Why Do Black Women’s Mags Struggle in The Marketplace and Other Questions of Ownership For Futuristic Black Girls

honey

Tags: Black women, Ownership, Video Vixens, Honey Magazine, Clutch Magazine

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of Black women and ownership for the last year or so. So I was particularly intrigued when I saw a post on tumblr by @BlackGirlRevolution (citing Clutch Mag ’07) on why mainstream Black Girl magazines struggle.

Black people are hyper consumptive. Our estimated buying power will be 1.1 trillion in 2015. This is a really fancy way of saying that given our wages, many of us tend to buy more than other folks, many of us tend to watch tv more, go to the movies more and in some ways use the internet more than other folks.

Now this issue of consumption is important when we think about how advertising companies value our dollars. Black girl dollars.

So, why do Black girl magazines struggle? I don’t have all of the answers to that question, but I do have a couple of ideas.

I think that there is relationship between the fact that many Black girls styles stay being co-opted, that many Black girls and women are hyper consumers and trend setters, and the fact that within mainstream media there is a deep investment in being ambivalent towards representing Black women in girls in print media in a nuanced , contradictory, glorious, human ways.

I see it as a willful erasure. But, #blackgirlsarefromthefuture. And Honey magazine is on tumblr

XO Jane

Black girl style (see the above XO Jane post) can be mined for and sold back to us within the mainstream, but we will have to continually fight struggles about whether White women should be allowed to appear on Essence.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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The Black Girl Everything – 100 List

BGE_LL_BANNER_HERO_merged

If you like the list, please, share, rt and reblog:) ~Renina

ps. I will not be updating this list, however you can add otro sites in the comments. ~RCJ

Colored Girls Hustle

  1. NinaSimone.com (Official Nina Simone Site)
  2. Brianna McCarthy (Black Woman Visual Artist, *Favorite)
  3. The Peculiar Kind (Popular QWOC Webseries)
  4. For Harriett.com (Feminist Blog, Blog Community)
  5. What About Our Daughters (Feminist Blog, Advocacy)
  6. Black Girls Run  (Community of Black Women Runners)
  7. Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss (Popular Weight Loss Blog)
  8. Quirky Black Girls (Moya and Lex with the CLASSIC Digital Black Girl Space)
  9. Holding space here until I get consent.
  10. Bougie Black Girl (Popular Facebook Community)
  11. Sister Song  (Reproductive Justice Organization)
  12. Black Women’s Blue Print (Health, Culture and Advocacy Organization)
  13. The Siwe Project  (Mental Health Site and Project)
  14. The Crunk Feminist Collective  (Black Feminist Blog) (I am a member)
  15. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh  (Black Visual Artist)
  16. Leave in the Kinks (Natural Hair Blog)

Astelle 19 Jewlery

  1. FlyGirls (Eclectic Urban Chic Lifestyle Blog)
  2. Funky Brown Chick (Sex Educator)
  3. 2 Brown Girls (Pop Culture Podcast)
  4. Afrobella.com (Beauty and Lifestyle Blog)
  5. Black Feminism Lives (Black Feminist Site)
  6. ElixHer (Queer WOC Life and Culture Blog)
  7. Black Girls Rock (Mentoring Organization)
  8. Hey Shenee ( Entrepreneurial Marketing Blog,*Really Inspiring)
  9. Sista Vegan (Vegan, Healthy Living Site)
  10. Hey Fran Hey (She is why I drink green smoothies everyday :) )
  11. A Brown Girl Gone Gay (Black Lesbian, Culture Blog)
  12. Black Womyn’s Visual Art (Tumblr on Black Women Visual Art)

Support Businesses Own By Black Girls

  1. Cereus Arts (QWOC Poetry Series)
  2. Sistahs On the Shelf (Black Lesbian Fiction Fan Site)
  3. Reel Sisters (Black Women in Film)
  4. Art in Praxis (Site on the Intersection of Art, Community and Change)
  5. Black Girl Project (Advocacy Organization, Documentary, Annual Conference *Favorite)
  6. Spectra Speaks (QWOC Blog, Passionate)
  7. Saaartje Project, DC (Performance Group)
  8. Corset Magazine (Magazine About Sex and Sexuality)
  9. Black Girl Dangerous (Blog and Literary Activist Forum)
  10. Mambu Badu.com  (Photography Collective, Digital Magazine, *Favorite)
  11. WOC Survival Kit  (Black Feminist Tumblr)

