Gabrielle Douglas Lands Her Own Reality Show

Gabrielle Douglas Reality Show Douglas Family Gold

Olympic gold medal winner Gabrielle Douglas has landed her own reality TV show.

“Douglas Family Gold” will air this fall via the Oxygen network and will chronicle Gabrielle as she prepares to become the first gymnast in nearly fifty years to try and defend her title at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Gabrielle however isn’t the only Olympic hopeful in the family. Older brother, John, is also looking to make his way to the big games via track and field and is hoping to follow in his sister’s footsteps by bringing home gold as well.
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Gabrielle Douglas Wins Gold

Sixteen year old American gymnast Gabrielle Douglas made history earlier today, becoming the first African American woman to win the Gold medal in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around. She also became the first American gymnast ever to win Gold in both individual all-around and team all-around at the same Olympics.

With two Gold medals under her belt, Gabby has the opportunity to take home two more when she takes part in the finals for the uneven bars on August 6th and the balance beam on August 7th.

Congrats to Gabrielle. I hope she knows Brown Sistas all over the world are rooting for her.

Above: Gabrielle’s Time Magazine cover story and photo shoot.

Can you say fierce?

Stacey Dash & The Romney Backlash

On Oct. 7 actress Stacey Dash tweeted her support for GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. I’m sure we’ve all read the tweet, but just for fun, let’s look at it again, shall we?

She tweeted: Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future. @MittRomney @TeamRomney #mittromney #VOTE #voteromney

Of course, she’s received backlash for her tweet with people telling her to go kill herself, calling her an idiot and saying she’s still clueless. She then appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight this past Tuesday defending her tweets. Dash explained how everyone is entitled to their opinion and the backlash she’s receiving shows her America is still divided.

Media outlets are reporting the backlash is because Dash is a black woman opting to vote for a white man, not our black president. Like the comments Gabby Douglas received about her hair, people are stunned this black woman would receive criticism from her fellow black community members.

Two issues arise from this situation for me: reaction and voting preferences.

It seems to me that various media outlets make it a point to sensationalize certain events while disregarding others. Everyone is SO shocked that people, especially black people, would criticize Dash and say mean things to her on Twitter. Where was everyone’s shock when the Trayvon Martin case was spewing months ago? Every day for months straight as media outlets reported new things about the case, I would read the most hateful, vile comments from people. And, no shade, but most of them were from whites who openly stated they were white and happy that there was one less black person living.

Where was the media coverage of countless people tweeting racist remarks and blatantly supporting the fact that a teenager was murdered? No celebrities, so no news? The same goes with people’s racist Twitter comments about the black actors in The Hunger Games. I read a couple stories about it online, but I failed to see those actors get their “15 minutes” on TV like Dash did.

Forgive my venting, sistas, but I am so tired of our media outlets deciding which situations are wrong and racist (and giving those coverage) and which are not. Donald Trump blatantly disrespecting our president by continuously asking to see his birth certificate isn’t racist or an outrage. Fox News calling Michelle Obama Barack’s “baby mama” or saying she was going on a lynching spree is no big deal. But anyone voicing their opinions on the PUBLIC internet where an actress voiced hers is unacceptable.

Like seriously? What people prefer to react to is ridiculous.

On to my second issue: voting preferences. Back in 2008, when Obama was initially running, if I had a dollar for the number of people who said not to vote for him solely because he was black I’d be rich. And today, with the Presidential election just weeks, I am hearing this same thing.

People have been saying this in reference to the Stacey Dash “incident” as well. Just because Obama is black doesn’t mean she has to vote for him. Now, this is true. Stacey Dash, as well as the rest of America, has the right to vote for whomever she pleases.

But I wonder what you think, my sistas? Should you vote for a candidate just because of his/her skin color? More specifically, should you, as a black woman, vote for Obama because he is a black man?

I know you have to research and know the facts when it comes to choosing whom to vote for. Voting isn’t something to be taken lightly. I also know not every party or candidate’s beliefs and policies will fully align with your own views, so you will inevitably end up compromising on something. Most Americans aren’t fully Democrats or Republicans, but fall somewhere in the middle. But if you have your beliefs and see who most closely matches them, do you still allow it to come down to a person’s race? Some would say that’s like basing your voting preference on how attractive a candidate is, how they speak or dress. I say it’s something totally different.

