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Vibe Mag returns with Chris Brown on the cover

November 3, 2009 |  3:23 pm

When Vibe Magazine closed its doors in June, there was a chorus of sadness -- for that magazine's coverage of hip-hop and other music, and for music magazines in general. Two months later, a group of investors stepped in with plans to revive it, both online and in print.

The first edition of the new print Vibe is due to hit stands Dec. 8, and it's bound to stir up controversy. The cover will feature Chris Brown, who pleaded not guilty to assaulting Rihanna in August and has been on tour this fall. Actually, that's half the print run -- the other half will feature rapper Drake. But for all Drake's visibility, Brown's notoriety is already drawing attention.

Advertising Age observes:

If the choice [of Brown] succeeds in generating the buzz that's intended, Vibe's cover will show off the power that print can still wield. Putting a feature about the tarnished pop star online alone, by contrast, probably wouldn't stand to get the same attention.

The new Vibe will print just four times a year; Vibe.com, the new owners insist, is the hub. "Whether it's the magazine, or we decide to do some kind of TV programming down the line," editor in chief Jermaine Hall told Advertising Age, "everything needs to come back to Vibe.com."

Meanwhile, the often snarky Village Voice is pulling for Vibe, in whatever forms it takes.

We wish them luck--may they make enough money to employ all those they once laid off and perhaps, along the way, revive a magazine that was almost always essential, even at the very end.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Chris Brown performs in October 2009. Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images