Ida B. Wells: A Forgotten (S)hero of the Media

Adam C. Williams, III

“THE PEOPLE MUST KNOW BEFORE THEY CAN ACT, AND THERE IS NO EDUCATOR TO COMPARE WITH THE PRESS… SOMEBODY MUST SHOW THAT THE AFRO-AMERICAN RACE IS MORE SINNED AGAINST THAN SINNING, AND IT SEEMS TO HAVE FALLEN UPON ME TO DO SO” (IDA B. WELLS).

As we proceed through Black History Month in 2012, it is critical that we as a people pay homage to and educate our youth on the ancestors that have paved the way; yet continue to receive little credit. The forgotten legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett is truly one of our greatest stories, hardly told. She would grow to be one of the great pioneer activists of civil and human rights throughout the Post-reconstruction period along with Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois. She worked alongside Susan B. Anthony, Black women’s organizations, and many other women’s rights advocate groups. Further, even though she was marginalized by her male comrades, and receives little recognition for her contribution to the development of the organization, she co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In addition, she was a political candidate, a mother, wife, and the single most powerful leader in the anti-lynching campaign. However, possibly her greatest achievements (yet least known and/or acknowledged) came by way of her contributions to the fields of media. She was a newspaper editor and publisher, as well as the greatest ‘Investigative Journalist’ ever, as she courageously cultivated and singlehandedly revolutionized the art-form.

Ida B. Wells was born in enslavement in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862. After emancipation in 1865, her parents, James and Elizabeth Wells, raised their daughter in a strict household which stressed education, religion, and politics. However, at the age of 16, tragedy struck her family as she lost both her parents and her 10-month old brother in the 1878 Yellow Fever epidemic which spread throughout the South leaving many casualties in its wake. At the age of 16, in order to keep her younger siblings together as a family, she dropped out of Rust College and found work as a teacher in a Black elementary school in Memphis, TN. She resented that White teachers were paid nearly three times more than her in the public schools. She describes in her auto-biography that this blatant form of economic and racial discrimination influenced her to take a greater interest in the politics of race and improving the education of Blacks.

Even though teaching was her first career and was highly praised for her creative approaches to classroom instruction, it has been said that she found the meaning of her life when she pursued her career as a journalist. In 1887, she created her own weekly column known as IOLA’s Letter, in which she used the alias IOLA, due to socially, racially, and politically charged statements that she published, which could’ve easily cost her life had her true identity been exposed. In these publishing’s she advocated self-help, education, and social reform for the Negro in America. Through her early writings and dealings with her contemporaries (both Black and White) she was described as “uncompromising” and “never backed down from anything and/or anyone”.

For nearly a century, it was illegal to teach Blacks to read and write. In 1877, the last of the Northern troops abandoned the South and left Blacks to defend themselves against their former enslavers. Southern states quickly enacted various laws to keep Blacks in subordinate positions and economically deprived. A massive propaganda campaign was unleashed in the press about African American genetic and cultural inferiority. Many in the mainstream press characterized the newly emancipated Negro as reverting to savagery since slavery was no longer in place to control them. Wells fought back with the ‘power of the pen’ as she boldly challenged the common practice of lynching Blacks throughout post-reconstruction. Most of these lynchings were well publicized and attendance boasted up to 10,000 spectators. So popular were these lynchings, that they became a place where entire families and communities gathered in their “Sunday Best”, cooked and ate food, took pictures while posing with the mutilated corpses, as well as took keepsakes and souvenirs of every part of the dismembered Black bodies (i.e.- ears, nose, eyes, hair, limbs, genitals, etc.). Some would even eat these body parts as forms of rituals.

Wells understood the economic and political influence that was used against Blacks. She not only intimately exposed the rest of the nation to the savage practices of White Southern culture, but she also retaliated by hitting them in their pocket books. Enraged after a large lynch mob stormed the jail cells and killed three of her friends (Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart). The incident stemmed from an altercation at a competitive Black owned grocery store where jealous Whites invaded the store of the three men. Wells furiously urged Blacks to leave Memphis throughout her persistent published articles and organizing efforts. It was during this time that Wells officially began her Anti-lynching campaign. She spoke on the issue at various Black women’s clubs, and raised more than $500 to investigate lynchings and publish her results. Her first pamphlet on lynching was titled Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in all its Phases.

