If I Could Have This (Black-Girls-Run-The-Media-World) Moment 4 Life …

8 Apr

I have already begun my mental preparations for the latest insult to Black women’s romantic lives that Steve Harvey’s upcoming film Think Like A Man will most certainly be.

I have had to start these preparations because I know that despite the sense I claim to have, I’m prolly gone go see the movie. Why? Because even though light-skinned men went out in the 80s, Michael Ealy will never go out of style! He is #mmmgood!

Anyway, let me stop being scandalous. This being Easter Monday and all.

Instead, let me give a shout out to Scandal, Shonda Rimes’ newest show starring Kerry Washington, the first Black female lead on a primetime network drama, in, let’s just say, forever.

I caught the show via DVR this week, and I have one thing to tell you. Olivia Pope is a bad-ass. And for that reason, alone, she is my shero.  I don’t like all her choices, particularly of dudes (watch the show, if you wanna know!), but I cheer simply for the presence of Black female complexity being represented in primetime. And whatever I might think of Olivia, I do know this. Kerry Washington is a bad bish.

And I guess this is what it looks like when Black girls run primetime.

I was reflecting on just that point when I got the chance to see Washington as a guest on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show.

Now, I was already an MHP stan before the show—the first  news show hosted by a Black woman on a major cable news network—(no shade to Jacque Reed for holding it down all those years at BET) debuted in February. If the MHP Show has taught me nothing else, it has taught me that in a Black feminist universe we DVR the news!

I’m so serious. I now have to have my weekly #nerdland fix. It is not a game. And  I swear this show is some of the smartest programming on weekend television. On television period. It matters even more that MHP is a self-avowed Black feminist, particularly since so many sisters still seem to have a problem with that word.  Both Washington and MHP identify as feminists and are fierce advocates for women’s rights through their various platforms. For all the reluctant feminists out there, these women represent just two of the many forms that Black feminism can take.

One of my favorite moments from the show was the day that MHP talked about the movie that Black feminist chicks – me included—love to hate: The Help.  But on her show, she chose to interview an actual domestic, Barbara Young, the head of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. And when Ms. Young offered a different perspective than that of MHP and her other panelists, MHP made sure that Ms. Young’s voice and perspective didn’t get drowned out by the other folks who felt educationally entitled to take up more space in the room. We Black feminists take care of our own.

The more I thought about this awesomely unique moment in which we have a Black feminist delivering the news, a Black female lead (who can act her ass off) in primetime, and a Black female show creator,  I realized that slowly but surely Black women are fighting back against this onslaught of misogynoir that has been the Tyler Perry-Steve Harvey media universe for much too long.

Sisters are kicking butt now and taking names later.

Over at Ebony.com, Kierna Mayo is leading a swift and steady revolution. I have read so many smart pieces there, since the site’s relaunch just a few months ago. I grew up reading Ebony and Essence, the two black magazines that we got at my house. My grandmother got Jet so the triumvirate was complete. But I let my subscriptions lag a long time ago.  Yet, I knew something had changed when I began to see the word “feminist” there on a regular basis. And when I tuned in a couple of weeks ago and caught an important  article on African American trans trailblazers, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather. Needless to say, Ebony.com is now in my regular rotation.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl won the Shorty Award for best web show, beating out 783 other entries. And Issa Rae demolished her racist haters in the aftermath.

Ava DuVernay won best director at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

And we can’t forget that whatever issues some folks might have with her, a Black Girl has got her OWN media empire.

 So even though I’m not in the habit of quoting Nicki Minaj,  I really do wish I could have this moment for life. This moment, when I can catch a Black girl (well, make that two Black girls) running things in primetime, a Black girl running things on cable news, a Black girl running her own network, a Black girl running the web, a Black girl running Ebony.com, and let the NYT tell it, a Black girl running hip-hop.

And to top all that off, there’s a Black girl running the White House. 

