What’s rarer than being admired for honesty and authenticity in pop culture? Making a comeback in it after 40 years. The formula: Blend something universal with anything sensational. Add a dash of digital 2020s panache, and you’ve got “Head” magazine, reborn.
Welcome back, “Head”!
In this era, we take printed courage for granted; people are a lot more ballsy in public today than they were decades ago. So, it’s hard to imagine what it was like to speak openly – and favorably – about drugs and sex at a time when you weren’t guaranteed prosperity from it. And yet, Charlotte Parker (then Greenberg) did just that. And succeeded admirably.
“Back then we took incredible risks to cover the new world of marijuana and drug culture, the law, music, sex, and lifestyle issues of the time,” she explains. “We think we did a good job keeping things real, and we know we were dearly beloved.”
The magazine championed pot legalization at a time when the decriminalization of marijuana was only just getting started. (Check out some of Charlotte’s original editorials here.) Before 1973, at least 29 states (depending on your source of information) had actually banned or criminalized cannabis. So, voices risen in the plant’s defense were mere whispers then, whereas today they’re more like fearless roars.
But that was just one aspect of “Head”’s foray into the battle for realigning America’s perception. The magazine also challenged consumers’ views on art, pushing the limits with controversial photos at a time when the country was still pretending to be prudish. “Our photos may have been beautiful to some and outrageous to others,” Charlotte concedes, “but they were never dull.”
But it wasn’t a matter of exploitation, being controversial as a pretense for tricking the attention span of the masses into feeding on the publication’s contents. To the contrary, it was loaded with purpose. At a time well before the Age of Information and free overnight shipping for online purchases, freedom of speech in fiercely courageous publications like “Head” was a rare commodity. The magazine sought to provide exposure and access to taboo things its readers likely wouldn’t otherwise have known about. “Even our ads became a much needed portal to products and paraphernalia that were available nowhere else,” Charlotte observes. So, really, you’d be surprised by how many unknown unknowns are out there.
Curious about what’s being discussed openly in the present age ahead of its socially acceptable time? Or about what’s going on in the fight to legalize pot throughout the U.S.? Or about niches of pop culture that are sneaking into the spotlight? Go check out “Head” at http://headmagazine.com/ and see what you’re missing.