Social media sharing has enhanced the discussion of positive representation of Blacks in mainstream media. The season finale of FOX Network’s prime time series Empire boasted 16.7 million viewers despite repeated accusations that the show depicts negative stereotypes of African-Americans in the hip-hop industry. Much of the dissent is from people who seek to trade images of angry Black women, rappers, and pimps with images of Black lawyers, doctors, and educators.
Jarrett Carter, founding editor of HBCUDigest.com, spoke on the topic of educators at historically-Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) being misrepresented as influencers in mass media:
“The general public isn’t aware of the black college braintrust for three distinct reasons. Professors generally don’t share what they are doing with their university PR staff, PR staff generally don’t know how to sell scholarship and research to general newsdesks, and general newsdesks generally don’t want to report about scholarship and research – especially if its scholarship and research that is done to aid black people.” – Jarrett Carter
Highlighting the key points in his statement:
1) Professors generally don’t share what they are doing with their university PR staff
2) PR staff generally don’t know how to sell scholarship and research to general newsdesks
3) General newsdesks generally don’t want to report about scholarship and research – especially if its scholarship and research that is done to aid black people.
How many educators from historically-Black colleges and universities are represented in mainstream media?
Marc Lamont Hill, Morehouse professor and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., ranked in the Top 50 educators on the “2015 Edu-Scholar Influence Rankings”. He is also a contributor for CNN News and the only educator listed in the rankings that represents an HBCU.
Does the perceived lack of influential educators at historically-Black institutions deter students from enrolling in HBCUs?
Syracuse University partnered with hip-hop artist A$AP Ferg to promote a limited edition clothing line that fused collegiate athletic apparel with hip-hop fashions such as crew necks and bucket hats. The collection was sold digitally on the Virgin Mega iTunes app. Prices started at $40, with a percentage of proceeds to be distributed to scholarships for students at each school A$AP Ferg visited with Virgin Mega.
Can historically-Black colleges and universities swing hip-hop media in their favor? Hip-hop culture has been spread throughout institutions of higher education for decades. DJs on college campuses have the power to break independent artists.
How can HBCU educators improve the distribution of brand news concerning the accomplishments of HBCU students, faculty, and staff? The hip-hop culture has one of the most encompassing demographics, with global supporters from every race, class, and age. Hip-hop is the voice of radical change for urban youth, and HBCUs are homesteads for the next generation of urban educators.
Carter, Jarrett. “Why Your Professor Isn’t On Good Morning America”.
Hess, Rick. “2015 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings”.
Clark, Khari. “A$AP Ferg & Virgin Mega Collaborate On A Limited Edition Clothing Line.”
“Empire Finale Draws Season High Viewership”