Not deterred by the cruel and ever-present fate that she ironically might face in her investigations, she courageously continued to investigate and compile data on the causes of lynchings all throughout the South. As a result of the constant questioning of her data as credible and valid, she collected and organized both oral and written testimonies in a meticulous fashion in order to frame her stories. This revolutionized the media field and provided a blueprint for others to follow and measure their work in investigative journalism. Wells began her studies by exploring the charges given for the murders. She discovered the vast majority of these murders by mob violence were killed for such reasons as: Failing to pay debts, not appearing to give way to whites, competing with whites economically, and even being drunk in public. This dispelled the myth that White women were sexually attacked by Black men.

Following the lynchings of her three friends, through the use of the press, she actually influenced over 6,000 Blacks to leave Memphis, abandoning many of their possessions (i.e.- homes, land, businesses, community, etc.) in order to re-establish themselves in unknown territories, in hopes for better opportunities and treatment. Many of those that decided to stay; she again used her refined literary skills to influence many of them to organize boycotts of White owned businesses. Most White owned businesses and communities throughout Memphis, which were highly dependent on Black labor and/or Black consumption, significantly lost money. Many believe this to be the key reason that she was loathed by Southern Whites and had a bounty placed on her head. She later wrote, “They had made me an exile and threatened my life for hinting at the truth.”

Exiled out of the entire South, and threatened with death if she ever returned, Wells took refuge in Chicago and was quickly hired by The New York Age and continued her crusade against the evils of lynching Blacks in the South. With this widely distributed paper, she became one of the most widely read and popular Black writers during this time, being nicknamed the “Princess of the Press”. Even though Black men were the primary targets of these spineless and uncivilized attacks on Black life, it was Black Women in many instances who led the resistance. In 1892, Wells was a distinguished guest for the ‘Black Women’s Club Movement’ and joined forces to start the very first Anti-Lynching Movement. With Wells as the undoubted leader and outspoken personality of the movement, she led Black women across the country to defend the honor of Black men and the Black family.

She lived in Europe off and on for two years in order to gain further support and utilize mainstream media channels that would help to broadcast to the rest of the world the treatment that African Americans endured. Her tremendous efforts in the crusade against lynching, placed America’s morals and character onto the world stage. Wells understood how critical the southern economy relied on the English market. Now with the world paying attention, and the financial prosperity of the southern economy on the line as a result, forced America to at least be more discreet with their mal-treatment of Blacks; as mob violence against Blacks dramatically decreased. In fact, after 1894, there wasn’t another ‘recorded lynching in Memphis for almost two decades’. However, the blood of the Black community stained this period in US history, as 3,437 Blacks were recorded as being lynched between 1882-1952.

Ida B. Wells was one of the most influential figures in history, yet, most of us have never heard her story before, and we must understand that isn’t by accident. She represents the pinnacle of Black womanhood, and stood strong, tall, and many times alone when confronted with some of the most overwhelming odds and the cruelest acts of inhumanity. Her methodical research and honest assessments exposed the ugly side of this country’s treatment of Blacks and placed the American conscience on trial. Many would rather not be reminded of this period in history, and is why the legacy of this phenomenal woman continues to dissolve. Meanwhile, diluted and manufactured identities of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights Movement bombard our celebration of Black History. With the help of mainstream media including books, television, magazines, and even social networking sites, these rubber stamped narratives of the Black experience in the US saturate our minds to contribute in the belief that the totality of our history is relegated to non-violence, speeches, and passive-aggressive demonstrations. The legacy of Ida B. Wells challenges many of these pseudo-historical narratives and breathes pride into the deflated minds of our youth. All Blacks in the US, especially those in various realms of the media, should understand that it is on her shoulders in which we stand and it is time that we recognize and celebrate her in the books we read, movies we watch, streets we name, the t-shirts that we wear and the stories that we pass down to our children.