QuellyRueDesigns

  1. Black Girls Killing It (Popular Fashion Tumblr)
  2. For Brown Girls (Lifestyle, Self Improvement and Beauty Blog)
  3. Black Women “DO” Workout! (Black Women Exercise and Support Blog)
  4. Latinegra Sexologist (Musings of a Latina Sexologist)
  5. Hip Hop is For Lovers (A multimedia website and radio show that discusses love, sex and intimacy through the culture of Hip Hop)
  6. Awesomely Luvvie (Pop Culture and Humor Blog)
  7. Black Girls Talking (Pop Culture Podcast)
  8. What Tami Said  (Black Feminist Blog)
  9. Live Unchained (Blog Featuring Black Women Artists, Globally)
  10. Ava Duvernay (Black Woman Filmmaker)
  11. Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project  (Film Training, Film Festivals)
  12. Queer Women of Color Media Wire ( Media Advocacy, Publisher, Blog – Passionate)
  13. Black Girl Blue  (Blog About Black Girls, Funny)
  14. Feminist Jones (Black Women’s Sexuality Blog – Bold, Funny Feminist)
  15. Womanist Musings (Womanist Blog)

 

Continued.

 

Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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There is a Difference Between Allowing a Black Woman to Entertain You, and Listening to Her Story.

There is a difference between allowing a Black woman to entertain you, and listening to her story.

Have you noticed that five Black women played the most highly rated Super Bowl (three of which are household names), but Black women filmmakers have a terrible time getting their stories out into the mainstream with mainstream backing?

This is the idea that came to mind when I watched the Super Bowl last weekend. While there where three Black women in the Super Bowl who are house hold names, and by house hold names I mean that the person’s profile is high enough that they are known in houses outside of Black homes, across social class. Of course I am referring to Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, and Destiny’s Child (which is a single entity in and of it self in some ways).

Of course Bibi McGill’s spotlight was fresh, in all the Quirky Black Girl ways possible (Peace to Lex y Moya), but I think that we need to be careful about over determining the symbolic importance of having our faces represented in mainstream media.

There is a difference between allowing a Black woman to entertain you, and listening to her story.

Less faces. More stories.

I have always said that a barometer of Black women’s freedom will be their ability to write, control, produce and disseminate their stories in both marginalized spaces and in  mainstream spaces, and get paid to do it.

In talking about the reception to” Daughters of the Dust”, Julie Dash once stated, and I paraphrase her here, that many people don’t want to watch a film directed by a Black woman because they don’t think that there is anything to learn from a Black women. Implicitly, I read her to mean that sitting down for ninety minutes to watch a film means that you are making a tactic agreement with the director to be taught about life for ninety minutes.

What is it about stories by Black women that are so threatening? Why is it easier to watch Black women perform, rather than to watch their stories. Notice I said by Black women and not ABOUT.

Will it always be the case that Black women in the US can perform for the world, but they cannot share, amongst each other, how they see each other within mainstream spaces?

 

Given the fact that I have had my historical critique of how patriarchy plays out in a set a songs within Mrs. Carter’s catalog, did you know that I find the ways in which she controls her OWN narrative to be fascinating and inspiring? From Amy Wallace’s interview in GQ,

Before you get to see Beyoncé, you must first agree to live forever in her archive, too.

And this issue of ownership and narrative/story/image control is further illustrated in another article in GQ where Ann Powers  writes,

Here’s the way it works now: If MTV or Access Hollywood or anyone else wants some footage of Beyoncé and Beyoncé thinks it’s a good idea, Burke shoots it and lets them borrow it. “It’s a win-win,” Burke says. “They get better access—that’s what we tell them—because I’m in the dressing room, where they would never be,” he says. But Beyoncé owns the footage. Same with still photos.

So, what do you think about the politics of Black women’s storytelling 2013?

Did you notice the contrast between Black women as performers and Black women as producers and distributors of beginning to ending narratives?

h/t Champagne Candy for the link.

*Peace to @DD re our #IveGottoOwnAllmyMasters conversation. Who knew Busta Rhymes would offer a Black Feminist framework for ownership of cultural productions.

Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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Rethinking My Work: “On Syd Tha Kid’s “The Internet – Cocaine” Video”


I wrote this post a year ago, and I have been thinking about it a lot about oppositional representations of Black girls and women, and the queerness of Black women in pop culture. These representations include The Bklyn Boihood, THEE Satisfaction, Tiona M’s work, the aforementioned Syd the Kyd video and the web series “The Peculiar Kind.” I am focusing on Black women, however, I know that The Peculiar Kind focuses on women of color in the video linked. Since last summer, I have been thinking about a post/essay about an emerging queer sphere of representations of Black women in pop culture. Let me keep it even, it is an overstatement to say that it is emergent, because that erases history and I don’t roll like that. Perhaps the issue that I am interested in, and I am thinking out loud here, is the intersection of these representations and the internet. Because I do produce a lot of digital work, I am interested in how other Black women, who question gender roles, who question race, who question Black sexual politics, I am interested in how we leverage the digital to find their/our own communities and to produce their/our work.

Originally Written Nov 2011.
I have contended that in a world premised on oppressing women, openly Loving a woman is probably one of the most radical things you can do.

The homie @danyeezy, just put me on to the new Syd the Kid video. Syd is the only woman member of OFWGKTA . @Danyeezy reblogged a link to Syd’s video “Cocaine” from the blog Life is Fair Game.

I watch videos with the sound on and with the sound off because it helps me to focus on the images.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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Dave Bry asks “Is it Okay for White Rap Music Critics to Like Violent Rap Music?”: My Response

 

Dave Bry has an article up at The New Republic where he questions whether or not it is appropriate for White music critics to praise hyper violent rap music created by Black men. The article centers on new reviews of Chief Keef’s new album.

Here is the video for one of Keef’s songs titled “I Don’t Like”:

In the article Bry talks about how a few different White men bloggers and writers such as Noz, Jonathan Landrum at the Associated Press and Jayson Greene at Pitchfork have reviewed Chief Keef’s new album. For me, it isn’t so much about Chief Keef, but about an opportunity to move the needle on the conversation about culture, violence and masculinity.

Bry, a White man, makes a nuanced argument contending that race is most certainly a factor. While he argues that he can compartmentalize the images and the language within a rap song, he feels that it is worth listening to a Black person who can not compartmentalize the language and the images in rap music because of their lived experiences.

I think that it is tempting and dangerous to divorce rap music from its lived experience, because in doing so you turn a human being into an object. If Chief Keef is from Chicago, and Chicago has a ton of poverty on poverty violence that disproportionally impacts Black men, then it would make sense that the music is violent. Many people make art/music based on their lived experiences.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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Facebook Will Have to Charge (Some) Users By 4th Quarter 2013

Facebook and money

Image via Mashable

According to legal scholar Susan Crawford at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, smart phone plans that include unlimited minutes and a gigabyte of data costs $12/month in Europe, a comparable service in the United States is $60-90/month. Crawford cites the lack of competition. The costs of the bills are really important because they are eating up family budgets which is significant in this economic climate.

Why are cell phone plans much more expensive in the US? According to Crawford, the telecommunication companies split up the regions, where certain companies received certain regions. This is why depending on which part of the city you live in, you may ONLY have option to Comcast, or may only have access to Verizon. Verizon and AT&T are the key players.

I see access to the internet as being connect to ones ability participate in civic discourse. Why? Because having access to information is tied to your ability to make informed well developed decisions and arguments. How can you participate if you don’t have information.

Before you say, well access to the internet is a privilege not a right, I will respond asking you whether you aware that the internet is a content delivery platform and that a significant portion of our communication will be happening on this platform in the next 5-10 years. Much of what I know about the changes in the internet as a content delivery platform is from Patricia Handschiegel’s blog. She is interesting.Read it if you are interested in the future of the internet.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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Watching “The Best Man”: Old Movie, New Feminist Lens #allcityarchives

I originally posted this on New Model Minority.Com in March 2012I cross posted it here as there are a quite a few posts from the #allcityarchives that I think deserve a broader conversation and audience. I will be posting those here regularly with added commentary.

Last night I watched The Best Man. What is significant about it is that watching the film with an eye towards representations of Black women, I knew that there were going to be major distinctions and differences that I would see now that I didn’t see before.

