Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cowboys of Color on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Update: Audio of Show can be found here.

Join Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes as we profile organizations, leaders, and volunteers who lead by example. With extraordinary acts of kindness and charitable giving that help countless lives daily, these organizations, leaders, and volunteers embody "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Gloria and Jim Austin being presented with art for NMWHM
On Saturday, May 31, 2014, tune in to hear Jim Austin, the founder of the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum. Mr. Austin, a former executive with American Express, will share historical perspectives of people and activities that built the unique culture of the American West. Often, historians have left out the contributions of Black and Hispanic Cowboys and Native American Indians. And Hollywood's version of the American Cowboy rarely includes diversity.

"Cowboys of Color" Rodeo
Mr. Austin will discuss American heroes like Bill Pickett who is famously known for "bulldogging", women of the "wild wild west" like Mary Fields, also known as “Stagecoach Mary”  and recent inductees into the Cowboys and Cowgirls Hall of Fame.

Ebony Horsewomen Equestrian and Agricultural Center
Mr. Austin will share the significance of the  Hall of Fame and the importance of highlighting the excellent examples of American heroes of the past, present, and future.  He will share stories about individual contributors to maintaining the history of American Western Culture like Art T. Burton, scholar and author of Black, Red, and Deadly, actress Pam Grier, and Patrica E. Kelly, founder of Ebony Horsewomen, Inc., who is teaching a younger generation to the benefits of an Equine Education that promotes science, technology, engineering, math and horsemanship.

This show promises to keep you laughing while engaging you with one nugget of knowledge after another. 

Living Your Best Life Radio, radio that empowers, inspires, and motivates you to live your BEST life. can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, Tune In, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142).

More About Jim Austin

James N. "Jim" Austin, Jr. is the broker and owner of The Austin Company Commercial Real Estate, established in 1981. The Austin Company has served the Fort Worth-Dallas metro area with commercial real estate and property management services for over thirty-three years. Austin served as Commissioner on the Texas Real Estate Commission for eight years. Jim Austine is a 1976 graduate of Howard University where he received his BA in Business. As a realtor, his commitment to his community service garnered him national recognition from the National Association of Realtors® as a recipient of the coveted Realtor® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award in 2003. The Good Neighbor Awards recognize REALTORS® who’ve made an extraordinary strides to improving the quality of life in their communities through volunteer efforts.

 Jim Austin Online (JAO) originated in the fall of 2008 with 200 friends signing up to receive a e-newsletter from Jim. Jim Austine Online now has a community of over nearly 20,000 members. In conjunction with the weekly newsletter, JAO offers benefits that are exclusively found on JAO website such as monthly Networking Business Luncheons with high profile individuals as host like gubernatorial candidates and other relevant business and political figures. JAO also offers tickets to various theatrical, music and sporting events held at event venues such as Nokia Theater and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

More About the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum 


The mission of the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame is to offer visitors a true and complete historical perspective of the people and activities that built the unique culture of the American West. The works of artists who have documented the people and events of the time through journals, photographs, and other historical items are part of this new collection.  These long overlooked materials tell, perhaps, for the first time the complete story.  The American West of today still operates on many of the principles and cultural relationships begun so long ago.

The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum was started to acknowledge the contributions of Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, European Americans, and African Americans in the settlement of the Western American Frontier.



The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum is currently located at 3400 Mount Vernon Ave in Forth Worth, Texas. There are several featured exhibits such as the Tuskegee Airmen and the Buffalo Soldiers .

Photo Credits: NMWHM, JOA, and Ebony Horsewomen, Inc.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Growing Trend... Blaming Women to Justify Violence

The Memorial Day weekend began with horrific murders in Isla Vista, California. Elliot Rodger, a misogynistic 22 year, turned his anger towards sorority women who he felt rejected him decided he would “punish” women who he felt a sense of entitlement to their bodies went on a mass killing spree. He killed six individuals, severely wounded nine others and committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to his head.


On Friday, Rodger sent a one hundred and forty page manifesto to family and friends detailing how he would extract “retribution on reckoning day.” Prior to his manifesto, Rodger a college student at Santa Barbara City College, posted messages on forums and You Tube sprouting his delusional views, his lonely existence, and constant questioning why women were not interested in him. Rodger could not understand why a good looking “Eurasian with a shiny black BMW” could not get a date in a town filled with pretty blondes who rather spend time with a Black man instead of him.

