In 1999, after her husband, Kevin Chiles, was sentenced to ten years in jail for dealing cocaine, Tiffany Chiles decided to create a publication for prisoners. Since its inception, Don Diva, a New York-based magazine ostensibly about gangsters and for gangsters, has been sold at popular American chain stores such as Borders, Books a Million and Tower Records. Billed as the “Original Street Bible” by Kevin Chiles, the magazine is actually geared toward 18- to 34-year-old hip hop enthusiasts. A Canadian edition, set to launch this month, will be promoted at a launch party tonight at the Fluid nightclub in Toronto.
Toronto indie hip-hop artist Kama, also known as Kamikaze, has partnered with Don Diva on the Canadian launch. He “bring[s] Canadian flair to the magazine as well as credibility with the readers,” says Tiffany Chiles. “He is going to be responsible for the content for the Canadian issue.”
Kama introduced and gave out copies of the current American edition at the Toronto Caribana carnival. Although Kama is the magazine’s main connection to Canada and his status as an artist will bring in readers, Chiles also notes that “Canada has a good independent music market and we saw a possibility for growth.” The New Jersey-based Curtis Circulation Company will distribute approximately 20,000 copies of the 120-page magazine this month with eight pages of Canadian content. Subscription prices are still being negotiated.
New-York based senior editor Steve-O will overlook the expansion of Don Diva Canada, acting as a liaison between Kama and the New York office. A journalist and fashion designer, Steve-O has also received many entrepreneurial awards in business.
The standard-sized quarterly will be sold on newsstands for a cover price of $5. Content includes coverage of urban living conditions, relationships, fashion, music, entertainment, legal and social issues, and street life. Past stories have included interviews with criminals, tips on where to hide drugs and advice on where to buy the best money-counting machines. According to a Washington Post story on the magazine, "photos of scantily clad women, most of them shot from behind to emphasize their thong-clad posteriors," are also a common editorial feature.
- "Don Diva reaches out to Canadian Youth" [Media in Canada]
- "Don Diva: Rap Sheets, Rap Stars and Pinups" [Washington Post]
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