Positive Black Representation Makes Waves in 2014

It seems like 2014 was a very trying year. Between murders and injustice against several young black males and a relentless end of ratchet television shows, positive black representation seemed to be null and void. But, there were several gems that are worth mentioning. My goal for this year is to bring as much light to this issue as I possibly can. The need for positive representation is needed now more than ever. The few moments or people that I have mentioned are those that I feel have overcome obstacles and barriers in their industry. These people are the future and with them and their accomplishments, we can head in the right direction for 2015 and beyond.

Ava Clarke

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I first noticed this beauty on Lance Gross’ Instagram. If you don’t know, Gross is a phenomenal photographer and he had featured a picture of Ava and fellow model, Diandra Forest. Out of curiosity, I went to Ava’s page and was stunned by her beauty. I was also warmed by her innocent behavior. She was just like a normal, every day child and I loved that about her. Ava has graced the covers of multiple magazines and has traveled all over the world with renown photographers. As you can see, Ava’s appearance is very unique. Born from two African American parents, Ava is also African American but has albinism. This explains her naturally blonde hair and blue eyes. I believe that Ava is an amazing example for younger children with albinism. Unfortunately, most people know nothing about albinism or they ridicule people who are born with it. Ava’s spirit over shines her beauty and makes her perfect for positive representation for young black girls.

Willow Smith

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Willow has definitely been in the media since she was pretty much born. Birthed from Hollywood royalty, this young actress/singer has grown to be her own brilliant mind. While many question her upbringing, I absolutely love how free she is allowed to be. It allows her to grow into her own person and have her own thought process instead of what she is forced to think under her parent’s rule. In a recent interview, Willow and her brother discussed their thoughts on time and energy. Many critiqued the two for their outrageous thoughts, but once again, I have to disagree. I believe that everyone is allowed to feel and think how they want to think, as long as it is not hurting anyone. It seems like in the Black community, anything that goes against the thoughts of Jesus or God is taboo. If you think anything else, you are crazy and should stop what you are doing and go to church and repent. This is so wrong. We should applaud people who are educating themselves on different ways of thinking. Willow does not speak like some person who just came up with some crazy ideas. She reads and researches. She is very eloquent and educated. She represents those in our community who think differently. Her images being shown more positively in the media will allow those who think outside the box to feel more comfortable in themselves. This is something that needs to happen in our community. Other races allow their youth to think differently without ridiculing them. It is time we did the same and encouraged our youth to love themselves and be okay with having a different way of thinking.

Quvenzhane’ Wallis

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This fiery actress first entered the scene in 2012 with her role as, “Hushpuppy,” in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” At just age 5, Quvenzhane’ Wallis proved she was a force to be reckoned with. At age 9, she received several awards for her role and even obtained an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, making her the youngest African American to receive this accolade. Fast forward to today and Quvenzhane’ can be seen in the remake of the classic movie, “Annie”. Wallis has also just been named Armani’s representative of their Junior’s Spring Collection. Now that I’ve gotten all the facts out of the way, let me say I LOVE THIS GIRL!!! She is so amazingly talented, but I love her personality. She has a sense of knowing herself already at such a young age and it is a beautiful thing to watch. In a recent interview, a reporter tried to call Quvenzhane’ Annie instead of her name because she could not pronounce iy. Wallis simply told her that her name was Quvenzhane’ and not Annie. If that is not a great example of the type of positive representation that we need, then what is? It is so funny, because I used to always let people say my name however they wanted to say it. I didn’t want to go back and forth with the confusion. But hearing a young girl take so much pride and understand the power in someone calling you by your correct name, it instantly made me change my thoughts. This is what we need our young girls to learn and see as they grow up. A beautiful, young, Black girl who is proud, yet polite.

Chef Roble’

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Chef Roble’ is one of the funniest and charismatic chefs that are out there. With the debut of his show, “Chef Roble’ and Co,” Roble’ Ali and his crew have gained national notoriety. Roble’ is one of few African American chefs who have been able to achieve this level of success at such a young age. Starting his own catering company, Roble’ is known for being a savvy businessman. He currently has several ventures in the making such as a clothing line, fragrance, wine, and restaurant. Chef Roble’ is the epitome of “hard work brings success.” He has been going nonstop since he was a teenager and he shows no sign of letting up now. This is the type of thing our young men need to see in our community. They need to see that success can come at a young age if you are willing to work for it. I was terribly disheartened when Steve Harvey chose to use Paula Deen as a mentor for a group of young African American boys. They needed to see someone like Roble’. Someone who looks like them and someone they could relate to. Chef Roble’ shows our community that young, Black men can be successful in other careers that are not sports or music related. He gives our community a different look on success. Oh, and it helps that he is dashingly handsome. 🙂

