A couple of weeks ago on Twitter, Toure went back and forth with
several people, one of which was Aliya S. King, on the future or
the end of journalism.
Given the dismissiveness of Toure's tone, I was reminded
of calling Derrick Bell a couple of years ago, as I was fighting
being dismissed from law school. Yes, I picked up the phone
and called him, told him my situation and requested some
advice. My aunt was on me to advocate for myself, to not be
a victim and to show me how to be empowered. It is an
important lesson that I carry with me every day.
While Professor Bell, was kind and encouraging, he is also a
lawyer, and as such he asked me period point blank "Are you
sure you are meant to be an attorney?" My feelings were hurt
and I blinked back the tears. It felt like he was assessing my
ability, without knowing me very well. In reality, he was explaining
to me how I would possibly be perceived and, hence forced
me to think about what was the best option for me, not simply
what I wanted to do.
He also understood and explained to me the pedagogy of law
school and the ways in which it isn't beneficial to Black folks,
or so called "at risk" populations.
He changed my life that day. Professor Bell is a man who
resigned from Harvard's Law School in the mid nineties
over its unwillingness to tenure "a" Black woman
professor. I respect him. He put his money where his
mouth was, which influenced my willingness to call him and be
vulnerable. At that time, I was still considering going back to
law school. His point was that people, implicitly white
people, from my school with excellent grades can have
a challenging time finding work, so he urged me to really
think about my whether being an attorney was meant for
Well. I told my then partner, *David, about our conversation,
and his response was, "You are a child of God, it is not for
him nor anyone to say what are you are to do with your
career or your life." I instantly perked up and felt protected
and little less sad.
I thought of this child of God moment when I read King's
piece on on her exchange with Toure.
I was also reminded of an editorial that I came across recently in
Art Voices Magazine. In April, Terrence Sanders, the publisher
wrote an eloquent, powerful and vulnerable editorial letter
last month, that in many ways captured the sentiment of the
you are a child of God moment. He writes,
I was told by my mother that when I was three months old, my biological father attempted to suffocate me while she was out shopping. She left him and relocated to NYC, where she re-married a Marine who had just completed a tour of duty in Vietnam. I was raised in tenements and housing projects on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, I was exposed to asbestos and lead poisoning. I was categorized as a “have not,” I attended Head Start, I hated school, I was sent to schools that taught me just enough. My neighbors were Chinese, Jews, Italians, Hispanics; I was physically abused by my stepfather until I was 16 years old, when ran away from home. I slept in 24 hour movie theaters on 42nd street, park benches on the FDR drive, rooftops of housing projects, and trains. I was exposed to petty criminal elements during my informative years. I was lost, I had no skills to survive in a capitalist regime; my role models were actors, athletes and Jesus....
...In retrospect, I never gave up on myself, I didn’t want to be a slave or live in fear, I didn’t want to walk amongst the walking dead. I’m an Artist, my son’s an Artist in his 2nd year at Cooper Union. Art and Art alone saved my life; it completes me. It is my therapy, my weapon of choice; it helps me to cope with the day-to-day struggles of being a human being. My contribution to humanity will be my art, my voice, and in that and that alone I am alive.
Yes. Terrence gets it. In many ways he is like Camus
Never let anyone tell you what you what you can and cannot do, let my life be an example. Listen to that inner voice, and not power-hungry elitists with hidden agendas. While they are the fraud, Artists are the truth. We are in the game, and they are on the sidelines. So, I stand before you stripped naked and not afraid to bare my soul. I created my own jobs, my own opportunities, and now I’m living the dream.
Terrence Sanders, Editor & Publisher more here.
in his understanding of how art and humanity functions.
Yet, that doesn't take care of the messiness of figuring out how
to make a living as an artist.
Don't get it twisted. I understand that the news, journalism and
advertising landscape will never look the way that it has in the past.
Three reasons come to mind, based on ideas from people who
are experts in their respective areas.
Kevin Kelly says that data linking is the future.
David Simon says that corporations screwed newspapers
by treating copy with contempt, worshiping advertisements,
and passing along corporate profits to shareholders instead
of investing in journalist who could and arguably would
create copy that people would WANT to pay for online.
Chris Anderson says that there will be two versions of
everything available on the internet. He was
quoted last week saying that, "Everything that becomes
digital will become free. There will be a free version,
either you will be competing with free or giving it
away for free and selling something else. If it is
not zero today, it will be zero tomorrow."
And lastly, The Washington Post just fired one of the most
analytical, largely bipartisan and accessible cats covering the
White House, Dan Froomkin.
The ground is in fact moving beneath us. But I was raised
with earthquakes, so we know what it is.
At the end of the day, If one wants to write, write. If you want
to write, and can't, don't do it. It will work its way out. For true,
if writing has gotten a hold of you it will not turn you a loose.
Trust me, I learned this the hard way. For example, last March,
I wrote about Honey Magazine, Kierna Mayo and my personal
process of accepting the fact that I am a writer.
Last fall, I used some of my blog posts on hip hop, feminism
and labor and other personal experiences as fodder for my
grad school applications. This is material because, if I am
passionate enough to spend my time blogging about it, then
studying the same issues in a classroom setting arguably
is for more enticing than say, civil procedure. I am happy to
say that I will be a graduate student in the fall.
I mention this because I had to accept that I was a writer.
No one could do this for me.
When I accepted this, I set out on a course to act like one,
to choose my goals and take the necessary steps to
try and achieve them.
I hope that this helps you accept the writer, the artist in you.
Is Blogging Journalism?
Cognitive Surplus: Did TV Kill the Book?
The Curse of Being a Black Artist
Thought about being an artist lately?
How do you shut out the critics, but take their advice
about being cautious seriously?
PSK, what does it all mean? <<<>
How has '09 been?
*Not his real name