“… A HERITAGE TO WHICH OUR YOUNG PEOPLE WOULD BE PROUD. PROUD TO KNOW HOW THEIR FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS HANDLED THEIR BRIEF DAY OF POWER, DURING THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD. YET, MOST OF THIS HISTORY IS BURIED IN OBLIVION. OUR YOUTH ARE ENTITLED TO THE ‘FACTS OF RACE-HISTORY’, WHICH ONLY THE PARTICIPANTS CAN GIVE. I AM THUS LED TO SET FORTH THE FACTS CONTAINED IN THIS VOLUME. WHICH I DEDICATE TO THEM”.

—IDA B. WELLS-BARNETT (Autobiography) (1862-1931; R.I.P.)

For more information on this amazing Black woman:

1)    Read her Auto-Biography- Crusade for Justice: The Auto-Biography of Ida B. Wells

2)    Watch the Documentary- Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice

Black Press in Brazil: Another Chapter of Black History

Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto

The UN Year of Afro-Descendants, 2011, has just passed. We are in the Black History Month. March 21st is the time of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and in July 25th it will be the Day of the Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Women. In Brazil, November 20th is the National Day of the Blackness Consciousness. Days, weeks, and months have been utilized to highlight important facts in the history of Black population around the world.

It is obvious that these punctual celebrations do not solve problems related to racism; however, that was never their function. The dates are not responsible by the equivocate acts of historical subjects. So, the simple disqualification of these political struggle’s tools for recognition tends to be useless. If one day or month is not enough to catch up our experiences, we, producers and consumers of information, finally have the option of fomenting a more critical debate in our quotidian life.

Actually, if the legitimacy of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s dream to institute the Black History week in 1926 is undeniable, the present aspiration of diverse points in the African Diaspora is also legitimate. Beyond a localized project, the interest for the past as a path to transform the present and to generate a better future is an ancestry principle that can be found in the Sankofa, an adinkra ideogram, for instance, which means: “We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today”. In this sense this occasion is an opportunity to exercise the recognition of the shared histories. We have been learning a lot and we can learn more with each other by what we produced in music, images, movies, texts, verse and prose; our culture, indeed.

I have a special appreciation for Black newspapers. Beyond the limitations and contradictions of time and place, the contact with the writings which were published by and for black people, since slavery, with the objective of combating all kind of daily injustices have incalculable worth. I venture to say that reading a newspaper such as Freedom’s Journal, The North Star, Chicago Defender, The Crisis Magazine, The Black Panther – Intercommunal News Service, among others, should be stimulated and facilitated not only in this country. Via these newspapers we can see questions as well as a framing of how dialogs and alliances among stigmatized groups by the racism in diverse parts of the world had the strategic function of confronting injustices which were perpetrated in the Occident and Orient, with or without capitalism. Although I am interested in Black newspapers produced in the United States, I prefer to take the chance to share some information about the Black press in Brazil.

Brazil was never a racial paradise; it is completely different from what has been purported. This country emerged and depended on slavery of African and African-descents that presently represent the majority of the population (51%); however, African-Brazilians live in one of the most racial unequal countries on the planet. Since the racism problems are ancient, the resistance actions also represent an old framing.  Black newspaper production symbolizes the possibility of grappling with racism in Brazilian society.

The first titles were published in Rio de Janeiro in 1833. Although the slavery system was still powerful, free and freed Black people increased in numbers, and most gathered in the cities. The motto of the following newspapers was the defense of free black people citizenship: O Homem de Cor ou O Multato (The Colored Man), Brasileiro Pardo (Brazilian Brown), O Cabrito (The Kid) e O Lafuente.  Articles criticizes projects that intended to constitute a racial hierarchy. They aimed to classify people by their skin tones. Also in the 19th Century were newspapers that approached abolitionists themes and defense of rights to Blacks in the post-abolition period: O Homem: Realidade Constitucional ou Dissolução Social, published in Recife (PE) (The Man: Constitutional Reality or Social Dissolution), in 1876; A Pátria (The Homeland), in 1889; O Progresso (The Progress) in 1899, both edited in São Paulo (SP); and O Exemplo (The Example) that was written in Porto Alegre (RS), 1892.