Rodger had been in counseling since the age of eight years old. Rodger’s father was the assistant director of Games of Thrones and his mother once dated George Lucas and worked with Stephen Spielberg. Rodger was the very essence of white privilege. A young man who seemed to have it all, had bottled up rage that intensified over the years and he blamed women for it. Rodger’s indignation against women led him to plan to kill all of the members of the Tri Delta sorority house located near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Crime scene from Isla Vista shooting.
After stabbing to death his roommates, Rodger left his home on Friday evening determined to kill the sorority women. His attempts to get inside of the sorority house was foiled so he turned his hate on three women walking by and shot them several times at point blank range. Two of the three he shot, died outside of their sorority house. 
UCSB students gather at candle light vigil.
After he shot the sorority women, he drove around firing from his BMW while using his car as a weapon as he drove over anyone that was in his way. The hatred oozing from one man towards women has left six families struggling to comprehend losing a child away at college in such a senseless planned attack and a college community stunned at the rage that was inflicted on the innocent.

Rage against innocent women is being played out internationally as well. As we enter the sixth week of the Nigerian kidnapped school girls by terrorists, Boka Horam, the helplessness of their parents can be felt around the globe. Men with guns decided to burn a school to the ground and carry off young women and girls who were being educated as a show of masculine power to world leaders. Men with guns did not rage war against other men with guns, another country, their government or other militia. No, Boka Horam, which means Western education is sinful, decided to show what their definition of brute force by taking young women and girls in the middle of the night. To the dismay of the world, the Nigerian government and other countries have not been as quick to look for them as countries were willing to comb the bottom of the sea for months to search for passengers on a missing plane.
  
Nigerian School Girls in video provided by Boka Horam
To further torture the families of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls, Boka Horam videoed their kidnapped victims to proclaim that the young women and girls would be sold into slavery or married off to the lowest bidder if Boka Haram political prisoners were not released.  The young women and girls were the focus of violence; not the military, not the government, or other factions but the females in the countryside were targeted to accomplish the sadistic will of a terrorist organization.
  
Violence towards women is not just committed or cheered on by men. Bravo TV has help perfected violence-for-entertainment that pay great dividends to the network. The Real Housewives series have been steadily ramping up the friction between the women on the scripted show. Each year, the antics of the cast have continued to include more and more physical confrontations. In March at a taping, members of the Real Housewives of Atlanta took their personal grievances to another level that was aired in April. Porsha Williams after being taunted by Kenya Moore, assaulted Kenya Moore in a moment that was deemed “the weave snatch seen around the world.” Porsha decided to put an end to Kenya’s put downs and literally drug her by the hair across the floor while kicking and clawing the entire time. Instead of many condemning the attack, social media weighed in and many believed Porsha was justified in her actions. Bravo condemned the attack but continued to replay the show over and over every weekend since the initial showing of the reunion show in April. The network has been rewarded handsomely for continuing to show the violent profanity laced episode. The ratings of the Real Housewives of Atlanta netted Bravo it highest ratings since debuting the franchise and has spun off a number of ‘pundit style’ shows where the cast member discuss the fight. Each spin off or follow up show was heavily advertised and all have been highly rated. The demographics of viewers of Real Housewives of Atlanta are ages 24-54 year olds. There is no denying that the majority who watch the show, often called Sunday’s guilty pleasure, are women.

In order to address the ever increasing violence towards women that can take the form of revenge perpetrated by the misogyny ranting of an obsess sexless fiend, to political kidnappings around the world, to degrading reality shows disguised as entertainment, women must be willing to denounce all violence towards women. Women must stand united and strong in the narrative and not cherry pick one violent act over the other. Women must be the first to come to the aid of another woman. Often, that starts right in the places we often overlook; women groups, our communities, on the job, and in our places of worship. Until women condemn violence toward women first, violence towards women will continue to escalate and will be used to justify entertainment, political grandstanding, or a mass killing spree.


Photo credits: LA Times, New York Times, Gif Bravo TV 

Monday, May 19, 2014

5 Lessons Learned From Donald Sterling's Horrible Interview



By now, Donald Sterling’s picture can be found as two references in the dictionary; racist and fool. Last week, Sterling’s mea culpa failed its mission. His interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 left no doubt he was indeed as racists as the lawsuits said he was from years ago. He confirmed more than the public ever imagined. He solidified his entry into the Fools' Hall of Fame.

