Narrative matters and I consider myself a gatekeeper (by way of writing) of Black culture. When Airmedia.org announced they were holding a Full Spectrum National Storytelling Intensive in Dec. 2015, I was initially excited. However, the visual of presenters on the flier showed not one person of color. I was sad for a moment, then I got angry. I questioned the ridiculousness of having a “national” anything without representation for people of color. How dare they? After all, that’s been stolen and distorted for centuries. Not on my watch. In usual fashion, I used writing to speak out on my frustration at a system hell bent on feeding stereotypes and racism. I don’t use social media just for rants. Sometimes, my laughter goes soul deep when Black Twitter drags a misguided soul through Black Twitter flames as they correct the racial and cultural dig thrown at Black people. “Whyppio,” and “coon” may not show up on in your Scrabble dictionary, but the urban connection on the internet knows what and whom the terms refer to.
Which brings me to Facebook. I thank Mark Zuckerberg for creating the platform. Of course, there are haters of social media in general, and Facebook, specifically. Some folk believe social media is an evil government plot that destroys lives. Truth is, if you’re a mess starter or enjoy being in the thick of mess, you can find it anywhere-even on Facebook. Or one can use the space for good. Facebook has enhanced my life on many levels. It feeds my creative and spiritual sides. I can share thesis length disappointment over horribly gross oversights of organizations like Air Media .org. I happen to love Facebook most days. I stay connected with family and friends. I’ve even found people I’ve wondered about for decades using Facebooks’ search feature. I’ve started pages and groups, and I’ve joined groups that feed my news junkie, emotional well-being, and socialprener needs.
I was elated to learn that Facebook is holding a Meet-up in Chicago June 23-24 for members who serve as administrators on the popular social media platform. Mashable says there are “tens of millions” of Facebook administrators around the world. That’s a lot of people. Facebook is picking up the tab for lodging, participants are on their own for transportation.
I thought wow, the Z-man and I are on the same wavelength. I’m hosting a Black Writers Meetup. We’re gathering in Vegas, July 27-30. As an admin of Facebook’s Writers- Black Art Connected, I know the power of social media. The writers’ think-tank has grown from four members to 7,000 since April 2016. There is pride in being a part of something where writers feel safe to express themselves.
I’m tasked with doing my best to honor the vision of Kinte Ferguson the creator of Black Artist Connected (BAC), which has 12 subgroups of which writing is one. The groups cover Black Art from A-Z. Music, cooking, fashion, and visual art. you name it’s BAC has it. Black Art Connected has grown to 300,000 members since Ferguson started the group, in 2010. The network means I have writing friends and connections for life, and I’ll never have to look outside of BAC again for my art jones.
“Social media and Facebook are vital resources as I grow intentional communities,” - C. Imani Williams, YBLTV Writer / Reviewer
As a professional writer and social justice activist, it is crucial that I have space to question, critique, explore and grow. WBAC affords me that daily, with writing peers who understand that these are critical social times. We overstand the need to share our truths and what’s going on in our communities. The group diversity is noteworthy. We’re multi-generational and I have learned so much from writers in their 20’s and 30’s who are old souls writing across genres. They have changed my opinion of millennials, a group which I found myself constantly lending a healthy serving of side eye. As artists this intentional space is invaluable.
W.B.A.C. Members are unpublished and published (some widely), we’re newbies writers who’ve never shared our works, and we’re writers who have been at it for decades. We’re socialpreneurs, novelists, poets, film, and songwriters. Social media, namely Facebook has provided the setting and opportunity for us to engage daily. People show up and share current writing projects inclusive of poems, essays, and short stories. We tackle the everyday hard stuff of holding space in an America that doesn’t appreciate our journey and struggle. We give and receive honest feedback and encouragement. Members share information and resources freely. Information, that people pay big money for. Members only need to show up on the page.
It is imperative that the narratives of Black people be told correctly. Facebook and social media have changed the game so that all you need is an internet connection to get stories and legacies told. The virtual audience is unlimited and we look to grow our writing family. Because even with the explosion of social media and access to information twenty-four seven, African-Americans are still under and mis and underrepresented in media. We’re changing that, by connecting, sharing, and publishing our narratives and submissions.
If attending the 2017 NAB Show, you’ll want to RSVP for the Facebook Video Bootcamp Fireside Chat session below:
Facebook Video Boot Camp at NAB 2017
Wed. April 26| 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM | N257
The growth of social video has content creators, media brands, and marketers rethinking production and distribution. Facebook has emerged as one of the most impactful players in this space – and the platform continues to evolve as publishers learn how to better leverage it.
The Facebook Boot Camp features presentations from Facebook staff, as well as creators who have found success on the platform. It aims to offer practical tips, insightful data and best practices to help publishers make the most out of this new and exciting global broadcast platform.
Visit the NAB Show website for more information regarding this year’s trade show.