The 20th Century saw the outcome of a larger number of press publications.  A few can be highlighted: A Alvorada (The Dawn); O Menelick, Clarim da Alvorada (The Dawn Clarin), Getulino, Progresso (Progress), A Voz da Raça, (The Voice of Race) – all of them produced between 1907 and 1937. They, among others, registered how Blacks protested against racial prejudice and State’s whitening attempts of the population.  They participated in public debates in several cities in Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, for instance. We must take in account that during this period the newspapers was added up with black women signatures.

As the newspaper publication started to be a common action in organization, the number of small Black newspapers increased considerably. A first example to be remembered is Quilombo: Vida, Problemas e Aspirações do Negro (Quilombo: Life, Problems and Black Aspirations), published between 1948 and 1950. This newspaper was a Teatro Experimental do Negro’s (Black Experimental Theater) product, and it was directed by Abdias do Nascimento. It was an essential source to access the Black intellectual thought in the mid century. In the final phase of military dictatorship, which last from 1964 to 1985, two edition of the Revista Tição (Tição Magazine) were published in Porto Alegre in 1978 and 1979, as well as the Revista Nêgo (Nêgo Magazine), instituted in 1981 by Movimento Negro Unificado’s (Unified Black Movement) activists in Salvador and became, in the end, the movement’s national entity by receiving a new title: Jornal Nacional do MNU’s (MNU National Newspaper). They overhung among all the other information sources.

Presently, almost all organizations have their own communication vehicles. It is also kept the efforts to the consolidation of more elaborated newspapers with national reach and ability to follow the daily life of black people. From the recent examples, we can cite the Revista Eparrei (Eparrei magazine), the Afropress, the Ìrohìn, the Correio Nagô and the Revista Áfricas (Áfricas Magazine). The problem is that these contemporary newspapers and magazines deal, practically, with the same social-economic-political maintenance difficulties which the past Black press experienced. This is represented by the intervals of publishing and closing of many of them as well. Lamentably, Ìrohìn (news in Ioruba language) experienced this difficult situation, and it was one of the most combative representatives of the black Brazilian press, which had all its activities canceled in 2010.

Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto is a Historian, journalist and activist of Black Movement in Brazil, visiting research at African and African Diaspora Studies Department of University of Texas at Austin.

What’s Happening Now: Liberation Film Series

Black Media Council and the Orun Center for Cultural Arts

Presents…

Liberation Film Series

Purpose:

This bi-weekly film series is designed to facilitate discussions around various issues impacting people of African descent both in the US and around the globe. In addition, the series is also geared around illuminating and celebrating the many filmmakers that utilize this artform as a tool of education and empowerment instead of one of mis-education and disempowerment. Following each showing will be a discussion!!!

Location:

Occurring Twice a Month at the Orun Center for Cultural Arts. Located in East Austin at

1401 b Cedar Ave, Austin, TX 78702. Go to the Facebook page for more info!!!

Schedule:

*Note- All film showings are scheduled to begin approximately at 7pm

1)     Friday, March 9th, 2012- A Great and Mighty Walk (90 mins.)- Dir. St. Claire-Bourne (1996)

This video chronicles the life and times of the noted African-American historian, scholar, and Pan-Afrikan activist John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998). Narrated by Wesley Snipes, this tremendous documentary is both a biography of Clarke himself and an overview of over 5,000 years of history from an Afrocentric approach. From ancient Egypt and Africa’s other great empires, Clarke moves thro ugh Mediterranean borrowings, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, the development of the Pan-African movement, and present-day African-American history in his own soulful style.

2)     Friday, March 23rd, 2012- 500 Years Later (108 mins.)- Dir./Written by Owen ‘Alik Shahadah/M.K. Asante Jr. (2005)

 A must see award winning documentary,500 years later from the onset of Slavery and subsequent Colonialism, Africans are still struggling for basic freedom-Why? Filmed in five continents, and over twenty countries, 500 Years Later engages the authentic retrospective voice, told from the African vantage-point of those whom history has sought to silence by examining the collective atrocities that uprooted Africans from their culture and homeland.

