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Black representation in media and why that also matters

Last night’s (March 11) episode “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” talked about representation in music, public relations and sports.

Kerry Washington and Octavia Spencer Getty

Inspired by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ successful “State Of Emergency: The State of Black America & Coronavirus” town hall, “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” is a platform that is designed to report news from the perspective of Black people for Black people.

Last night’s (March 11) episode of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” titled “Reppin Our Case” addressed the urgency and importance of representation. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Gerren Keith Gaynor, Bubba Wallace, Rajah Caruth, Yves Pierre, Rodney Rikai, Shamea Morton, Derrian “Phreshy” Perry, Brandon Truttling and Courtney Stewart.

“We know that as we change the game, sadly some shit stays the same,” Williams said referring to the topics of representation and ownership over our voices — not just businesses. “There’s over 42 million of us in this country right now and we should never be regulated to small corners or limited spaces when in fact we have the capacity, and we should be taking up every ounce of space in the entire room.”

Williams passed it over to Rikai who moderated a conversation with Wallace and mentee Caruth about the significance of mentorship to ensure that “representation carries us into the future.” On behalf of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden initiative, Wallace and Caruth spoke about the program, giving and receiving guidance, and how seeing someone who looks like you can help you feel seen in your field.

“When you have that obsession and that passion, whatever negativity that comes your way will fail in comparison because you care about it so much,” Caruth said of the advice he would give young Black boys who want to get their start in racing, as well. Similarly, Wallace said, “Go out, have fun and make an example of who you are. Show the world who you are.” He continued to speak on how “crazy” it is to think that we might never know our purpose in life, but he encouraged the audience to “live life and whatever happens, make the most of it.”

Truttling took over this week’s “Headlines,” which included the beginning of jury selection for Derek Chauvin’s trial, Congress’ passing of the $1.9 trillion relief bill, USDA’s extension of free lunch for 18-year-olds and under this summer, the United States purchasing an additional 100 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Goldman Sachs’ $10 billion pledge for Black women in the workforce, and the passing of Ivory Coast Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko two days following his 56th birthday.

Williams returned for a conversation about representation in public relations and agency with Phreshy. After discussing how his day-to-day has been altered by COVID and what being a publicist actually means, Phreshy explained the importance of Black publicists who push the positive Black narrative. “No one can tell our stories like we can tell our stories...and that’s because they haven’t lived in our shoes [and] they haven’t walked the paths that we’ve walked,” he said. Pierre chimed into the conversation about representation from the agency perspective and shared her pride in ICM Agency’s internal diversity initiative, Diversify ICM. “One thing I’m really proud about is we’re able to create internally an organization that is part of the checks and balances of that,” she responded.

“Black Excellence in Entertainment” was facilitated by Gaynor and Morton to discuss the ABC pilot of hip hop drama series “Queens” starring Brandy and Eve, Quality Control’s production deal with Trioscope Studios, Coming 2 America breaking streaming records, the season two premiere of “Bronzeville,” and The Weeknd making history as the first artist to spend an entire year on Billboard Hot 100s Top 10 with “Blinding Lights.” Morton said that despite his snub, The Weeknd is “winning” and when it comes to larger award shows like The GRAMMYs or Oscars because “you can’t really rely on them to give you your flowers.”

Rikai came back for a conversation with Stewart to spotlight his work as the founder and CEO of Right Hand Music Group. The two discussed the importance of Black ownership in the music business as a fundamental part of our culture and Stewart’s transition from management to CEO of his own label. “It’s sad that we have to fight for a seat at the table, but we’ve been fighting our whole lives,” Stewart said to Rikai. “When you look at white men who run all of these record companies...they don’t have a connection to what the rest of the world is going through.”

In conclusion, Williams encouraged viewers to head to DiverseRepresentation.com to make connections and have necessary conversations with people who look like us. “Nobody’s going to wait for you to succeed. If you’re sitting around waiting on your own success, that tells me you’re not focused enough on doing the work. So, get busy,” she said.

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