I dare not close my eyes, cuz I feel like, in the blink of an eye, it could all be gone. And yet, I choose to savor this moment. Sometimes we Black feminist chicks, I guess because of our fervent desire to make this world reflect our best dreams for it, are quick to see the shortcomings, the wrongs. But in this moment, however brief it turns out to be, there are at least a few things going right.

And in a salute of that, I’m doing my Black girl dance, cuz this is what a Black girl world could look like.

So DO tha ladies run this? Hell yeah. At least for this one singularly  exquisite moment. And right now, this one brightly shining moment is enuf. Because if I know Black girls, I know this. Don’t give us even an inch, because we will take over the whole she-bang. #watchoutnow

14 Responses to “If I Could Have This (Black-Girls-Run-The-Media-World) Moment 4 Life …”

  1. Tameka April 9, 2012 at 1:28 AM #

    Thanks for this article. I need to switch my tv channel from the ratchet mess I watch (please don’t judge me on the RHOA) but we have some black women doing great things in the media. I need to see what I can learn by just changing the channel.

  2. baltimoreartplusjustice April 9, 2012 at 8:14 AM #

    This made me feel good to my soul.

    • The One April 10, 2012 at 12:56 AM #

      Mine too, mine too! Black women & girls ROCK!

  3. donnadara April 9, 2012 at 8:20 AM #

    Did anyone ask Kerry Washington why she chose to appear as a slave wench in Quentin Tarantino’s Django?

    • The One April 10, 2012 at 12:57 AM #

      Here come the haters. Sigh, SMDH.

  4. Tarana April 9, 2012 at 8:29 AM #

    I totally agree with every single thing you wrote AFTER the part about Scandal. I wanted to love it for all the reasons you named but Kerry Washington is a TERRIBLE actress and she is totally unbelievable in this role of the supposed strong, mover and shaker sister in Washington who looks like she’s on the verge of tears every second, acts with her eyes like she’s in a soap opera and falls to pieces in the OVAL OFFICE!! Ugh. I will give it my normal five episodes before I make complete judgment but what I have seen so far…big thumbs down. I know Shonda Rhimes can do better.

  5. sade April 9, 2012 at 10:13 AM #

    I love love love the movement! Perhaps we should compile a listing for all the “bad-ass” sistah news and talk shows on air now! And, I do want to be in that number…check out what we are doing in Mississippi, G.D. (a Nina Simone reference). The show is called, Delta Renaissance, hosted by C.Sade Turnipseed


  6. bejaermi (@bejaermi) April 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM #

    I do the same thing! I DVR Melissa every weekend. I love seeing so many black women running stuff. It only gives me strength while I try to get out of the work environment I’m currently in. Ms. Oprah helps me pray and get centered, Mrs. Obama gets me in shape (and I get my fashion fix), Professor Harris-Perry gets my mind ready to engage with “the others” at my workplace and Ms. Washington…well, she’s just da bomb. As an avowed media junkie…I am very happy to see us around. I’ll savor it for as long as I can!

  7. Judaye April 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM #

    I am glad to see some positive things happening for black women too. I enjoyed your post and plan to check out Scandal soon. I have to disagree with you about light-skinned black men going out of style in the eighties. I happen to know some very sweet and intelligent light-skinned men. I love them and always will.

  8. breebianca April 9, 2012 at 9:40 PM #

    So great to see this article. Sometimes I forget that black women are running things more and more and it inspires me as a young black woman to not get discouraged by my race and gender because I can run things, too :).


  9. JR Bacas April 10, 2012 at 3:58 AM #

    I would love to hear more about what “the actual domestic” said about ‘The Help’. Could you please paraphrase?

  10. Kelleeekel Halford April 11, 2012 at 3:16 PM #

    All I can say is YESSSSSSSS!!!!

  11. Lala April 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM #

    Melissa Harris-Perry is my heroine. I don’t care for Scandal, if it were about someone uncovering dirt rather than helping folks get away with stuff I’d be more inclined.

  12. brown betty April 13, 2012 at 9:59 PM #

    Reblogged this on brown betty and commented:
    Great piece lifting up the successes of black women in media. Seize and savor it!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: