Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NBC Nightly News Focuses on Black Women

This is a rare and important moment in television programming. No, there's no glitzy award shows or red carpet appearances, sensational celebrity gossip, nor a perfectly scripted series cliff-hanger to mention. And surprisingly, it's not on PBS!

In case you haven't heard, NBC Nightly News with Brian Phillips has turned its focus on Black women--not famed entertainers--but every day sistas who are just as influential. In a week long series black women are center stage voicing their insights and concerns about education, family, health, and relationships on national television. And we didn't have to wait for Black History Month for once!

The series was not produced to entertain; there's no singing, dancing, cooking, or staged reality show "acting-out". However, the dialogue doesn't get any more real when it comes to black women expressing their thoughts on relationships with black men and interracial dating. Take note, Something New really isn't! And to hear this kind of frank conversation in a network broadcast news setting is refreshing and long overdue, even if it is being aired this week to raise ratings during November sweeps.

Some of what you hear may be surprising, especially concerning the statistics in education, employment, and politics. But more importantly, I hope it motivates and enlightens us about the power we have as women to change the status quo in our lives and in our community. History teaches us we are more than conquerers, and now more than ever as black women we need a conquering spirit to combat all that we know is killing is softly through fear, mis-education, poverty, and depression. The current state of Hip Hop music, in my opinion, merely mirrors this.

The series began Monday and will continue until the end of the week. The response has been phenomenal according to the reporters' blogs and the network appreciates the tons of phone calls, emails, website comments, and blog entries. After viewing the clips of the episodes that have already aired below, please take a minute to join in the discussion at the NBC Nightly News website HERE. But don't stop there! Keep the conversation going through emails, blog entries, phone calls, focus groups, and then be bold in taking some action to broaden your horizons or better your situation.

Lastly, I have to take a minute to give Senior Vice President of NBC News, Mark Whitaker, who came up with the idea, some props. Thank you black man for putting black women on the forefront of America's mind for a whole week. Thanks also go to the series' producers and reporters Mara Schiavocampo and Rehema Ellis. Having worked in news, I know it wasn't easy getting this kind of reporting pitched to predominantly-white male execs, approved, and produced under tight deadlines for primetime. In the past this series probably would have been a minute and thirty second "special report" and aired in the middle of the night, unheard of and unseen by those desiring to view it most.

Still, people are already complaining of it being too short, too anti-black male, too this and too that not realizing how hard it is to get intelligent black folk on camera to talk about anything, especially sensitive subjects. Obviously, Black Women: Where They Stand isn't going to address and solve every problem in the black community, but it does let the world know that we are just as concerned about our community and families as everyone else is about theirs, and no we aren't all looking for solutions at the strip club or through mainstream media. So to the producing team, I say thank you.

Here are links to the reports that have aired already:

Why black women succeed at work
Why black women succeed at work



Redefining black relationships
Redefining black relationships



Love, in black and white
Love, in black and white



Girl talk
Girl talk



More black women taking care of business
More black women taking care of business



Black women and breast cancer
Black women and breast cancer



Experts on black women, cancer
Experts on black women, cancer

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