July 21, 2010
Numerous studies find that people of color continue to be under-represented, stereotyped or misrepresented, and the spread of racist thinking in the Tea Party Movement and Right Wing Media has many of us lost in a sea of misinformation, and black radio and television outlets are actually contributing to the crisis.
Not too long ago, in the African American media names such as Frederick Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, infused our national awareness.
We heard and read about the achievements and writings of A.J. Rogers, John Hope Franklin, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Chancellor Williams, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. John Henrick Clarke, and listened to Dr. Ben, Percy Sutton, Douglas Wilder, and David Dinkins on Bob Law’s Night Talk radio program; Wesley South was speaking to Jesse Jackson and other religious and political figures in Chicago; Joe Madison was interviewing members of Congress; Mildred Gaddis and ‘Martha Jean’ were talking to Coleman Young and others in Detroit. I was talking to Dick Gregory, Naim Akbar and Malauna Karenga. Ty Wansley was keeping the community of Pittsburgh informed with timely news and events that impacted the African American community. There are others who made positive differences and created positive change. We were communicating.
We used to discuss how and why African-Americans fought for American independence, the abolition of slavery, civil and equal rights. Black media that featured black programs provided this information to the people. Today the industry has become filled with buffoonery, sarcasm and silliness, with hours of hip hop music that lulls us to sleep.
While Armstrong Williams, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Rielly, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Russ Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Hugh Hewitt and others are blasting the airways with their points of view, we are being entertained by Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden and Steve Harvey. Katt Williams being arrested is headline news. I am afraid that we have failed our mission.
Despite the fact that the right wing media machine is creating and spreading false impressions of the Obama administration and the African American and Latino communities, most black owned and black oriented media outlets are engaged in a war to promote themselves as “number one in hip hop and old school."
Black talk radio and black oriented television stations have to return and be a place where conversations can begin, where communities can be strengthened, and where the human spirit can be celebrated. The main mission for our existence should be to provide outlets to broadcast the truth, or in any case to counter the lies and untruths that some of these so called conservative media moguls are spewing.
In the past black radio, black oriented television stations and African American newspapers were the only means of communications, and acclaimed as the champions of African Americans, the poor and people of color. We were a critical communications link that offered programs that motivated, inspired, and educated. We interviewed experts in marketing, business, personal development, health, and music.
Are the black radio and television stations today forward-thinking and positive? Black media outlets can provide valuable input and should be realistic, operational, inspirational, motivational, informative, and even emotional, and should be reassessed on a regular basis by the public that it serves.
Collaboratively we must define our fundamental purpose, philosophy, and values, and we must verify whether the Black media is doing its intended job and making the right decisions for the community.
Life can be a real challenge at times and Black radio and TV audiences include a diverse group of individuals: young children, students, intellectuals, political figures, young parents, the elderly, and while understanding social media we ought to be required to entertain, to engage, to inspire, and to inform the listeners of the truth with dignity, and continue to honor the commitment of the pioneers that gave black talk radio, black newspapers and black oriented television its rich heritage and proud legacy.
Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am on WGNU-920 AM, and watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.
I can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Ever Wonderful!