“Some niggas think white ice is colder!” Charlemagne Tha God bluntly proclaimed at the 3:07 time-point of a recent Breakfast Club interview as Keyaira Kelly, of The TalkToYourMom Podcast, explained the systemic shortchanging of black press. Throughout the interview the Breakfast Club team and Ms. Kelly discussed the #blackpressmatters movement, the vibrant resurgence of black love in social media and female rights amongst a host of other topics.
The #blackpressmatters movement was born out of need, due to black media outlets consistently being overlooked, overshadowed and/or relegated to the “back of the bus” so to speak regarding press including long-form interviews, articles, promotional tours and red carpet affairs; in particular regarding black entertainers. One of the examples given by Ms. Kelly paints a picture of a red carpet landscape where major, chiefly white, media outlets are given prime position whilst black media outlets are grouped together and put towards the end of the red carpet. Many black entertainers either willfully overlook them or are urged past by their publicists for an array of reasons, most unreasonable. In the midst of this interview, Ms. Kelly also discusses the lack of public support by black entertainers to black media, even when they do provide interviews to these media outlets. Frequently many would conclude an interview and never share it, as if it was never performed. This, in a vacuum, is perfectly fine, but when looking in the macro, it can be troublesome. Many of these same individuals would share the previews of interviews with major media, largely in hopes of validation. Not only for the hope of validation, but the need for it.
She then made the point to acknowledge those A-List stars that do in fact give their precious time, especially those that go out of their way to do so. Halle Berry and Kevin Hart being some of the most notable names to prop up black media. This interview and all of its content brought myself to a eureka moment. One that I’ve always known, but have not always had the best wording to convey to an audience larger than a handful of friends. True support does not begin with acknowledgement, it begins with participation.
Participation for black media is not merely doing the interview. That is simply the starting line. Participation in black media begins when the subject posts the link, makes social media content prior; during and/or after the interview, or even reposts the Instagram flyer from the media member’s page. That is one of the chief ways media converts content to a gainful asset (in the form of clicks, expansion, promotions, bonuses, business opportunities, etc.). This concept of true support is prevalent in other creative mediums black people, and black culture on a wholistic level, operate within including, but not limited to, fashion, cinema, graphic design, painting, music and comedy.
Reposting a photo of your homeboy’s new t-shirt line is nice, but a photo of you wearing one could help him fund an expanded line. Shouting out your homegirl who does art is great, but doing so while one of her paintings hangs in your home could do wonders. Sharing the link for your friend’s next comedy show is cool, but posting your ticket confirmation shows other people you WILL be there. Posting a screenshot of your boy’s mixtape cover is dope, but posting a screenshot of your iTunes account after purchasing the single could give him the reassurance he so desperately needs. Raving about your cousin’s digital art is amazing, but using them to develop your next logo could bring tangible awareness to other suitors whom, as strangers, would much likelier patronize that service if they knew someone personally who had.
People do what you do, not what you say. Psychology supports this fact, which is evident in reference to the term of observational learning. Children learn from what parents do, not just what they say; especially if the words differ from the actions. Be an active participant in someone’s life, especially if you are on a first name basis. But alas, those are merely my humble thoughts for you to interpret as you will. In the wise words of Shawn Carter, “this is food for thought, you do the dishes.”
⁃ Pedro Cruz