PITCH, a magazine dedicated to showcasing Black creative expression through photography, visual art, and writing, is finding its new home at the University of Toronto. What once began as an independent passion project for founder Angelo Grant has grown to wide success with its vibrant pages full of contributions from Black creatives across the country.
Grant, a second-year medical student at U of T, started PITCH in 2019 while still in his undergrad at McMaster University. It began as a self-funded project, which Grant curated, designed, and printed out of pocket. He started PITCH because he couldn’t find a publication on campus dedicated to themes of the Black experience. In Grant’s experience, art spaces can often make Black artists feel othered, and he wanted PITCH to be a space where Black art is elevated and seen as valuable.
“I’ve gotten a lot of comments where people say they’ve never felt as seen as they do when they read PITCH magazine,” Grant said in an interview with The Varsity. “I think that speaks to how important it is to have a publication like this.”
After his first issue received a warm reception at McMaster, the university’s Museum of Art asked to collaborate on his second issue. For his third issue, Grant received scholarship funding dedicated to helping students pursue projects outside their field of study. Being a health science and now medical student, Grant concedes it can be a challenge to balance his magazine and his demanding studies.
Ultimately, Grant said that PITCH exemplifies the value of putting your ideas out there. “When I had the idea of starting [PITCH], I was very apprehensive because I [was] wondering what people are gonna think… I want people to like it and I wonder if I’m gonna get submissions and things like this. [But] I think if I had let all those thoughts stop me, I wouldn’t have ended up with this great experience and this publication that people enjoy.”
Although Grant launched PITCH all by himself, he credits many people who reached out and helped him execute his vision after seeing the initial success of the magazine. Hamilton-based artist Stylo Starr, who was curating an exhibit of Black collage artists at the McMaster Museum of Art, asked for the university’s exhibit to be featured in PITCH’s second issue, elevating the magazine’s artistic calibre and giving Grant and his growing team access to university funding and design support. Grant also spoke gratefully of fellow student collaborators, such as Adeola Egbeyemi, who reached out and asked to help with the graphic design and social media side of PITCH at McMaster, as well as his friend at U of T, Alexandria Amadasun, who offered to assist with creative direction and curating.
PITCH’s success has only been growing. “The support that I receive from people every single issue is so warm and people are so excited about it every single time,” says Grant. “Especially with the first [issue], I had no idea what the reaction was gonna be… but I put the covers up on Instagram, and I got so much love that I was just amazed and that’s pretty much been the trend with every issue.” Grant is now eager to launch PITCH’s fourth issue and see its reception at U of T. PITCH will be making its Toronto debut this spring.