For every one person who voted for Obama because he was black, you better believe there was someone else who voted against him for the same reason. You may disagree, but while I know it’s vital to take the issues into account, I believe his “blackness” is just as important. Being black and having the history of slavery, unequal rights and inequality; remembering how our ancestors were beaten and killed if they tried to vote or how policies like the Grandfather Clause restricted them from voting and how they walked and marched just to be able to drink out of the same water fountain as whites makes Obama’s “blackness” equally important. I think anyone who says not to vote for him because he’s black doesn’t fully understand what it means as a black woman or black man to look at a picture of the President of the United States and see someone who looks like you. To have that opportunity to put one of your people in a position we’ve never been in (this time being a second term). My grandparents never dreamed they’d be alive to see a black president and neither did I. His “blackness” means something, half black or not.

I’m very interested to know your views on both issues, my sistas. How do you feel about Stacey Dash’s tweets, backlash and the media’s coverage on it? What do you think about voting for Obama just because he is black?

Shala M. Marks
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication
-Print Emphasis-
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Arizona State University
“…a woman who fears the Lord shall
be praised”(Prov.31:30)

Oprah, OWN & Opportunism

Is it just me or is there something totally “off” OWN’s journalistic decisions as of late? As a brief disclaimer: This piece is not an attempt at lambasting the big O; rather, it is an attempt at uncovering what is really going on beneath the surface at OWN. I would be remiss if I didn’t first laud lady O for her numerous humanitarian contributions, poised demeanor, along with the immense career she has solidified for herself. I mean from building a school in South Africa, while embracing the true meaning of the adage “charity begins at home” after having sent a plethora of young men and women off to college in America – “O” is one of the few people who – when faced with the lurking reality of their demise will be able to utter the words: “I made a difference in my lifetime.” We can all learn a lot from the O – hands down that’s a feat that deserves a standing O [pun intended].

Contributions and all that good stuff aside, it has been [for lack of a better term] perplexing the opportunistic journey upon which the producers of OWN have been since its inception back on January 1st, 2011. From the lackluster shows and ratings, to the network only being available on premium cable, to the saturation of self-help topics, which were dare I say it “stuffy” and veered off the beaten path of what we had become accustomed to seeing from the often boisterous, never really subdued O.

What irks me most about OWN’s descent into a place of near extinction are the mechanisms that are being used to salvage it, which by the way they’ve achieved this year by witnessing its viewership increase by 25% in recent months. But should African-American popular culture be attributed for the network’s steady ascent back into the limelight?

Let us just have a quick flashback, shall we? When Whitney Houston passed on back in February, the O landed herself in the coveted position of being the first journalist to interview Whitney’s family to unveil just how they had been coping with the untimely passing of a beloved sister, mother, friend, mentor and legend to many. Subsequent to the Houston interview that attracted the network’s highest ratings to date – an impressive 3.5 million, the O has ventured out some more to interview the likes of Rapper Fifty Cent, Singer Rihanna, and more recently Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas, with Rihanna raking in the network’s second highest ratings to date with 2.5 million viewers. It’s all fine and dandy that the OWN network has added all of these interviews their roster. However, the question to ask is: Are these interviews being conducted solely for the purpose of gaining viewers for her network or is OWN genuinely interested in so doing?

Many may recall a time back in the days of the Oprah Winfrey Show when the media mogul came under fire for refusing to allow rappers onto her show – claiming that she was against all of the misogyny and harsh lyrics that rappers often espouse in their songs. Fair enough. The O was entitled to her opinion. Though rappers, namely Ice Cube came out against the O by hinting at the irrationality behind allowing murderers and rapists onto her show, while refusing to entertain rappers in her studio. The O’s decision to ban rappers appeared to have been set in stone. Who would have thought that the O would later revoke her own decision by inviting rapper Fifty Cent onto her new network for an interview? If that ain’t opportunism at its finest then I don’t know what to call it.

While I have never considered the O to be a spokesperson for Black America, nor do I believe that she should be, my greatest concern is that she and her predominantly White, middle class production team have – by all accounts – begun to tap into a market that was previously deemed unpalatable to them. Be things as they may, it just does not sit well with me that what was useless before has all of a sudden become useful to OWN because their agenda is now fixated on a ratings increase.

What are your thoughts? Do you think OWN is being opportunistic with their journalistic prospects?

Nikki is an educator and writer, whose musings cover a broad range of topics including but, not limited to: politics, love, education and cultural criticism. You can follow her on Twitter @artculturemusic