Sterling has made millions. If he sell the Clippers, he will make nearly a billion. If he does not sell the Clippers, he will still make nearly a billion. But his despicable words in the taped conversation with V. Stiviano actually paled in comparison to what was said on camera. Surely, he was prepped in some way as to what would be asked of him. But instead of rehashing his failed industry standard “I am sorry you found out I was racist misspeak”, let us looked at five lessons we can learned from the Donald Sterling’s debacle:

5.  Character Should Count



Donald Sterling was taped by his girlfriend. Sterling is married. Sterling had no shame showing the world he had a girlfriend. He didnot sneak around; he openly dated her. I know in the age of I am engaged but I am not yet divorced world, there are many who believe in marriage. If Sterling walks around with his girlfriend on his arms at games while still married to his wife who he also takes to the Clipper games, one can only imagine how well he would honor a contractual agreement with a business client. Or the NBA. Or the community. Even if one can overlook his personal life, the list of lawsuits that Sterling has won and lost over the years reveals he does not care about how business is conducted, just so long as he is making money.  

4. Ignorance is Bliss and Jealously is Obvious



Donald Sterling’s spouted pure ignorance about Magic Johnson’s HIV status. Sterling’s judgment of Magic being with ‘women in every city with AIDS” is said as if his affair with V. Stiviano was blessed by the Pope. Sterling’s disapproval of Magic’s conduct has got to be one of the best examples of pot meet kettle to date. But not only was Sterling ignorant about Magic but asking Anderson Cooper about dating girls sealed the deal that he must live in a gigantic bubble. Cooper is gay…and proud.  If you recall, Sterling requested Anderson Cooper to interview him.  Besides Donald Sterling being ignorant of other people lives and lifestyles, his jealously of Magic Johnson was front and center. The question, “Who is Magic Johnson?” was nothing but a veiled, I do not know why everyone loves Magic so much and not me. It is a classic case of a student of the game is now a teacher and can actually can enter the teachers’ lounge without permission. When one look at the culture of LA, hanging out with Magic Johnson sounds far more exciting than hanging out with old crusty Sterling.  But let us dig even deeper. Sterling’s teeth were kicked out when he needed to play “I am a good white man” race card and trout out a “my best friend is Black” to stand next to him during interviews and Magic refused to be that best Black friend. That knife seem to cut Sterling more than the betrayal of his girlfriend. Who says no to Donald Sterling? Sterling retaliated by reminding the public about Magic’s HIV. Good for magic being willing to set the record straight.  

3. You Are Known By the Company You Keep


In the number of interviews that followed Donald Sterling's disastrous foot in mouth sit down, the one that received much scrutiny was the escort service owner turned rapper named Maseratiet on CNN. Maseratiet shared with millions that he and Donald Sterling had been friends for years. And it was Maseratiet who actually introduced Sterling to V. Stiviano. Whenever a pimp, I mean an escort service owner introduces a man to a woman; there is rarely anything wholesome about that relationship. Pay to play get much emphasis here. The fact that Maseratiet was someone that Sterling considered a good friend who he called to share his version of truth is more than troubling. What type of person has an escort service provider as a confidante? Where was his lawyer or PR people? Surely, he had someone on his payroll to talk this through instead of a pimp. According to Maseratiet, he was the seller of the tapes not his friend, V. Stiviano. Now, a blind man can see Maseratiet and V. Stiviano conspiring to set up Sterling and they are on their way to making millions. There are hours of tapes and they have only sold the first few hours. Someone who sells women for money will sell his friend's taped secrets for money. Stay tune, more to come.

2. White Privilege is Golden 


In his CNN interview, Donald Sterling showed us that white privilege lives and breathes. And it is lined with gold. Sterling is one of the wealthiest men in the country and he says on national TV what he really thinks without any true consequences. Donald Sterling did not have to mount a legislative agenda to take away voting rights, he did not have to back a campaign to get his will done, nor did he have to form a PAC that is meant to raise billions to elect puppets who will make less $200,000 a year to send to Washington to look after his interests. No, Donald Sterling only has to own an NBA Team with mostly Black players, sell them homes from his real estate company, let them play  a few rounds of golf with him, and have them deposit their money (that he negotiated for them) in the bank where he sits on the board. With white privilege, he can proudly tell you “I is what I is” and fuel the passion of those who are longing to bring back the Old South in every way. Donald Sterling makes the Koch Brothers seem like toddlers crying in their crib.

