"WE CARE ABOUT THE CULTURE, WE CARE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY, WE CARE ABOUT BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER, WE CARE ABOUT TELLING STORIES THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE THAT SHINE."
PRESENT YOURSELF. WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
My name is Tagwa. I'm the founder of Darby magazine, visual storyteller. I think my story is kind of authentic and similar to how No Diploma started. I didn't quite fit in with the general way of telling stories and covering football in North America. I don't really care and Darby doesn't really care about results. Of course, if Canada's winning, that's a result we care about. But we care about the culture, we care about the community, we care about bringing people together, we care about telling stories that might not have that shine. (...) Yes, it's cool to hear the Alphonso Davies story, but no one knows the Ringleader stories. No one knows the stories of Jonathan David. No one knows the stories of Beaconsfield out in Toronto, and that's why I created Darby magazine. Especially in North America, but specifically in Canada, nobody knows anything about us. That's how Darby got started, just for a lack of cultural stories, a lack of stuff that goes on beyond the pitch, humanizing players, and just like actually not giving a damn about if they had a bad game, what their equity is, or anything like that. We could care less.
WHAT DO YOU GUYS DO AT DARBY?
Obviously, we're a magazine, but we want to be so much bigger than that. We want to be kind of something that brings the community together, brings like-minded people together. We like telling stories that haven't been told, or stories that are deserving to be told, and also we want to bring up minority groups and people that aren't represented correctly, whether that be LGBTQ plus community, whether that be Black folks, Black ballers, Asian ballers, everything. We want to be able to have that. And we also want to be able to bring Canadian culture together, because nobody knows what that is. And it's not really defined what the Canadian football culture is. That's because it's literally like a melting pot, Canada and the soccer community. Our two best players, Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, aren't actually born in Canada. So that tells you a lot about the culture that we have. And that's kind of why we want to dive deeper into.
WHY DOES FOOTBALL NEED DARBY?
Well, I think actually Darby needs Canadian football and vice versa. Because everyone that's on the Darby team, for the most part, grew up watching football and loving football and idolizing what we saw overseas. But we never really had that here. So that's why I think Canada needs Darby because we're creating that culture. We're bringing those cultures together.
HOW IS CANADIAN FOOTBALL RIGHT NOW? AND HOW DO YOU SEE IT PROGRESSING?
Canadian football is crazy because right now, most people would think we're at our peak. Shout out to the women who just won their gold and rightfully so, like they're not getting the credit that they deserve. And the men, they're not at their peak yet. They're just starting to make waves with players like Phonzie to Jonathan David, the list goes on. (...) So I think it's only going to get bigger and better. But again, it's still very early because there's still so much beyond the pitch that people don't know about, you know, there's still so many communities that people don't know about that have been making waves within their own communities that can inspire others to help grow it in different provinces.
WHAT KIND OF IMPACT IS THE CURRENT GENERATION OF PLAYERS HAVING ON THE YOUTH?
I think it's kind of limitless at this point. We were talking about it earlier today, actually, where we're walking through like who's your favourite player? And none of us picked a Canadian because growing up, there was no one. But I bet you there are kids all over this country now who are like, 'Who's your favourite player?' Alphonso Davies. 'Who's your favourite female player?' Christine Sinclair. We never had that growing up. So now it's in a good place.
"DON'T LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO DO SOMETHING, PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN AND WORK HARD."
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON KNOWLEDGE OF SELF?
I think knowledge of self is just like, knowing who you are, what you stand for, and why you're doing what you're doing. And for me, that's a number of things like family. Both my parents immigrated from Zimbabwe to Canada. When you think of Africa, people think of huts. That's how my mom grew up. So it's actually crazy. Like, my mom is one of my biggest inspirations because she's not supposed to be here. I'm not supposed to be here. My mom grew up, not supposed to be going to school past grade four. And she's retired now and she was very successful at what she was doing. So that's like, a very big thing for me. So like knowledge of self is knowing and understanding that I'm not supposed to be here, but I'm here and I'm going to make the most out of it. It's just knowing that and understanding that for me.
A PIECE OF ADVICE FOR OTHER YOUNG AND FUTURE FOOTBALL CONTENT CREATORS?
First of all, I hate the word content. But my advice for creators would be just do what you feel is right. And like, forget what anybody says. Because when I started photography, when I really wanted to take it seriously, a lot of people made fun of me for it. I feel like we've all been in that scenario where people make fun of you and it's hard. You just got to push through it remember your knowledge of self and know why you're doing it. And those same people that made fun of me are now like, 'Oh, we love Darby. Oh, we want to take pictures now. Oh, I'm taking pictures now.' So that's what I would tell people: don't listen to the naysayers. If you really want to do something, put your head down and work hard. That's the advice I would give and have fun with it because a lot of people can take things too seriously. And we're all blessed to be here. So you might as well enjoy it while you're here.
DARBY WILL BE RELEASE THEIR SECOND ISSUE VERY SHORTLY. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR WHAT'S TO COME.