Tracee Ellis Ross

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No stranger to fame, the daughter of Diana Ross has always been in the media. As one of our favorite girlfriends, Tracee Ellis Ross has always been the epitome of a real Black woman. From her curves to her hair to her goofy personality, how could you not fall in love with her? Recently returning to television with the ABC show, “Blackish,” Ross continues to impress and show more positive representation of a working Black mother/wife. She is not the average image you see on TV in reference to a Black woman. She is not loud. She is not ratchet. She doesn’t get into fights over random men or someone not saying hi to her at a boogie premiere. She works. She talks to her children. She loves her husband. These are the things our community needs to see when it comes to how the family unit should work. Our family units need to be represented more positively so that they can be acted out this way in real life. We, unfortunately, live our lives off of what we see. If we constantly see negativity, then this will be what we think is normal and start to live this way. Tracee Ellis Ross shows us otherwise. The fact that she is a proud Black woman who is able to wear her natural hair on national television and receive accolades is a step in the right direction.

Viola Davis Takes Off Wig

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This year, Shonda Rhimes blessed us with another jaw dropping drama. “How To Get Away with Murder” had everyone tuning in and going crazy trying to figure out who the killer was. Perhaps the most spoken about moment had to be when actress Viola Davis took off her wig at the end of a long day’s work. This moment has never been seen on a national television show, especially from a Black actress. We never see the wig come off. We are too assume that this is the character’s hair and that is it. To see Davis take everything completely off was very liberating. It showed that Black women have this mask and appearance that we have to uphold on a daily basis. We are never able to truly be ourselves until we are in the confines of our own house. To let this process be seen on a major network was a positive image and moment for our community. It lets our people see that this powerful, smart women still has to mask her true self in order to be apart of their world. She could not sit at the fancy dinners or walk into the courtroom looking like her normal self. While this is a sad truth, it is still a truth that I am glad was seen. This is how dialogue begins and changes can be made.


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Hands down, the protests have been the most talked about thing in media this year. To see Black people come together, in a peaceful manner, and protest about the injustices against our community is something to behold. Protesting is the backbone of our culture. It is what helped to give us the “rights” we have now. These images may be the most powerful, positive representations of our community that are out there right now. To see multiple Blacks together for a common cause and being nonviolent is not how they portray us in the media. They do not want us to see these images. They want us to believe otherwise so we cannot continue to come together. But we are proving them wrong. Seeing these images allow me to understand the need to continue to fight for equality. It opens your eyes and mind to see that we are not as equal as they try to make us feel. These images represent the fighters in our community and we have to continue to support them.

My hopes are that I will be able to see an influx of positive representation of my people in 2015. I want to see more images of real Black women and men, young and old. I want to see more of our culture and not the watered downed version they try to give us. We need more writers and producers that understand the need for these images and will help to create them. We owe it to ourselves and our upcoming generation.

Photo Credits:

Ava Clarke: http://www.tehavaclarke.com, http://www.facebook.com/TheAvaClarke

Willow- http://www.justjared.com, http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Que- http://www.news.com.au, http://www.spicebaby.com, http://www.blackfilm.com,

Chef Roble- http://www.teamyee.tv, http://www.robleandco.com

Tracee Ellis Ross- http://www.raw-multimedia.com, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Viola Davis- http://www.thegloss.com

Protestors- http://www.nydailynews.com, http://www.theguardian.com, http://www.bet.com, http://www.newsweek.com


Monday’s Empowerment Spotlight: Peris Morgan and “The New Black”

I am pledging to continue to bring more positive representation of our people to the media. In doing so, I will be highlighting different brands and organizations that are trying to do the same. In times like these, it is better for us to stick together and continue to support our brands. It is up to us to spread the news and empower our community. With that being said, I am shining a spotlight on Peris Morgan, Founder of “The New Black.” This organization is all about uplifting and empowering Black women and it is something that we all need to get behind.

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1. Tell us a little about yourself and your company.

Well, my name is Peris Morgan. Im a 25 year old single mother with strong opinions and a lot of ambition. I founded the organization titled, “The New Black,” which is an organization all about uplifting and empowering women. I’m starting off with a blog to reach a broader audience and to introduce the brand as a whole.
 2. Why did you create this company and what are your goals?
I felt as if women were so separated and were lacking support from one another and unity. I wanted to change that. I want to change that. There was a time when women uplifted one another and were not intimidated by another woman’s success and I plan to bring that back into modern times. My overall goal is to get women to rejoice in womanhood and to start to love and support one another.
 3. What projects are you currently working on?
Starting January 1, 2015, I am launching my first campaign titled, “I Am Pro Sisterhood”. It’s purpose is to encourage bonding, unity, and support amongst women and young girls.  I’ll also be promoting a lot of female entrepreneurs throughout my campaign. Following the Launch, I’ll be hosting a series of events that will help us women expand our brands and lives starting in 2015;  so be on the look out for that.
 4. How will your company help to push our goal of bringing more positive images to the media?
The media today lacks a positive image of women, especially women of color.  It’s like, who do we have to be our inspiration , our role models?  They portray women in such a negative light and it’s unfortunate because there are a lot of women doing great things . There are a lot of women running successful companies;  a lot of educated prominent women. There are women that I personally admire and look up to that I don’t think get enough exposure and acknowledgement. Part of the reason I started this company was to show those women.  I want to show the life coaches,  the working mothers, the lawyers,  doctors,  philanthropist,  and entrepreneurs, but to put that in a nutshell my company is to acknowledge the ROLE MODELS.
 5. Do you think there is enough positive representation of Black people in the media? Is this a problem?
As far as there being a positive image of black people in the media it’s like a 60 /40 percentage.  It’s a lot that isn’t shown as far as black ppl as a whole, not just women. We have so many positive people in our community who do uplift our people.
 6. Why does representation matter to you?
We have a lot of black professors and corporate figures, which really did amaze me and they play the back burner in the media. We have more success stories in the black community besides entertainers. Not to take anything away from the entertainers, but I feel that if that’s all we, as a people, are portrayed as then that’s all the following generation will associate success with and they’ll limit their options.  Because you’re either an entertainer or a criminal. That’s how they portray us in the media. . . And it’s more to our people than that, in my opinion.
 7. How can people contact you for more information on your company?
People can get more information on my company by just simply following my blog via Instagram @thenewblack_ig.  Very simple lol.
 8. If you had an unlimited budget for your company, what would be the three things you would spend it on?
  • If I  had an unlimited budget for my company I would first off go on a tour hosting events to spread unity amongst women on a broader spectrum.
  • I would create a charity for resources for single mothers because I feel that there isn’t enough resources for them/us.
  • And lastly, I would invest in more promotion to build awareness of my brand.

Photo Courtesy: Peris Morgan

Black Women Rock! The Faces Behind The Movement Stir Up Controversy at Washington Rally

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For over 120 days, there have been constant, daily protests starting from the city of Ferguson and abroad. Behind these protests have been members of the community and mainly the youth. These young organizers did not know where to begin but they knew that it had to happen because of the injustice that they felt in their city. They did not receive help, at first, they had each other and worked together to begin this mass movement that is known today. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” was created by them. Yesterday, Al Sharpton put together a rally/march to try to bring the families of these victims together, in Washington D.C. During this rally, the youth organizers were not allowed to be on the stage or even speak. This soon turned into a problem as majority of their supporters demand that they allowed them to speak. In a whirlwind of emotion you can see, Netta and Erika Totten, two of the main organizers, demanding to be heard. They begin to shout, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” to symbolize that if it were not for them, this movement would not be where it is today. Donnie McClurken ignores them and begins to pray, but Netta and their supporters continue to chant. Now, while many see this as being disrespectful, I applaud these young sisters. You stand up for what you believe in, no matter what. If it were not for these woman gathering the youth and protesting EVERY DAY in Ferguson, no one would care about this movement. There would be no international protesting. There would be no Berkeley protest. Nothing. To deny these people and allow them to be apart of something that they initiated is a slap in the face. This is why so many young people deter the thoughts of protesting or trying to get involved. Older leaders do not know how to let that crown go. We appreciate you for what you have done but it is time to recognize that the youth are the new leaders. They have the ability to reach the masses that will actually listen and want to join this movement. Isn’t this all that matters? To see Al Sharpton’s daughter tweet about these two women as if they were being truly disruptive and disrespectful at her father’s march was appalling. It is not Al Sharpton’s march. I have nothing but love and respect for these women who have been through the trenches to stand up against injustice. They have been through it all and on their own. While the older generation might not respect them, we do. Our generation needs more Black people to stand up like these courageous women. I am so incredibly proud to see that Black women are behind all of this as they tend to make us seem like we are not worthy of this type of behavior in the media. We are not just sitting in the kitchen, cooking meals, we are actually out there putting in the work. I continue to support anyone who is for this cause, but I double support a Black woman. She is giving our younger girls something to look at. While we looked up to Angela Davis and Assata Shakur, these little girls can look and see these positive images of Netta and Erika Totten and countless others on TV and strive to be like them. To be able to stand for something and fight for your freedom. This is what matters. Not a rally chalked with a celebrity line up. But an actual cause that starts a revolution beyond belief.