1    1. The Truth Can Set You Free



      Donald Sterling’s words about Magic Johnson seem to catch all the heat, but very few are addressing his statements about the Black Community. Donald Sterling does not believe the Black Community takes care of its own. He did not pull that out of the air. He has been around more Black people than most and is sharing his observations whether Black folks want to accept it or not. The fact that someone as lewd and racist as Donald Sterling has been given an NAACP Image Award is not lost on anyone. Especially, those who rather send a little cash than make significant changes in how business is done in the community of color. Sterling knew if he bought enough tables at events and gave away enough ‘free’ tickets, those actions would buy him clout in a community that has become more event centric than solution oriented. More galas, balls, and luncheons are held by civic groups, fraternities and sororities, and social organizations in the Black community than any other community. Yet, the Black community continues to have higher disparities in healthcare, consume more than is produced economically, and is lagging behind in education than any other group.  Sterling was not held accountable by the NBA but nor was he held accountable by the Black community.

Let the lessons from Donald Sterling’s confessions of a wealthy racist be a driver of what needs to change as a whole. One person can be toxic to an entire community and our country, but one person can also be a change agent in their community. If one can be a change agent, imagine what can be done if several groups came together to do and be. Sterling should be a reason for the Black Community to examine itself more closely and be willing to address and change what can be done from within. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Will Harper and Dr. Dick Barnett on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

 Update: Audio can be found here of Will Harper and here of Dr. Barnett.

During the last several weeks more people have been discussing the NBA and  the actions of Donald Sterling than the NBA Playoffs. Living Your Best Life joins the dialogue by having honest conversations without punditry back and forth that will address issues that have not only plagued the NBA but our country for decades.
Will Harper

Dr. Dick Barnett
On Saturday, May 17, 2014 Emmy Award winner, CEO, producer, and director of The Global Touch Group , Will Harper and NBA legend, author, lecturer, and educator, Dr. Dick Barnett, will share their thoughts on sports and entertainment and how they are defining our culture today.
Nelson Mandela and Will Harper
Oprah Winfrey and Will Harper
Xernona Clayton and Will Harper
Will Harper will share lessons learned from working with Nelson Mandela, Oprah, Xernona Clayton, Issac Hayes, Lenny Krazit, Magic Johnson Enterprises, and ESPN to name a few and how he grew as a person from each encounter. Harper will share how the timing of Donald Sterling's debacle coincides with a future documentary that Harper is planning to produce. The documentary will explore the history of the NBA through the eyes of the original Harlem Globetrotters and NBA players like New York Knicks' Dr. Dick Barnett.

Walt Frazier, Phil Jackson, and Dr. Dick Barnett
  TSU, NAIA Basketball National Champions1957-59
New York Knicks 1970 NBA Champions
Dr. Dick Barnett, nicked named "Fall Back Baby" because of his famous jump shots, will weigh in on the Donald Sterling mayhem as well. He will share his thoughts about the ongoing systemic issues in the NBA from a player's perspective and share why he believes professional athletes must take ownership of not using their collective financial power to bring about more drastic changes in the NBA and in the communities many come from prior to becoming successful athletes.

Global Citizens, Will Harper and Dr. Dick Barnett, will empower, inspire, and motivate you to live your BEST life. Living Your Best Life,  can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network (XM 142).

More about Will Harper

Will Harper and Ambassador Andrew Young
Will Harper and Madame Bernadette Christie, First Lady of the Bahamas
“Why change a Picasso”, – Clint Eastwood about Will Harper’s film “The making of “Bird”- a behind the scenes documentary on Charlie “Bird” Parker, starring Forest Whitaker

During the course of his production career Will Harper conceptualized, produced and directed a plethora of projects for Oprah, Clint Eastwood, Lenny Kravitz, Jamie Foxx, Warner Bros, Disney, Paramount, Universal, ABC, CBS, ESPN, Leo Burnett and others. Possessing a unique and diverse repertoire of skills collected from his experience from major studios to independent projects all over the world (Europe, South Africa, South America, Central America, Middle East, Asia, Caribbean & U.S.). Harper is one executive whose extensive production background bestows a powerful contribution upon each and every project.

