Doctors Old And New

This news is not surprising (folks on the Web have been re-attaching Tennant to the role for months), and I think it smacks of desperation after a serious ret-con left a bad taste in many mouths. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to see these two again!

“You Know Because You Read The AFRO!” To Gayle King And Others Like You: It’s Really Okay If You Just Lie Next Time :)

Writing this while reading Richard Prince’s Journal-isms column that has people reacting to the idea that CBS’ Gayle King, one of the nation’s top Black journalists, did not know about the lives and work of Ethel Payne and Alice Dunnigan.

Admittedly, I’m not an average person when it comes to the Black press, so I can’t relate. As a ’80s teenager, I read Ethel Payne in real-time in the newspaper I started my career at, The New Jersey Afro-American! (“You know because you read THE AFRO” was the newspaper chain’s motto 🙂 ) My Afro’s Op-Ed page was “national,” not local, and it was added on to local editions like ours by the Baltimore headquarters. Payne had an Op-Ed column there, “Behind The Scenes.” And because the Black press is so self-referential, whenever she was honored, they’d tell her history. At 22, I had also read the 2nd edition of Roland Wolseley’s The Black Press, USA, a flawed-but-important book that shaped my decision three decades ago to become a Black media historian. Of course it mentions her, as does later a much better general-history book written by historian Clint C. Wilson II.

Yeah, I wish prominent Black people in public would stop being so honest about their ignorance. 🙂 Not knowing something and being rich and famous means you don’t have to know it, right? This means that Gayle King has never regularly read historic/legacy (20th century) Black newspapers!

It’s one thing when David McCullough admitted in 1989, as he did in his PBS’ American Experience intro on William Greaves’ Ida B. Wells film, that he didn’t know who she was, but another when one of us does it!

Don’t think our young Black journalism students are not peeping that because I’ve taught them at HBCUs and I know. (And this is part of a larger, systemic dumping of all media history classes because of J-schools’ well-funded digital focus. When I last checked, Maryland, my grad alma mater, stopped teaching journalism history as separate classes years ago.) Sadly, this public omission proves Gen Z’s irrelevancy point from its perspective.

P.S. Prince reminded me of this, so they’re really little room for excuses.

Black Press Legends Ethel Payne and Alice Dunnigan Get New Posthumous Honor

I Guess It Really *Is* A “Family Affair”

My God, who wouldn’t want to adopt Buffy, Jody and Cissy? As a lark, I started binging Family Affair on Prime. It’s a show I vaguely remember from early-to-mid 1970s syndication, since its span (1966-1971) reaches into my zygote-to-“I’m tree-years-old” period. This New York City sitcom was so goody-goody CBS added it to the list of popular rural shows it canceled–all those segregated Mayberrys and Junctions–so the network could enter into the Norman Lear years.

I admit to thoroughly enjoying the show, but I get CBS’ point. Star Trek is more realistic than some episodes. 🙂 Viewed from a 21st-century cultural mirror, the premise could be described as almost a monochrome Diff’rent Strokes: Bill Davis (Brian Keith), a well-off Westside playboy who is Hugh Hefner’s vision personified, adjusts to his dead brother’s kids, who are dumped on him and his valet, Giles French (Sebastian Cabot, also known as the narrator of the original Winnie-the-Pooh Disney animated classics). Davis’ and French’s smoothness-ness interruptedus, the upscale, not-motley crew quickly gel as a family. Although this first season is about the children’s trauma of being orphaned, separated and emotionally abandoned (“Do you really love me? Am I really staying here?” is a common and recurring theme), the tyke’s tears are always dried, their concerns forever found and met.

One particular episode had me on a steady chuckle. Through a misunderstanding, Buffy and Jody, the 6-year-old twins, are left on their own in New York City. They walk around by themselves, Buffy holding a $20 bill visibly in her hand, and nothing bad happens to them. In fact, a nice Latino sees the little darlings and immediately helps them find their way back to Uncle Bill. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Then there is reality:

No Buffys, Jodys or Cissys in Haiti or Cameroon. Wah-wah.

When I saw Biden with this kid, I subconsciously thought, “Whew! Buffy’s no longer in danger! Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming” 🙂

Asante Sana, Black News Channel

Thanks to Roland Martin for sending me this! My first week of watching it was this last week!

From: Princell Hair
Date: 3/25/22 2:55 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: BNC Staff BNCStaff@bnc.tv
Subject: Network Update

Dear BNC Colleagues,

A little more than two years ago, the lights on BNC’s cameras flipped on for the first time. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, we launched a groundbreaking mission to inject positive change into a news landscape that, for far too long, had underserved and overlooked Black and Brown people.

During the past few months, we have endured very painful workforce reductions at all levels of the network as we worked to achieve our financial goal of a break-even business. This has forced all of you to do more with less, and your contributions have been remarkable.

Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions and global financial pressures, we have been unable to meet our financial goals, and the timeline afforded to us has run out.

It’s with a broken heart that I am letting you all know that, effective immediately, BNC will cease live production and file for bankruptcy. We are saddened and disappointed by this reality and recognize the stress that this puts on you and your families.

With the nation on the verge of a social justice reckoning not seen in this country since the Civil Rights era, we’ve been hard at work building our presence in the marketplace with unprecedented speed. Through a continuous run of distribution agreements on both linear and streaming platforms, BNC’s accessibility has grown to reach more than 250 million touchpoints.

Since rebranding and relaunching the network a year ago, we have developed a 17-hour daily block of live programming and a lineup of shows that are outstanding. Every day we present stories, context and viewpoints that illuminate and celebrate the Black experience in a way that no other network has since the dawn of television.

We have hired more than 250 Black journalists and Black production personnel, and all your hard work and dedication has lifted this network to incredible heights. There have been countless wins along the way, including gavel-to-gavel coverage of several trials that gripped our community, A-list guests throughout our dayparts and exclusive coverage of The Congressional Black Caucus’ first-ever response to the President’s State of the Union address. Just this week we set an all-time viewership record for the network during wall-to-wall coverage of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

I understand that this surprising and unfortunate news will naturally generate a lot of questions surrounding next steps. Our leadership team and human resources will be in touch to address them over the coming days and weeks.

Please know that I am very thankful for all of your hard work and deep commitment to our mission. We have differentiated ourselves, and your achievements over these last two years should be an immense source of pride that you will carry throughout the rest of your careers.

In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and each other, and remember that we built something great here. BNC, or something very close to it, will surely return at some point, because the world needs it, and all of you have proven it can be done.

Sincerely,

P R I N C E L L H A I R

President + CEO

CONGRATS to Black Power Media….

….for its daylong telethon for Dhrouba bin Wahad. I have long thought he is an important Black decolonized political analyst and public intellectual and I think, as an important Black Power-infused thinker, he is beyond worthy of both support and assessment.

Asante Sana, Askia Muhammad

I was so happy to try to give him his journalistic flowers while he was here.

FEBRUARY 27th UPDATE: The Final Call’s tribute can be found here and here.

MARCH 5th UPDATE:

APRIL 2nd UPDATE: Coverage of the above event can be found here and here.