3)     Friday, April 13th, 2012- Bastards of the Party (95 mins.)- Dir. by Cle ‘Bone’ Sloan (2006)

 If you haven’t seen this film, you’re in for a real treat. Bastards of the Party traces the timeline from the great migration to the rise and demise of both the Black Panther Party and the US Organization in the mid- 1960s, to the formation of what is currently the culture of gangs in Los Angeles. The documentary also chronicles the role of the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI in the evolution of gang culture.

4)     Friday, April 27th, 2012- Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (60 mins.)- Dir. by Byron Hurt (2006)

This highly popular and award winning documentary provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. It pays tribute to hip-hop, while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for glamorizing destructive and deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood. The documentary features revealing interviews about masculinity and sexism with rappers such as Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss, and Busta Rhymes, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and cultural commentators such as Michael Eric Dyson and Beverly Guy-Shetfall. Critically acclaimed for its fearless engagement with issues of race, gender, violence, and the corporate exploitation of youth culture.

 

Post-Grad Professional

Derrick Davis

Landing that dream-job after graduation is a fantasy that many soon-to-be college graduates share. But don’t get caught up in daydreaming too long. Those who have landed fulfilling careers after graduation understand that the transition into the professional world begins long before registering for the last semester of coursework. In an interview with a recent UT graduate, and native Texan, Michelle Okeke gives BMC some insight on her experience starting a career in NYC after graduation. “Making sure to keep connected to your network is a big one,” Michelle says. “If not for mine, I would not be in this amazing apartment in Harlem, working in midtown Manhattan.”

Ms. Okeke finished her BA in Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin in May 2011, and landed a job as a media planner/buyer at Carat in New York City. I asked Ms. Okeke about what prepared her for the real world:

Derrick Davis: How do you think your degree (or time as a student) helped you in the professional world?

Michelle Okeke: My Degree definitely helped give me the solid foundation for my career. I’m currently working in digital media, and my understanding of that field can be attributed to the classes that I took while at UT as well as the intern opportunities I was afforded. My time as a student, however, taught me who I was as an individual, and that has helped to give me confidence and security in place (NYC) where it is easy to lose yourself.

DD: How would you recommend students prepare themselves for the job market prior to graduation?

MO: Internships, any type of real world experience is all that you can hope for. Also, time management is a big skill often taken for granted, but learning it will help you immensely.

DD: How can students work together to be professionally successful after graduation?

MO: Making sure to keep connected to your network is a big one. If not for mine, I would not be in this amazing apartment in Harlem, working in midtown Manhattan. Stay connected!

DD: What role(s) do you think social media has in landing a job after graduation?

MO: A lot of agencies blatantly put out employment opportunities through their Twitter pages. Also, sometimes agencies are scoping out who is using their social media network in an interesting way, and they use that as an avenue to consider a person for employment. I would say, don’t be fake with your social networks, only posting agency news/headlines, but let them know that you know the issues and also have a fun side – this always helps.

DD: In your experience, how beneficial was your internship?

MO: MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Internship Program) was the most important 10 weeks of my life. I learned so much about myself and the advertising industry. I was blessed with the opportunity to do my internship in New York, which is basically the mecca of all advertising, so I was fully immersed in the industry. Visiting agencies and learning about the different fields within advertising was mind-blowing. In addition, I met the people that would become lifelong friends, and some who would just be great connections in the future.

DD: How can students maximize their time as an intern?

MO: Have. FUN! At UT our motto is “work hard, play hard,” so everyone will tell you that the same intensity you put in at your 8-5, should be utilized in at your 5-8! Also, listen to your heart; don’t box yourself into one specialty too early in the game. If you feel like taking on a couple of tasks related to other fields that you may be interested in, do it! Internships are not jobs; they’re learning experiences.

