I debated over how much I should say about what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks, but I think there’s a need for full disclosure.
2015 has been a tough year for me when it came to running COLOR. The biggest learning curve was engaging fans and readers on Twitter. These lessons came in their biggest form when discussing Sleepy Hollow. What became increasingly clear with Sleepy Hollow, as well as some other unrelated incidents, is that:
- I was clearly garnering attention for the wrong reasons, as in, I wasn’t starting meaningful discussions so much as I was debating with certain fans who were already set in their ways and any other opinion would be seen as a threat to their entire mental landscape, leading to me getting more hate-tweets than I would like.
- Getting into Twitter fights is not how I’ve ever wanted to become “famous,” and the fact that I was getting into Twitter fights with strangers went against my own nature as a person. I’m not one of those confrontational folks who lives on Twitter just to start fights. But being insulted for an opinion gets you into a groove of trying to “educate” those who insulted you. Sometimes, it’s just not worth it, because you start getting on their level and, in a way, validating what they say by spending emotional energy on lies.
The reason I got into writing about race and culture in entertainment was to educate and inform others who either know all about the struggles of getting diversity into Hollywood or wanted to learn more about a civil rights fight that many people don’t know even realize is a fight that deals with civil rights. Basically, I wanted to make a hub for folks like me who didn’t have a site to look to for information on diversity in entertainment and had to learn piecemeal. I’m a journalist, not a “talking head,” but along the way, I forgot exactly what I was doing. I wasn’t fulfilling my journalism duties, something I take seriously. In the end, I got severely unhappy, which led to me taking some time off to truly figure out what I wanted to do with this site, if I wanted to continue it at all.
After a few weeks off, I decided to take COLOR back to my journalism roots and really make it a site I’d be proud of. As it stands now, it’s halfway there, but there are a lot of random pieces that just need to go away to make the site even more comprehensive and concise. I also thought a lot about XONecole, started by Necole Bitchie, and how she wrote on her old site of the same name how she began to be unhappy writing up gossip about stars instead of providing content uplifting the women of her site, something she was constantly doing outside of her site. So, after time to think, she decided to close Necole Bitchie and open XONecole, which has already touched people’s lives in an explosive way. Every tweet or retweet about XONecole features readers saying how the articles positively affected them in some way. I want the same for my site, and I can’t get there by entertaining Twitter battles about shows or focusing my attention on articles that don’t add the value I want my site to have. Like Necole, I have to close a door to something to allow another one—the right one—to open.
So here’s what’s going to happen. Come 2016, COLOR will be brand new with a new magazine format. Every month will be a new theme, and with each theme will be a curated set of articles dedicated to exploring the theme and how it affects or illustrates how race and culture are perceived in entertainment. I’ve already got 2016 figured out as far as themes and types of posts, so God willing, articles will go up in a much more prompt manner and, something I like, will depend less on what’s happening in the newsday. Of course, there will be some topical articles that come up because the news is constantly happening and there will be things that need addressing. But for the most part, articles will focus much less on trying to locate people’s attention during moments when every outlet is vying for that same attention.
Along with new, curated posts to the site, there’s going to be a new addition: A DOWNLOADABLE MAGAZINE! After figuring out that I wanted to make COLOR the success I’d always dreamed it would be, I decided that the one way to make sure I’d have content viewers would want to read is to make a magazine. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been spending time actually making a magazine. Here’s a snippet of what I’ve been working on so you can get a feel of what you’re in store for:
Cool, right? The finished magazine will be available for download on Issu sometime early January. The goal is to have each magazine complete by the beginning of the month.
I’m also attempting to have a email sign-up form ready by the time the first magazine launches so that fans can keep up with COLOR in their inbox. Down the road at some point, there will also be a COLOR newsletter. I have to get used to my new set-up first, so we’ll see what happens.
Now, with some additions, there are going to be some things that have to go away. Here’s what’s leaving:
Recaps: Yep, I’m getting rid of recaps. I thought long and hard about this over the course of a few days, and I’ve decided that recaps delve too much in opinion, too much for me to continue them on this site, and I honestly don’t have time to recap all of the shows on television now that I also do work outside of COLOR concerning television. My whole day is consumed with television, so the last thing I feel like doing at night is writing up recaps after doing all of my other television-centric work.
As for those who visit COLOR for my Sleepy Hollow recaps, don’t fret. I’m not recapping Sleepy Hollow for COLOR anymore, but I’ll still recap it for Black Girl Nerds, as I have since Season 2. Still expect the second half of Season 3 recaps, but just to go to Black Girl Nerds to read what I’ve got to say.
Opinion pieces: Well, I’m not completely getting rid of opinion pieces, but opinion won’t be part of every article that goes up on COLOR anymore. One of the things I was beginning to tire of was putting my opinion in every piece, because sometimes, I just want to write an article that’s well-researched without putting an opinion all trough the piece. Again, my trade is journalism, and oftentimes, printed journalism doesn’t always include opinions, even if it includes a definite slant. Also, I began finding that having my opinion in every piece was going to set me up for failure; I was positioning myself not just as an expert, but as someone who knows everything about every racial/ethnic/sexuality/gender group and their issues. Truth of the matter is that as much as I read and research and empathize, I don’t know everything there is to know about every racial/ethnic/sexuality/gender group. I can’t possibly speak on certain issues without knowledge, and I was feeling like I was unintentionally setting myself up to have egg on my face in case I made a mistake. I don’t know everything, and positioning myself as if I do is very dangerous.
So instead of making everything my opinion, a lot more articles are going to be from a journalism perspective. You’ll definitely hear my tone of voice, but you’ll be reading what I’ve learned, what I’m passing on to you to take in however you wish to. Then, at the end of each article, you can leave your comments below so we can start a true dialogue about how race and culture are perceived in entertainment and beyond. Any opinion pieces I do make will be labeled as such and will be in their own tab, which is on its way.
Clickbait articles: I call certain articles “clickbait” because I’d literally be writing about something that happened that day, typically something that blew up on social media, in an effort to get people to read the post and visit more posts on my site. But personally, unless you have a industrial-size following like larger magazines and sites, clickbait just doesn’t work, at least not for me. I feel a little dishonest posting something as if I’m waving a shiny object to get folks’ attention. Basically, I’m not being completely true to myself when I write those. So from here on out, some things that make it big on social media might be publicized on my site, but probably, most things won’t be. For me to write about it, the big social media topic would have to be extremely important.
So that’s what’s coming in 2016 to COLOR. A new focus on the type of writing I love doing—journalism—and less of a focus on what I don’t like, which is acting like an opinionated “personality” (like Wendy Williams, but no knock to her) rather than a fount of information.
Thanks for reading!