Having Our Say

December 27, 2008

Over the break I picked back up Allison Samuel's book "Off the Record." I was really excited to meet this amazing journalist at Howard, and I won't lie I hoped to follow a path similar to hers as I already had the Georgia background (she's from Augusta) and HBCU connect (she went to Clark) down. Her career at Newsweek has been historic as she has been a real griot of the biggest stories in Black entertainment - Tupac/Biggie beef, Denzel thanking her the night he won the Oscar for the impact her profile on him and the Oscar, Angela Bassett and Whoppi's reactions to Halle's win. And honestly her stories show what an amazing reporter she is and something else is clear - she is telling stories only she can tell. (who knew Snoop partied with his jurors after the murder trial or his hair was more laid then his wife's at their wedding?)

I cringe looking back at my attitude to covering stories like a Kwanzaa one I was asked when I was interning, when I wondered if I was being asked because I was Black and why not Hanukkah. Well, yes my race may have been a part of the assignment, but is that bad? Who else better to tell that story then someone who grew up participating in Kwanzaa events at church and ironically am going to one today? Sure you don't want to be pigeonholed into only Black stories, but with so few of our faces and stories in mainstream media (well, pre-Obama:) her story made it clear how vital it is having people knowledgeable in a culture telling that culture's stories to a broader audience. And there's nothing more American than that