Harper’s business acumen, market sensibilities, extensive knowledge that includes every aspect of production from inception to completion and his ability to combine effective story-telling with visually-stimulating images, have established him as one of the most comprehensive producers/directors in show business. He received an Emmy Award for creating original children's programming for Westinghouse.
  original children’s programming for Westinghouse.or creating
In 2002, Harper founded The GlobalTouch Group (GTG), an hybrid branding and marketing agency. GTG’s portfolio includes television shows on major networks and branding campaigns that have tremendously increased market share for businesses worldwide.

More About Dr. Dick Barnett


Dr. Barnett in the studios with Genma Holmes
Richard “Dick” Barnett began his basketball career playing for Gary Roosevelt High School in Indiana where he led his team to the state championship. In 1955, Barnett came to Tennessee State A&I (now Tennessee State University) to become arguably the best player in the university’s history. Today, he remains TSU’s all time leading basketball scorer with 3,209 career points from 1955-1959. He, along with the “whiz kids” were under the leadership of Basketball Hall of Fame Coach John B. McLendon. The Tigers won an unprecedented three consecutive NAIA National Basketball Championships in 1957, 1958 and 1959 and became the first historically black college to ever win an integrated national championship. During those championship seasons, Barnett was a three time All-American and was named the NAIA Tournament MVP for two consecutive years. His 1957 All-American honor marked the first time an African American was ever named to the National All-American team.

Barnett was a number one draft choice in the National Basketball Association with the Syracuse Nationals. He played in the American Basketball League with the Cleveland Pipers owned by George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees in 1962 and led them to an ABL Championship. Dick Barnett rejoined the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and played with the likes of Elgin Baylor and Jerry West for three seasons. He was later traded to the New York Knicks where he played on the only two championship teams in Knicks’ history (1970 and 1973). His number was retired and hangs in the rafters of Madison Square Garden. Dick Barnett retired as an active player in the 1970s after a long fifteen-year professional career. He continued to pursue his educational studies and received a Doctoral degree in education from Fordham University. Dr. Barnett is now President of ARM, the Athletic Role Model Educational Institute, a non-profit organization with a focus on education for at risk students. He has recently been named the Commissioner of the WBL, a professional basketball league in New York. Dr. Barnett has been inducted into the Indiana Sports Hall of Fame, the Tennessee State University Sports Hall of Fame (1983), Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (2005) and the College Basketball Hall of Fame (2007). He is the first TSU athlete to ever have his jersey retired (#35).

Photo credits: Will Harper, Genma Holmes, Dr. Dick Barnett, TSU and New York Knicks Archives

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Margot James Copeland on Living Your Best Life Radio

 Update: Audio of show can be heard here.

Join Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes as we profile organizations, leaders, and volunteers who lead by example. With extraordinary acts of kindness and charitable giving that help countless lives daily, these organizations, leaders, and volunteers embody "Be the change you want to see in the world."

On Saturday, May 10, 2014, tune in to hear one of our country's most inspiring leaders, Margot James Copeland, CEO and Chair of  KeyBank Foundation. Copeland will share chapters from her life Mother's Day weekend. She will fondly share about being raised in an HBCU community that was a "rich environment" where the focus was not money but character building. Copeland shares with a smile in her voice, "It was not if you were going to college but where."

Margot James Copeland and Traci Otey Blunt: TNJ 's 2014 25 Most Influential Women in Business Honorees
Margot James Copeland and Genma Stringer Holmes in New York
Copeland will share her journey to being one of the most influential corporate executives and how she credits being at the helm of Leadership Cleveland as one of the defining moments in her career prior to joining KeyBank. She also shares advice on being true to yourself, servant leadership, and diversity.

Copeland will discuss the importance of being in the community in order to lead the community. She will share thoughts on the millennial generation and how they use social media to promote advocacy to address change. Copeland also talks about current issues like #brinkbackourgirls and what the protests surrounding Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis  said about the culture of today's youth and social injustice.
Margot James Copeland Named Hampton University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year!
Copeland will share her most memorable moments as a daughter with her mother,Thelma James Taylor, while lovingly recalling her favorite Mother's Day moments with her children, Reverend Kimberly, Dr. Garrison, and Michael Copeland. She will also share why she believes college graduations held on Mother's Day are one truly the ultimate Mother's Day gift!

