Thursday, March 4, 2021

This Needs to be Said: Black Hollywood is Failing the Black Press!

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*We are (partially) posting an article by HelloBeautiful.com’s Keyaira Kelly that captures the plight of black media in Hollywood (and even other industries) where once a black celebrity or public figure “crosses over” and gets mainstream acceptance, they (not all, but far too many) all of a sudden don’t have time for those outlets that helped start their careers when other (white) media wouldn’t give them the time of day. 

Yes, we mean you, Black Hollywood!

Unfortunately, the situation is not a new one at all. The problem, in one form or another has been going on for decades. However, Ms. Kelly has accurately captured the situation as it pertains to today’s black media outlets. This is information that you as a reader and supporter of this black owned media company needs to know. 

We encourage you to read and share this important story. – Lee Bailey/Publisher/EURweb.com 

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*I was a budding journalist nervously going over my iPhone notes for my first red carpet interview when I noticed it. I was proudly standing on the HelloBeautiful place marker waiting for the behind-the-scenes chaos to begin, when I spotted around my feet the strategic placements of almost every other Black outlet in the space. It doesn’t take a veteran to realize the Black press cluster at the end of red carpet lineups makes Black reporters susceptible to the brush-by of celebs and publicists who politely quip, “sorry, ran out of time” as they scurry out of view. Black media often receives rushed statements, or no comment at all, even though that same Black celebrity stopped for E! Online just moments ago.

The strategic cafeteria table-esque segregation of Black press on red carpets is one of many micro-aggressions we face as Black journalists. And while being placed at the tail-end of a carpet is more indicative of the predominately White media system and its value assessment of Black press, these oversights are even more hurtful when they come from your own people. The fact is, too many of our Black celebrities are simply not supporting us.

Most, if not all,  Black celeb power seeds in our communities. The dominant corporations and media powers-that-be mine our talent and resources for the “next big thing.” And Black media celebrates when our people are plucked out of our silos and make it. We cheer as they float up into mainstream heaven with the hopes that, as they ascend, that they will still feel our loose grips on their balloon strings and tug back.

But all too often, that mutual support just isn’t felt. In many cases, once a celebrity passes a certain status, they completely forget about those same Black media outlets who were among the first to cover them and their talents.

We live in an age where social capital immediately translates into monetary capital. Re-tweets and shares translate into clicks, which drive traffic and advertising dollars and revenue. That’s the reality of our business model. So when small teams of Black journalists take the time and effort to profile a Black celebrity with a large reach and that content isn’t shared with the influencer’s audiences, the impact reverberates through us all.

Just a simple scan of some of your favorite Black celebs Twitter and IG feeds and you would discover links to and RTs of interviews they did with White outlet after White outlet, while Black-owned, Black-run press is often omitted from the conversation. 

I don’t write this with the intent to say the erasure is entirely malicious or even conscious. The lure of White validation is something we’ve all been conditioned to seek. In 2016, Very Smart Brothas writer Damon Young, unpacked how he, and many other Black people, subconsciously value “the attention of the mainstream platforms more than the Black ones”–even if they don’t show us the same love back. We still throw up our hands in outrage when we lose Oscars and Grammys and Golden Globes to mediocre White talent, when in reality those systems were never created to celebrate us in the first place. 

Finish reading this article at Hello Beautiful.

 

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