LaKase Cousino, the founder and editor-in-chief of the quarterly multicultural fantasy magazine The Seelie Crow, is an author and filmmaker who also runs Cous Cous Media, a multimedia company dedicated to uplifting voices in fantasy. We talked to Cousino about her favorite fantasy properties, her inspirations, and what the magazine has to offer.
How did you come up with the magazine’s concept? I have always been a fan of fantasy, and a dream of mine, besides becoming an author, was to create a magazine! I wasn’t sure if it was something I could do, but it was still a dream I couldn’t shake. There weren’t magazines I was aware of like mine when I was younger, so I stuck to books and the occasional Cosmopolitan issue. Last year, I finally decided to give it a try. I researched what I needed to do business-wise, then reached out to friends to see if they wanted to join. The concept came quite easily, which was a surprise. I love fairies, mythology, and folklore. In folk tales of the fae from Scotland, the seelie are good fairies who like a bit of fun. Crows are intelligent and community oriented. They’re also symbols of magic. So I put those two together to get the name.
What are some of your favorite fantasy properties (novels, movies, etc.)? I was a huge Harry Potter fan as a kid, but have moved on to writers like Octavia E. Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, and Juliet Marillier. They capture the essence of Fantasy for me: imagination and innovation. I loved Juliet’s Sevenwaters series, Kindred by Octavia E. Butler still gives me chills, and Binti was a revelation!
How has events like Black Fae Day affected people’s interest in your product? We wouldn’t be here without Black Fae Day! That event showed me I wasn’t alone and led to me finding the courage to start. And Jasmine (the co-founder) has helped to connect me with some truly amazing people! I think by just putting the product out there and standing proudly behind it, we’ve been able to draw people into our world. At least, I hope that’s the case! So far it seems like people just like being able to see themselves, which makes me so happy.
What are your goals for the publication? I would love for the publication to be a space that lasts for many years and makes people feel braver in their daily lives. I want this space to always be a resource, a way for writers to get their foot in the door, and an outlet for creativity. If I can do those things, I think I’ve been successful.
What do you want readers to come away with after reading it? I would be so happy if readers walked away daydreaming. That sounds a little silly, but I mean that I want people to feel safe tapping into their own sense of joy and whimsy. Fantasy is supposed to be an outlet for our imagination, a space where we can be silly without judgment. I really just want people to know it’s ok to keep on dreaming and creating worlds that would have mattered to their child-selves.
Any special events planned for the magazine in the near future? Yes! We are now open to submissions, which I was happy to announce. I want more people involved and, thanks to support, can keep paying them. We also have something special coming this Fall that I can’t wait to announce, so please stay tuned! All in all, I am just so excited for the future. As our little community grows, so will opportunities for us to do special events and continue to help people feel seen.
Anything else you want our readers to know? Hi, readers! I hope you know you’re special, your stories are of value, and nothing can stand in your way for long. Being able to do this hasn’t been easy for me, but it’s so worth it in the end. I’m making friends, I’m learning, and I’m rediscovering how powerful sharing a little of myself is. Whatever your passion, or outlet for creativity, please give yourself the space and grace to see it through. I can’t wait to celebrate your work!
For more info on The Seelie Crow, visit theseeliecrow.com!