By: Ciara Pinkney
Merely 200 years after the founding of Black Press, conversations regarding its importance in society are drowning out in the stands.
#BlackPressMatters — has become a frequent hashtag like many important issues that have been systemically dismissed and oppressed. Circumstantially resulting in the notion for inclusion, diversity, and representation unexpectedly from one’s own people.
Quite the issue persists when Black news outlets, media, and reporters are not granted equal opportunities to interview, exercise their abilities to cover stories, release exclusives or even hold conversations that shed light on and uplift the Black community.
Individuals have invested countless hours of research and preparation to be turned down, given staccato responses or brushed off on the red carpets and even in interviews.
Nearly 200 years ago, the first Black newspaper titled Freedom Journal was released in 1837, followed by other forms of press such as the Anglo-African magazine established in 1859, the Savannah Tribune founded in 1875 and Afro-American in 1892–giving Black communities a sense of empowerment and the ability to tell one’s own stories through a familiar lens.
The Black voice—a voice silenced, devalued and undermined for years deserves a platform to represent the culture that is privately shamed and publicly appropriated. After fighting for hundreds of years, the Black voice should not become a relic of the past time.
The relationship between Black talent and Black Press should be stronger than ever in today’s dismal and schismatic world. The joy felt to see a face whose color is all too familiar to one’s own, standing on the same platforms should be emotionally connective enough to motivate Black talent to reach back and tag in another Black individual.
At the 2019 BET Awards, Tyler Perry; actor, filmmaker, playwright, and comedian, provided a compelling word of motivation during his Ultimate Icon Award acceptance speech.
“There are people’s whose lives are tied into your dreams,” said Perry.
These motivating words were provided following a short anecdote of Perry’s childhood, in which he remembers helping a man cross the street to get to his small entrepreneurial business. Perry recounts his journey in a predominantly White industry and how important it was for him to create his own lane and employ talent and personnel who look like him.
As people accomplish our dreams, it’s of importance to hold the doors open for others to walk through.
Black Press is important to the culture of media because it gives the Black voice value and a platform to be heard, understood and experienced from a valid source.
It is imperative to allot time for Black media and support the platform on which Black Press rests. For so long, Black insight was invalidated, undermined, suppressed and ignored.
Black celebrities—be encouraged to indulge in conversations with Black media on the carpets and in interviews and share the content and your experience. The world is a digital funnel where sharing content translates into clicks and awareness via social media which develops the ability to convert to social capital.
Collectivism and reaching back are the answers to diversifying media, news and entertainment with faces that look similar to yours and experiences you can relate to.
For decades minority voices have been conditioned to believe their voices hold little to no merit. This unconscious behavior of seeking validation from our counterparts as if there is no value in Black platforms should be unlearned.
The current climate is in need of Black perspectives and it must celebrate one another publicly, there is a level of importance in Black interests. Let’s share the platform, the light will only brighten.
Because Black Press matters.