Buy Black Corner: Turning up the Heat with Chi Chi Randolph

Tisia Saffold

Spring break is around the corner so who isn’t trying to tighten it up? Whether you’re trying to shed the pounds or tone up Chi Chi Randolph’s dance classes will do the trick. Raised in New Jersey and Texas, dance has always been a part of Chi Chi’s life. While earning a degree in Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M she made sure to incorporate dance throughout her college career.  Some of these experiences include being a member of Fade to Black Dance troupe, the Stepmaster for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and working as the University’s first Hip-Hop Dance Instructor.  Chi Chi put her hard earned engineering degree to use at a prestigious company but soon realized that her life was unfulfilling without dance. Against the better judgment of her friends and family she took the opportunity to intern at Broadway Dance Center’s. Chi-Chi immediately moved to New York City and later relocated to Atlanta, GA. Now an accomplished choreographer and businesswoman her resume includes appearances on ABC, CBS, MTV, BET, and has shared the stage with artists such as Nelly, Fabolous, Nas, and Trey Songz.  Chi-Chi’s videography includes the Rick Ross /R. Kelly “Speedin” music video and Crime Mob’s “Rock Yo Hips.”

Currently in Austin TX, located on 831 Houston St. Chi Chi is a head dance instructor at Dance Austin Studio. Serving as the only instructor of African descent her courses includes classes like Sexy Stiletto Fit, Video Vixen and Go Go Cardio Mix. Chi Chi teaches an arrangement of dance fitness classes that shed the pounds while having a blast. I recently participated in her “Six Weeks to Sexy” stiletto dance series right in time for Valentines Day. Not only was this class fun and full of energy but before I knew if I was sweating and had burned hundreds of calories. We started with a spicy warm up where we increased our heart rate, and worked our legs and abs to the latest pop hits followed by an intense choreographed dance in which we performed in our stilettos. All levels of dance are welcomed in this course and Chi Chi’s energetic spirit makes everyone feel comfortable. She encouraged us to tap into our inner “diva” and to perform the routine as we felt comfortable.  If you want to know if this is something you would like there are “drop in classes” available were you can come check out the classes for free! Furthermore, as we all are on a budget I found these classes pretty affordable, $15 dollars for a single class with a discount when you present your school I.D. $13 dollars isn’t bad right?!. The more classes you register for the more you will save. A 5 class pass is 65 dollars bringing a single class down to 13 dollars while 10 classes will cost $110 bringing the price to $11 per class before any discounts are applied. With a pass you also have the freedom to take a variety of different classes that are offered at various times and days during the week. Trust me this is a fun great way to shed the pounds, tone up and gain confidence! You will definitely feel the burn the morning after. For more information about classes and rates visit. http://www.chichirandolph.com/classes.html. Support local business and our community.

Blank Ink: Bringing back a Black Journalism Tradition at UT

Monique Walton

Recently, we checked up on Cheyenne Hoffman, a sophomore student in the journalism department, who’s planning big things with a revival of UT’s Black publication, Black Ink.  An energetic and ambitious sophomore, Cheyenne hopes to galvanize the Black community at UT and in Austin to tell our stories and champion our leaders.

BMC: What was The Griot all about?

C: The Griot was a physical newspaper that was made by the National Association of Black journalists on UT’s campus, I believe in the eighties, I’m not sure what year exactly, because some of them felt like they were not being hired by the Daily Texan. So they decided to make their own newspaper.  They came out with their own publication each semester that covered issues on UT’s campus and the Black community in Austin, and just kind of kept the community together. So then around the early nineties it went out of publication and then UT’s multicultural information and engagement center brought back a newsletter called ‘Black Ink’ in ’95 or so and kind of picked up where The Griot left off. Then that, in early 2000s went away too, and so now we’re going to bring it back again, as Black Ink, a digital publication.

BMC: So you said the original newspaper started in the eighties, do you think the environment has changed since then?  Why do you think there’s a need for a publication like Black Ink today?