The first difference is in the opening when Sanaa and Taye are in the bathtub and she confronts him on his desires to take the next step towards commitment in their relationship. She gets upset, and gets out of the tub. The camera then remains on Taye’s character. This has the impact of forcing the viewer to experience the moment from his eye’s, not hers. This is important, because the focus of the camera tells us who the director thinks is important in a scene.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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Always Trust a Big Butt and a Smile: Thinking About Twerking and Black Girl Public Cultures


The other day this amazing video came across dash board by the Twerk Team. The video was mesmerizing in that the women move their butts like I don’t know what. I mean jiggling your booty while your are upside down, I could only imagine the skill and agility that that technique requires. On top of that the made me want to dance/exercise, so I take inspiration where ever I find it.

Which brings me to this. Women in general and Black women in particular are oftentimes the most visually interesting aspects of many mainstream rap music videos. In fact, as far back as 2007, I discussed how video vixens needed a union because they are one of the most valuable assets withing in the mainstream rap music video ecosystem, but they also tend to be the lowest paid. I mean, would the “Birthday Song” be visually interesting without the presence of women’s bodies?


I don’t think so. Pay equity in music video wages, of course!

Conversations about twerking are conversations about Black women’s bodies, and their right to do what they want to do with their bodies in public. In fact, I think that there is a direct connection between Erkyah Badu’s choice to go nude for the “Window Seat” video and the visibility of Black girl twerk culture. The connection has to do with a willingness to for Black women, at this time, to do what they want their bodies in public, without being constrained by the politics of respectability.

The is important given the history of Black women being property during chattel slavery.

Which brings me to @StrugglingtoBeHeard. Last May she posted a video titled Twerking for Mothers Day on her personal blog, it was then uploaded to World Start Hip Hop, without her consent, where people, many of them Black men and women, began to leave out of pocket, sexist and misogynistic comments.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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Thinking About the Steve Harvey Industrial Complex and the Interior Lives of Black Men: On Black Masculinity

barack and curtisImage via Black Public Media

I haven’t written about Django Unchained, and I don’t plan on doing so, because so many others have been eager to do so and I don’t have anything to add.

But I will tell you this, earlier to day I was having a conversation on The Facebook with @RahaReiki about this Crunk Feminist Collective post which explores ratchet culture, pop culture and Black masculinity. In the conversation we began to explore why it appears as though Black women can see the writing on the wall and start taking care of themselves, that they start taking care of their interior and exterior lives.Yet, on the other hand there doesn’t appear to be a similar public effort on the behalf of Black men. At least at first glance.

I ultimately came to three conclusions. First, I think that some Black women hold on to their dysfunction like a warm blanket, others are invested in becoming whole human beings and they are willing to do the personal development work to grow and evolve. Often times we are a combination therein where we are trying to evolve and hold the warm blanket at the same time. #struggle.

Second, I stated that I suspect that the reason why some Black women may get to the point that they realize that the old way are not working sooner than Black men is because we deal with the intersections of racism and sexism, at school, at work, on the street, in our families and especially in terms of media representation. This intersection kills us health wise.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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Thinking about Andrew Sullivan’s Move to a Subscription Service and Wu Tang Clan

Nearly three years ago I wrote a post about blogging and the difference between community building vs.serving advertisers. In this post I quoted Rafi Kam saying,

If you’re chasing all the traffic you can get on your site, that means you’re probably aiming to please advertisers more so than your audience.

Andrew Sullivan’s move to his own subscription model struck me because of how bold and audacious it is. He is going to charge $19.99 a year for access which is the cost for an annual subscription to many magazines. Christine Haugney, writing in the New York Times quotes Sullivan stating that for his

new venture [he] had decided not to depend on advertising for revenue because of “how distracting and intrusive it can be, and how it often slows down the page painfully.” He added that advertisers also require too much effort for a small company. “We’re increasingly struck how advertising is dominated online by huge entities, and how compromising and time-consuming it could be for so few of us to try and lure big corporations to support us,” he wrote.

When I learned that Andrew Sullivan was moving to a subscription service model I was struck for two reasons.

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Renina

Renina is a cultural critic, author, instructor and a blogger. She is also the founder of Black Girl Everything, New Model Minority. She is book "Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture".

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