Popular black media -- TV, magazines, blogs, new sites -- you're not helping.
One of my ongoing messages for this blog is for black women to understand the true power of the media. I think that we should retain control over our own images and publish our own stories.
It turns out the saying "your skin folk ain't always your kinfolk" is true for more than just individual people. It's also true when it comes to what we refer to as popular "black media."
A number of black media sites who should be lifting up positive images of black people spend most of their time publishing embarrassing or petty stories about black people (mostly women) instead (pssst, Sharkeisha). They laugh at the silly "negroes" acting a fool while publishing flattering pictures, stories and goings on about non-blacks.
By the way, black media includes blogs, news sites, magazines and television shows.
It Started with the MTV Awards
In case you haven't noticed it yet, "they" (meaning the media powers that be) have been trying to push white artists who appropriate, a.k.a. steal, black music to the forefront this year (2013).
They did this successfully with rock & roll folks -- it isn't new. The average person on the street thinks Elvis invented rock & roll.
MTV produced an entire awards show where white artists like Macklemore, Eminem, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and of course Justin Timberlake came out as "winners" over their brown-skinned counterparts/originators.
Now while watching the 2013 Soul Train Awards I noticed that they listed Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke as "soul singers" and dedicated an entire segment to "blue eyed soul."
I watched The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross special and one story it touched on was how Soul Train was probably the first televised representation of black people being creative and cool. It was one of the first representations of black people in a positive light on television in the midst of countless televised media celebrating white beauty, music, acting and art at that time.
So I can't help but feel a bit of a shock when I see Justin Timberlake celebrated on the Soul Train Awards in 2013 as "soul."
I think they are trying to quietly, slowly, wash black people out of the picture as the originators of R&B/soul music.
Black Media - Constantly Reaching
Now even though I may not be a fan of most of the artists mentioned above, I do respect the right for any artist to pursue whatever genre he or she desires. And certain white artists are very talented.
But let's face it -- black media (sites, blogs, TV) do a whole lot of REACHING on the behalf of mostly mediocre white artists, celebs and media don't they?
I get it. The majority of what we call "black media" is in the pocket of wealthy white media enterprises (who think most black people are stupid and easily brainwashed) so they will publish whatever they think will make some money and keep their outlets on the "up and up."
But isn't the purpose of "black media" to give voice to black artists who aren't heard much anywhere else?
At what point do we as black women and the black community in general reject these "black" media outlets when they really take it there? How far will we allow them to reach on behalf of black culture and speak it out into the world?
Are we going to just internalize the idea that Justin Timberlake has revolutionized "soul" music? Or are we going to retain our claim on our image, our culture and our art?
I obviously say option 2: but how do we do that?
We have to publish more positive black stories and financially support positive black artists.