Living Your Best Life, a radio show that empowers, inspires and motivates one to live their BEST life, can be heard on 760 AM in the Middle-Tennessee Region, military bases, and streamed live on U-Stream.TV from 9-10AM CST. This show will also air on WTST, a member of the HBCU radio network.

More about Margot James Copeland


Copeland began her corporate career at Xerox Corporation, Polaroid, and Picker International. In 1992, she was hired as executive director for Leadership Cleveland, a program of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association that develops community leaders. After seven years at Leadership Cleveland, Copeland became president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, a nonprofit organization founded to improve multicultural and multiracial relations in the Cleveland area. She joined KeyCorp in 2001, and served as executive vice president - director, corporate diversity and philanthropy and as an executive council member. KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies and, within her position as chair and CEO of the KeyBank Foundation, she managed the company’s annual $20 million philanthropic investment program and oversaw diversity initiatives. KeyCorp has been included in DiversityInc magazine’s list of 50 Top Companies for Diversity in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009 and ranked 13th among the most generous cash giving companies in America in a 2003 list published by BusinessWeek. In 2013, the KeyBank Foundation was recognized as a Civic 50 Company by the National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light and Bloomberg LP. 
Copeland has participated in a number of community organizations and boards. In 2010, she became the fifteenth president of The Links, Inc. She has also served as the president of the Junior League of Cleveland, Inc., sat on the Kent State University board of trustees, acted as Mentor/Protégé Program Advisor for Morehouse College, and is a member of the Business School Advisory board at Hampton University.  

Copeland was listed as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Cleveland” by New Cleveland Woman magazine, and in 2012, Savoy magazine included her in a list of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.” She is also the recipient of the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award; was the 2006 Black Professional of the Year as recognized by Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation; received the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Community Service Award; and the W.O. Walker Excellence in Community Service Award, sponsored by the Call and Post newspaper. Copeland also received the distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 2013 from Hampton University. (source)


Photo credits: Genma Holmes, Links, Inc., KeyBank, and Hampton University


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mainstream Media Asks Why Lack of Initial Coverage Of Nigerian Kidnappings: Answer, Mainstream Media Ignored The Story

"What came first, the chicken or the egg,” is the age old question. Now that the extremely tragic and horrific events that are taking place in and around Nigeria have been brought to light via social justice advocates storming social media to vent their outrage, the media has the unmitigated gall to inquire about why this story was under reported. 

Before addressing that head on, let us give proper acknowledgement to the use of the hash tag #bringbackourgirls with its trending around the globe to get networks to start reporting on the kidnapping that was first reported by media outlets like The Guardian on April 15, 2014, a day after the girls were taken by terrorists. 


So, what comes first, the public interest or the media’s coverage bringing to the public the story that will ignite their interest?


While the media has started to give more coverage to the kidnapped Nigerian school girls over the last several days because of world wide protests demanding the girls be found, each story was accompanied with a media personality asking why the media did not pick up the story initially. When the question is asked, "Why has there been very little coverage of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls?", the network asking the question is trying to exclude itself from the media (the other guys)  that did not reported on the kidnapping. The network news black out on the kidnapping is a stark contrast to the 24 hour coverage that has been given to the missing passengers on MH370 since March 8, 2014. With unpredictable seas, lost of confidence in the Malaysian government's transparency, and the likelihood of any survivors, many have accepted the fate of the passengers while still hoping MH370 is found. But the missing MH370 still receives widespread coverage on most cable networks.

When networks question its lack of informing the public, it shows how far the media has loss sight of the role of journalism and how today's media rather entertain the public than inform the public. Journalism is a method of inquiry and literary style that aims to provide a service to the public by the dissemination and analysis of news and other information. Today's rating driven media fails miserly in its duties to the public. This weekend as part of the reporting on kidnapped Nigerian school girls, the media hid behind that failure by asking questions about the lack of coverage in the reporting. The answer to their staged questioning is very simple, the networks did not see value in covering the story and begun reporting more frequently after being shamed by social media and the rallies held around the world over the weekend.

