to reach a different audience who were perhaps put off by a text cover, or felt like it wasn’t for them. With issue eight, it feels like we’re more where we want to be with the image cover, something that has a message, that is arresting and bold.

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Spread from Riposte #8 featuring kick boxer Ruqsana Begum

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Spread from Riposte #8 featuring Cunst Art project by Caroline Coon

03 What have been the landmark moments that shaped Riposte between issues one and eight?
There’s been so many! I’d say featuring Nova in issue five was big as it had a massive influence on me personally – from the topics it covered, to the design and photography. Its covers were sometimes thought-provoking and challenging but they were always beautiful – they dealt with huge issues in a really cool, smart and interesting way so that was the benchmark we wanted to aim for with Riposte.

Also, I got this really awful email from a well-known male photographer around the time of the second issue. He said that Riposte was embarrassing and I should be ashamed of myself. I sometimes think of this dude when we’re putting the issues together, he inspires me to make it the best it can be.

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Spread from Riposte #8 featuring article Islam & Feminism by Shabana Kausar

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Spread from Riposte #8 featuring article by Angela Saini

04 Give us a stand-out quote, page or image from issue eight that sums up where Riposte is as a magazine today.
“If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you I want everything,” from Kathy Acker. Kathy Acker was a punk, feminist, anarchist who didn’t adhere to the rules and neither did her writing. I came across book of emails between her and McKenzie Wark a while ago. The two had a short affair and it’s a book of their emails when she returns back to America and he’s in Australia. They’re an amazing insight into the very personal lives of these fascinating characters. So we have some of those emails in the feature and Maisie Skidmore looks back at her life, work and legacy.

For the launch event on Sunday APFEL has created this brilliant poster from the Acker quote that we’re going to be screen printing live.

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Kathy Acker quote poster for Riposte, by APFEL

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Spread from Riposte #8 featuring Dr Fiona Vera-Grey's project Women on Porn

Buy your copy of Riposte here.

The new issue of Riposte launches with an all-day event featuring brunch, talks, panels, photography workshops, wellness sessions, screen-printing, live illustrations, film screenings, nail art and a party on  Sunday 21 May at The Ace Hotel, London. Tickets here.

Danielle Pender and Shaz Madani of Riposte are giving a talk at magCulture Shop, 270 St John Street, London this evening (18 May).