Photo Credits: @theroot, @Nettaaaaaaaa, @2LiveUnchained

Time for a Change

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Yesterday, before I prepared for work, I heard about the news. Another “no indictment” for a black man killed by a white officer. What was different this time? The anger that rose in me. With Trayvon Martin, I was truly hurt. Hurt that a young man could be harassed and followed and killed by a man and the jury blame him and let his killer go free. With Mike Brown, I was confused as to how someone could not even go to trial and possibly be charged with the killing of an unarmed teenager. With countless others, I had these same sentiments. But this time, I was truly pissed. I could feel the hatred boiling over. Hatred for this country and it’s system. Hatred for those who supported these actions. Hatred for those who felt like they understood, but they really could never fully understand. Hatred for the blatant slap in the face that came with this no indictment. It was like a big “fuck you because we can” that came from America. I later, prayed and channeled that energy. I thought to myself about how I could effectively make a change. After the Mike Brown incident and seeing the countless efforts of the media trying to portray him into something that he was not, I came up with a plan. A plan that I could effectively commit to and something that would help our generations to come. It is in no way the only answer, but it is an effort in helping to change the entire problem. We all have a platform that we are suppose to use and it is up to us to figure out what that is and how to help others.

My love for writing and this media industry has became a little bit of a love/hate relationship. I have struggled with supporting this industry that has no interest in my people. I won’t go into too much details, but in a nutshell, there are little to no Black films out here that are actually good. This not due to lack of talent but it is lack of support from Hollywood. Chris Rock wrote an essay that further describes what I am discussing, please take the time to read: http://m.hollywoodreporter.com/news/top-five-filmmaker-chris-rock-753223?utm_source=twitter

In this essay, Rock talks about how Blacks are not given the same opportunities as Whites when it comes to media and Hollywood. Seriously, where are the black agents and managers that actually have a say in Hollywood? Because of this one-sidedness, you see less of our culture in the media. This is an issue. The lack of proper representation of Blacks in the media is truly sad. I keep saying to myself how I remember growing up and seeing so many positive Blacks in the media. Watching Whoopi Goldberg in “The Color Purple” was the reason I became a writer. When I discovered black poets and writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, I was in awe. I was instantly inspired because I knew that it was an obtainable goal. To become a successful Black writer. Now, think about it. What, in the media, do our children have to look up to? What images do they see day in and day out that will inspire them? Our representation has gone more and more downhill and I feel like it is time for everyone to take a stand. You have the protestors who are taking a stand against injustice in the streets. I feel like this is my stand. My purpose. To bring more positive and inspiring images of our people to the media. When I look at Black women journalists, I become more inspired, but do you know how hard it is to actually find them? I cannot just turn on the TV and have an abundant amount of options. Thankfully, Twitter has been my resource for finding these women in my field that are inspiring me to continue with my goals.

Like I stated before, we all have a purpose on this Earth. It is our duty to leave this world knowing that we helped make it better for the next generation. My gift is in writing, therefore my purpose has to be attached to that. As a writer, I have the power and platform to inform the masses and that is exactly what I am going to do. I want our children to turn on the tv and see a representation of themselves that is real. Not what “society” deems us as being. We need more of our people in the media to continue to inspire and let people see that there is more to life than what you think. It is okay to have goals and aspirations because they are obtainable. You don’t have to claw your way to the top or make a sex tape or be the next reality star to actually be successful. Shows like “Blackish” should not be the only positive show that we have out there right now. We should have an array of options from children shows to adult shows that represent us correctly. This is my new goal. I mean, I do have a production company for a reason. 🙂 I challenge any and every person of color, that is in the media field, to think about this plan. It’s time to make Black Hollywood what it truly needs to be. Not what they think it should be, but what we know to be true. Representation matters.