C: Well I think it’s primarily a necessity because I think there’s a lot of news in UT’s Black community and Austin’s black community that just don’t get published and doesn’t get any recognition. And not even just in Austin just in America in general.  I don’t think that there’s necessarily a discrepancy with Black journalists on the Daily Texan’s staff now.  But personally I felt like I was kind of – I was kind of put off by the Daily Texan. And I don’t know if it was because of race, I don’t want to assume that because The Daily Texan does have black staff but I think, I just think it’s important for UT’s Black community to be educated about the issues that are going on UT’s campus that are otherwise unnoticed.

BMC: What are some examples of that?

C: Within the University last year there was a 44% budget in the African Diaspora studies program and that’s not even something I knew about, I went to a lecture series and learned about that there. Even UT’s history with Black students, like the Heman Sweatt symposium.  There’s a lot of racist history at UT that I didn’t know about. And I feel like things like these aren’t things we should necessarily complain about, but it’s definitely something

BMC: So talk a little bit about what we have to look forward to in Black Ink.

C: I have my little notebook that I carry with me to all my classes. It’s really beat up because sometimes I’ll be in class and I’ll have an idea and write it down. But I have all my ideas in here.  So basically what I envision it to be is, Black news and entertainment feature stories to educate students on what’s going on in UT and Austin. But I also want it to be entertaining, I don’t want people to get bored.  Poets or artists can submit their content and have it put up, or people who write essays or short stories, comics. I went to a talent show in the beginning of this year and there’s so many cool talents that a lot of kids have and I feel like they don’t get the notice they deserve. If this is something you’re passionate about, we’ll put it up there. A lot of people have come from primarily white high schools or just surroundings in general, and they come to UT and then they have problems going in the X lounge because they’ve never been around Black people before so we’ll do editorials on how that feels. Like the “oreo” debate. It’s something that I think a lot of students here deal with. Because a lot of people in Texas grew up in the suburbs where there are a lot of white people, so it can be a culture shock.  And the other way around, like students growing up in primarily black neighborhoods and then coming here.  I also think we can show praise to our leaders on campus. The BSA president last year Kristen Thompson, she’s like my favorite person, she’s really ambitious, she’s on the student government now, she’s university-wide rep, she’s an engineering major, she’s really smart and dedicated, and I feel like she doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. And I’m sure there are plenty of other people who deserve the same.

BMC: When do you hope to launch?

C: We are hoping for next semester, but that’s kind of tentative. We have this entire semester and summer to plan so hopefully next semester it will come out.  Which will be good because it will be right around election season.

BMC: If students want to get involved, what can they do?

C: We are a registered student organization now, it’s called the Black Ink Association and we have an email address: Blackinkpublication@gmail.com.  We welcome any UT student, regardless of race or major.  So anyone who wants to get involved, like they have a music blog, or want to be a photographer, or maybe a comic artist, or even if they just want to occasionally write columns, anyone is welcome.  We have a permanent staff, and to join that there’s a little application you just fill out and submit a piece of your original work and one of the editors will look over it and decide where you best fit in. But it’s pretty open.

The 2012 Kuumba Scholarship Award

To demonstrate our commitment to educational endeavors, BMC (Black Media Council) will recognize two exemplary Black High school students in the media/performing arts with the inaugural Kuumba Award. Kuumba is Swahili for ‘Creativity’, and is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Selected students will receive an award of $500 in recognition of their work, skills, talents, and/or career goals that embodies the spirit of Kuumba in the realm of the Black MediaArts (i.e. photography, film, TV production, advertising, digital media, public relations, journalism, or the performing arts (dance, poetry, theatrical or vocal performance), etc.). Applications are Due no later than Friday, March 16th, 2012. The selected winners will be honored at BMC’s 3rd Annual Spring event The Blackness and Media Project. This event was formulated to showcase the knowledge and talents of Black media scholars and performers. The event will occur, Friday April 6th, 2012 at both the UT Austin campus- Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (afternoon) and in East Austin at the Carver Cultural Center (evening). To apply for the scholarship please visit our website at www.blackmediacouncil.com. For questions/concerns please contact us at blackmediacouncil@gmail.com. Thank You.