One example of justification for lack of reporting on ghastly events in Nigeria was given by CNN's Reliable Sources host, Brian Stelter. Stelter credited CNN for having reporters in Nigeria before asking Nigerian based CNN correspondent, Vladimir Duthiersis, more about the story. During Vladimire's segment, he  made the following statement regarding lack of coverage:
In Nigeria - in Africa, but specifically in Nigeria - there are a lot of challenges when it comes to reporting a story like this. This has happened in a part of the country that is very remote. There are challenges in getting signals there.


CNN, a network that reported for over a decade from the harsh barren terrain of Iraq and Afghanistan, countries known for rocks and 120 degree heat in the shade, does not have equipment to cover kidnapped school girls in Nigeria, a country that is known for rocks and heat? During Operation Iraqi Freedom, CNN had embedded reporters who actually lived with the troops for months in some of the most desolate parts of the world. Because of their reporting, we saw war up close and personal. All the time. The kidnapped girls' story has elements of many stories CNN has profiled around the clock other than MH370 plane. CNN and Headline News has given unprecedented coverage to missing children. In the case of Florida's missing toddler, Caylee Anthony, we learned every detail about a child whose mother, Casey Anthony, was charged but was found innocent of her death. We also learned everything about her mother, dubbed "Tot Mom" by the network, as well. Casey Antony's  monthly cycle, her mother, her father, her brother, her boyfriends, her clubbing were all part of the 24 hour news coverage of that case for several years. JonBenet Ramsey and most recently, Jodi Arias, all have received relentless news coverage on CNN and Headline News.


CNN is not alone by any means in 24 hours coverage of a particular storyline favored by a network. Fox News maybe not be known for covering many issues outside of politics but no one can not deny their devotion for covering terrorists and helping promote the war on terror. Long after 9/11, Fox News keeps their loyal audience prepared for possible terrorists activity around the globe. Even after nearly two decades at war, Fox News hates the audacity that our country has been slow to intervene with military force to help save those fighting against Islamic extremists in recent years. When innocent school girls are kidnapped by terrorists who can find a wireless signal to shoot a You Tube video boasting about their crimes (when CNN can't), this should have been a story competing with Fox's coverage of Benghazi.


The kidnappers, terrorists named Boko Haram, which means Western education is sinful, seems to have all of the requirements for an all out religious extremists color coded Fox News coverage. Fox News has had an insatiable appetite for the United States to send troops in the following conflicts:  Syrians rebels fighting against Assad, nuclear stand off with Iran, unrest in Egypt, Arab Spring, Russian Urkaine. Fox News covering the kidnapped school girls would have been a reminder to its base that the world is under constant threat of terrorism. Boko Haram should have received non stop coverage complete with Sunday talk shows with Senator McCain and military experts pounding their fists to bomb the region, raid the palace of the incompetent Nigerian President and help arm the parents with weapons to fight for the children.


The MSNBC Network covers women issues often  and had several segments on this past weekend discussing the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as well. But in each segment, the reporting slipped in the question of lack of coverage the media has given the kidnapping. MSNBC has devoted hours to pay equality, legislative restrictions on women reproductive rights, numerous GOP gaffes on "rape rape", and has interviewed many women politicians and candidates than most cable channels. With MSNBC championing women rights as fiercely as Fox promotes military muscle against terrorism while CNN break ins with trial updates of cases they have helped sensationalized, women and girls seeking an education kidnapped by terrorists and sold to the lowest bidder should have had MSNBC working around the clock investigating the facts of the story within the first few days of the kidnapping.


With each network, profiling stories should inform and educate the public. As networks have moved into ratings wars vs. informing the public, often the news is cherry picked by what the network executives, producers and hosts think will draw numbers that benefits stockholders not the public. With this form of journalism, stories like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and now the missing Nigerian schools girls are only given coverage after there is uprising because of the absence of national network interest in reporting the story. Once picked up, deeper scrutiny of the lack of initial coverage is often forgotten until the next outrage breaks on Twitter. When it comes to stories of social injustice, nationally and internationally, we have to wonder will "what comes first the chicken or the egg" continue to be asked about news coverage. At this point, world wide outrage for lack of coverage must trend first on Twitter before a story is covered. Especially, if the stories involve social injustice towards people of color.



Screen shot photos: MSBC, Fox News, CNN