by Yvette Carnell
Most of what is considered “black media” in the 21st century isn’t published on platforms owned by black people. As I’ve reiterated any number of times, this puts black pundits, many of whom functioned more as Obama’s spokespeople rather than independent commentators beginning in 2008, in a precarious situation.
When Obama was elected, networks scrambled to hire their own race explainers to interpret “blackness” for their mostly white audiences. This entire enterprise can probably be laid at the feet of Booker T. Washington, and since then, becoming a racial spokesperson, or Negro whisperer, has provided a venue for blacks handpicked by corporate networks to behave as if they’ve fastened their tentacles secure within what can only be interpreted as some top secret hive mind existing deep within the black community.
There is no black community, of course, only black communities, each with its own agenda items and priorities. Complexity doesn’t make for a good sound bites, though. With a black man in the White House, the sure money was on race explainers who would interpret for white viewers what Obama and his black supporters were smoke signaling.
With Obama on his way out now, so are his black media functionaries. We’ve seen Toure, Joy-Ann Reid, and Goldie Taylor all removed from MSNBC. And Rev. Al Sharpton’s daily 6pm show was moved to one time a week on Sunday at 8am. Even black journalists are being shown the door. Although this was all both predictable, black media types are ringing the alarm bells, according to Amsterdam News:
The rumor mill is also abuzz with strong rumors that nationally renowned Tom Joyner may shortly be ending his tenure with Radio One. According to some reports, Joyner, whose daily morning show attracts millions of listeners, will end its syndication coinciding with President Barack Obama’s last year in office.
Reports such as these and the growing absence of these well-known and well respected names is sending shockwaves through the nation. Here in New York, plans are underway to address and confront the issue. Following a recent meeting at the headquarters of National Action Network between Sharpton and Lloyd Williams, president of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, they decided something must be done about the situation. With that in mind, they are calling for a meeting to address the increasingly troubling disappearance of Black talk shows, personalities and reporters in the media. Sharpton and Williams stated, “Deon Levingston no longer at Emmis is something we must take seriously because of its overall national ramifications. If we are concerned about the future of Black media here and across the nation, we must speak up now before the situation continues to worsen.”
Although the purge of black journalists did not begin with the Obama administration, the election of the first black president did provide a temporary reprieve for them. That’s over now.