Photo courtesy: http://www.pinterest.com

Where Do We Go From Here?

isThis case is one of those cases that will forever be remembered. It’s like our generation’s “Rodney King”. George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin. A young black teenager who was simply walking to the store, buying snacks in a hoodie. After the advice of the police, Zimmerman decided to take the law into his own hands and approach Martin. And we know how it ends. This verdict has me feeling numb, especially as a parent. What do I say to my two young black boys? How do I prevent this from happening to them? I was raised to believe that everyone is equal and should be treated as such. You do your best in life and God will reward you. But somehow as I get older, I see that this is starting to change. You can’t just be educated and Black in America and expect to be treated as an equal. This has been proven over and over again.

After the verdict was given, I saw a lot of posts saying that it is in God’s hands and there was nothing we could do. I could not believe that people were actually saying this. And then I saw this post


If that wasn’t the truth right there. From the beginning of time, Blacks have always been told to take the higher road and trust in God for all these things. Now, yes. I believe that God has the final say and my faith in him is as strong as ever, but I do also believe strongly in the verse, “Faith without works is dead.” I believe that God’s reason for prayer is for you to seek him and hear what action he wants you to do to solve your problem. No problem gets solved with you just sitting there. This is something people seem to not remember. Yes, you pray to God, but in that praying you should be seeking His answer. Once you hear it, you act. Sometimes God will tell you to just sit and wait, and other times he will give you instructions on how to make that situation better. Being complacent is what has society in this same situation time and time again. God sends us signals and if we keep ignoring them they are just going to get bigger and bigger. I hear a lot of people complaining that this much attention isn’t given to black on black crimes, but I would say to those people that this is probably a way for God to show those who didn’t pay attention to now see all the violence as a whole. People will begin to rally behind this case and in retrospect their efforts will trickle down and help these other crimes that go ignored.

I, personally, get upset when any type of crime is committed against an innocent person. The Casey Anthony trial had me up in arms. Wrongful killings of my classmates by police and other black men had me up in arms. But this case just made me doubtful. It made me doubt the judicial system. It made me doubt anyone who says that we are all equal. It made me doubt my decision to bring children into this world. Hell, it even made me doubt myself as a mother. But one thing it did do was awaken me. It opened my eyes to see the bigger picture. It opened my eyes to see that I was being complacent in my life. Depending on just my prayers to get me and my boys where we needed to be. Not truly taking any action to get myself closer to that goal. This case showed me that more work needs to be done and I have to put my time in as well. I owe it to my sons to be apart of this fight. So when they are older they can have a future to look to.

Our ancestors fought too hard for us to just let this slip through our fingertips. This is no different then the times that our grandparents lived in, except now there are trials but the outcome is always the same. We have to learn to stop being so complacent and actually stand up for something. Someone said yesterday that ‘what was the point of others respecting us when we don’t respect ourselves?’ This really made me think. With all the reality shows and twerking videos and World Star videos, why would they look at us as equals? Yes, we are not the only ones in these videos, but we are the majority when it comes to them. Instead of another race seeing us as intellectual beings and on the same playing field, they see women fighting over a sorry man, or chicks having a twerk off. Who would respect that? It’s too the point where I am starting to not respect half of the Black community because we sit back and allow this stupidity to continue. We want respect but we continue to degrade ourselves, continue to kill one another. Why would they respect us?

Yes this case is upsetting and no the verdict did not come as a shock and with saying that, that is the problem there. The fact that no one is surprised that Zimmerman, a white man, was allowed to go against police orders and stalk, attack, and kill Trayvon Martin, a black teen, and is able to go home free is very sad and it shows how complacent we have become with these types of situation. We can argue and curse and black out pictures and talk shit on Facebook and Twitter all day, but when it comes down to it, what are you really going to do? I know what my actions will be, but what are yours? Where do you go from here?

You can start in the fight to prevent this from happening to another innocent person by joining the Trayvon Martin Foundation, www.trayvonmartinfoundation.org. They will keep you abreast on peaceful rallys and ways that you can help to get certain laws, like “Stand Your Ground,” out of the system. My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin for their loss. Their son’s death will not be in vain, in my eyes. Hoodies up, eyes open. R.I.P. Trayvon.