It was Erykah Badu who spoke some of the realest words when it comes to us creative types, “Keep in mind, that I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shyt.” I don’t know if the screaming fans, waiting for her to perform what we now know as “Call Tyrone,” truly understood what it means to showcase your work for public consumption and criticism. It is simultaneously gratifying and nerve-racking. And the stakes are heightened when your work is published on the internet. Why? Because the internet is the land of trolls. Nasty, attention seeking people who get off on spewing absolutely vile words, all behind the guise of an avatar and the protection of a computer screen. You can type virtually anything without consequence.
Even the non-trollish become hostile and emboldened by the lack of person to person interaction. While it would probably be best to ignore the naysayers, meanies and especially the trolls; it’s hard to do so when you put your time, energy and effort into creating an environment where black women reside and reign. One of our editors expressed this sentiment best, “Even if I didn’t agree with a presentation or something one of our Facebook followers created for work, I wouldn’t go up to her job and call it garbage. That’s just rude.” Real.Talk.
All of that being said, or communicated, this article is a rare and honest look into the minds of the artists behind this site, the content we create and why we do what we do, the way we do it. If you read and remember these rules, we guarantee your Madame Noire experience, as well as ours, will be much more enjoyable…
1. Beyoncé Pays The Bills
I dread putting our Beyoncé stories on Facebook because I know there will be a slew of comments from people asking questions like, “Who Cares?” But at the end of the night when I look at the number of views for each story, our Beyoncé stories always and I mean always have at least a thousand views. So somebody, at least a thousand somebodies, does care. And as long as they keep clicking, we’ll keep covering she and other celebrities. Because if we don’t, another website will and we want you here. I’m sure Beyoncé could care less about being featured daily on blogs and magazines. And I’m willing to bet other employees at blogs and magazines across the world would like to talk about something or somebody else every once in a while; but it’s the people and their preferences that dictate what the media covers; because the people bring the money and this is a business.
But don’t worry, the beauty of Madame Noire is that we talk about a wide variety of things from black, female business owners to social and cultural topics and even a sprinkling of political issues. So if you don’t like one story, there’s another with your name on it. You just might have to scroll past Beyoncé to find it.
2. Reading is Fundamental
There’s only so much we can put in a title, a synopsis or even the excerpt of a published piece. To get the fullest, clearest and most comprehensive understanding of the story or idea an author is trying to present, you’ll just have to read it. Once you’ve read it, then it would be appropriate to sound off. Popping off without full knowledge of the story at hand is just not the move and will cause us to feel embarrassed for you. 🙁
3. We Know Clicking is Not Fun
At least once a week someone will ask via e-mail, on Facebook or on Twitter why we make you click through so many pages to complete a story. We know it’s not the most user friendly method. But the truth is, these slideshows are money-makers. We get more page views with each click and we can present these numbers to advertisers so you can keep enjoying all of this wonderful goodness without coming out of your pockets. The only price you pay is having to wait for the next page to load.
4. Caps Lock is Not Very Nice
I understand that some people might not have gotten the memo that typing in all caps is the internet equivalent of screaming. But now you know. Not only is it hard for us to read your comments when you type like this, Facebook doesn’t like it either. Comments which are written in all caps are sometimes flagged as “Spam.” Can you help us out with this please? We’re much more likely to read your comment, if it doesn’t look like you’re trying to cuss us out.
5. We’re not White
This is the comic relief portion of the article. As you know, most comedy is based on some type of truth. The truth is not that we’re white; but that some people, trolls most likely, assume that the writers and editors of this site, are white. And with our whiteness we like to perpetuate stereotypes and further discourage black women. It’s laughable. I probably shouldn’t even address these looney tunes but perhaps we can all catch a laugh or two at their stupidity and penchant for starting mess.
6. Play Nice
We discuss some pretty touchy topics on the site. Topics that people feel very strongly about. Even topics that we think are MN friendly across the board, end up causing some type of argument on our Facebook and sometimes Twitter pages. We’re all entitled to our own opinions and this is the site that encourages you to share them; but please do so with respect for your fellow brother or sister. There have been times when people start name-calling and acting an all out fool because someone doesn’t share their point of view. Please don’t let that person be you. You’re better than that and we don’t want to have to block anybody…but we’ll do it to keep the peace if we have to.
7. We Love Us, but We’re Not Going to Pretend like we’re Perfect
By us, I mean black women. Any time we say anything that doesn’t paint black women as angels, queens, goddesses or mothers of the earth, there are people who claim Madame Noire is discouraging black women from whatever goals they’re trying to reach. No, quite the contrary. We’re talking about black women and the black community like the real people we are. Good, decent most of the time but flawed and imperfect sometimes. That’s what it means to be human. And as awesome as black women are, at the end of the day we’re still human and we have issues that we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss. Pretending issues like colorism, tough relationship topics and other societal issues don’t exist, is not going to help anybody in the long run. Langston Hughes hit the nail on the head when he said, referring to black people, a sentiment that could be extended to all people, “We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.” That’s the truth, it’s raw but it’s real.
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