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Magazine With a Mission

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TIMES FASHION WRITER

It’s about fuerza, which means power.

But the kind of strength Fernando Diaz, editor in chief of OYE magazine, a new L.A.-based national publication for Latino men, is talking about is the power to empower Latin guys.

With its slick 80-page premiere issue, OYE--which means “listen” in Spanish and is an acronym for Open Your Eyes--is seeking to undo stereotypes of Latin men.

And with nationally recognized writers and editors such as Jimmy Santiago Baca, Ruben Navarrette Jr. and Gene-Michael Higney on board--the English-language magazine will explore politics, religion, fashion, sex, the arts and more, says Diaz about the quarterly that hit newsstands this month. CODE, another L.A.-based national magazine for men of color debuted last month.

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“Our vision is to do something provocative, intelligent and savvy,” says Diaz, an actor and professional folkloric dancer who two years ago met with partners Cesar Recendez, OYE’s publisher, and associate editor Hector Sanchez, to talk about such a publication.

Over margaritas, OYE was born. For now, the three are working full time on OYE. Diaz put his acting career on hold, Recendez left his consultant position at Ernst & Young, and Sanchez has others operating his carburetor shop.

With a combined $60,000 investment from the three and more money from other investors, they launched OYE with 40,000 copies. The magazine targets upwardly mobile and career-driven Latin men, 21 to 39.

So far, the news is good, Recendez says. “We’re getting good reaction for subscriptions throughout the country” and advertisers “are very interested.”

And for good reason. Latinos make up the country’s fastest-growing ethnic group. Nationwide they have a 1999 projected purchasing power of $383 billion, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.

* To subscribe ($9.95) call (888) 781-5905 or log on to https://www.oyemag.com.

* Michael Quintanilla’s e-mail is: socalliving@latimes.com.

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