Video Of Black Artists Passing Up All The Black Media At The Grammys Is A Disappointing Sight To See

January 28, 2020  |  

Black artists Grammys

Source: Rich Fury / Getty

The Grammy awards were on Sunday night and while there were plenty of winners, including Lizzo going home with three gramophones, Black media lost out big on the red carpet.

BlackTree Media, which has covered the show for the last 14 years, was present with their camera crew on the big night, and captured plenty of disappointing video of Black artists walking past them and the few Black media correspondents who were all thrown together at the end of a long red carpet.

“There’s a struggle, especially for Black media,” Jamaal Finkley, CEO of BlackTree, said over B-roll of stars on the carpet. “The struggle is multifaceted. First, there’s the placement that we are on the carpet, which is usually we’re all bundled near the end of the carpet. Second is the publicists that represent the talent, which you’ll see in some of these videos, and third, it’s the talent themselves, who make conscious efforts or lack of effort to take time to speak to the few Black-owned media.”

As he pointed out, there is not more than four or five Black media representatives on the carpet at one time out of a sea of non-Black ones, but by the time celebrities get past the major white publications at the beginning of the carpet, they, along with their publicists, zone out. Finkley can be heard in the video telling the likes of rappers Gucci Mane and Quavo of the Migos, “Don’t just do PEOPLE!” (Interesting enough, both mens’ names popped up for interviews secured with Billboard that night.) Other stars who walked past were H.E.R., Questlove, Lil Nas X and reportedly Rick Ross. Rapper Gunna did stop with his publicist, but wasn’t able to answer questions for long.

“Been doing it for too long to continue to watch this BS happen,” Finkley wrote in the comments on YouTube. “Each of these award shows cost blacktree $1500 to cover and to see people just ignore us for white media is ridiculous. They thirsty for that 30 seconds on a white outlet while ignoring 4 black outlets. Maybe 5. Like you can’t make the time sis or bro? Wtf. We here to cover you.”

Finkley was able to speak with some talent, including Misty Copeland, but more people walked by than they did stop by for one question. While it’s understandable that people may need to get inside a show by a certain time, enough time should be allotted to speak with more than just the mainstream outlets or don’t speak to any. In addition, it is somewhat hypocritical that some of these same artists and names are outspoken about feeling like their work isn’t respected or properly acknowledged by the Recording Academy because it’s Black or want to acknowledge poor treatment of Black folks in general, but won’t give the time of day to people who help them build their name before becoming part of the A-list.

And before you go about talking about Black media being messy, the reputable sites they tend to flock to, from PEOPLE to E! and Entertainment Tonight, often focus on the same angles and drama they specifically point the finger at Black reporters about.

At the end of the day, if they can stop for those publications and sites, what would it hurt to give your own people the chance for at least one question? As previously mentioned, it’s disappointing, but not surprising at this point. There is hope, though. If you’ll recall, Halle Berry made time for the two Black journalists at the premiere of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (one of them being for Blacktree) after her publicist claimed she had no time. As she made clear, “I can’t skip my brother and my sister,” and that gesture meant a lot more than Berry realized to the reporters she spoke to. 

Hopefully soon enough, other stars of color will take a stand in the same way, especially since it doesn’t require very much at all…


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