Today is a very important day. If you missed it yesterday there was a call to action for Ebony magazine to support Bennet College by Jada Brown, who serves as Miss North Carolina A&T University, and her fellow campus queens in support of Bennett College and fellow sister queen Brooke Kane. Brooke reigns as Miss Bennett for the current scholastic year and is vying to be an Ebony Campus Queen, while also leading the charge to raise $5 million dollars for Bennett to maintain its accreditation. You can watch Jada’s call to action below in its entirety.
Yesterday on the HBCU Pulse Instagram page I found that several of my posts in support of Jada’s stand were taken down out of nowhere! I’m not on my conspiracy theorist swag because iPhones trip from time to time. So, I wanted to use today to stand in support of Jada in her push to get Brooke recognized and to raise money for Bennett College. I want to weigh in. I’m preferencing everything I’m saying after this by saying that this is how I feel as Randall Barnes, Founder of HBCU Pulse. My views don’t represent any other member or Ambassador of HBCU Pulse but we all collectively defend and support Bennett!
I’m going to be 100% honest. I’ve never liked or been in support of the Ebony Campus Queen Competition. I’ve been in support of the various young women (and kings this year) vying for a spot in the magazine. I felt as if Ebony was using this competition to drive clicks and views to the website. I saw several queens such as Imani Cooper (Miss FAMU), Janese Bibbs (Miss Albany State) and Brooke pushing to be featured in the magazine. I knew I wanted to do something to help! So, I started the daily takeovers. It started with Janese taking over for the Albany State Sigma Probate but became what it was after Jada took over for the Celebration Bowl!
I started the takeovers in direct response to what I saw from the Ebony campaigning. I saw that the Kings and Queens were vying for spots in the magazine so their institutions could be recognized and their platforms they campaigned on in their school elections could be heard around the nation. Personally, I don’t think we need Ebony to tell our story. We don’t need Ebony to give you national exposure. We can give you national exposure here at HBCU Pulse! I can’t speak for the other HBCU pages but I know they can as well and many of us have the same following (if not more) than Ebony!
Our queens and kings are worth more than a picture on a magazine. They have real stories and stand for real causes. They have talents, aspirations and goals. They’re real people! Our kings and queens aren’t here to boost your numbers and SEO ranking! If you are a black magazine you gotta promote HBCU’s 25/8. It isn’t hard. Man, it’s a benefit. As they can see from the competition, their numbers grow more!
I actually did some research into Ebony Magazine. I didn’t like what I found, especially seeing why we’re upset at them. I need for all HBCU Students to pay attention. All the queens, especially in the competition, need to listen up! In June of 2016 Ebony got new ownership. A company called “Clearview” bought them and changed the name to “Ebony Media”. Ebony became a digital only publication in 2014 with the Ebony Campus Queen competition starting in 2012.
“We are excited about the future of Ebony Media and the opportunity to position the enterprise for long term growth. Our team has a true understanding of the Ebony brand as well as its legacy, and is committed to providing its audience with premium content across all media platforms,” said Michael Gibson, CEO of the African American-owned Clear View Group and new chairman of Ebony Media.
Did y’all peep that? Clear View is an African-American owned company. Let’s take a look at the heads of Clear View! You’ll find something very interesting
But, there’s something even more interesting about Ms. Elizabeth Burnett who is a senior level executive at Clearview. Check out her bio:
“Since her undergraduate years at Texas Southern University, Elizabeth has resided in Houston, TX, where she enjoys sports and spending time with her family and friends.”
Wait. So, there’s a TXSU alumnae in senior level administration at Clear View and there’s been nothing about Bennett College? For real? Not even a running ad on the voting pages reminding people to donate? Nothing? The point of it all is this: Jada and the Queens are right to take a stand and demand that Ebony and Clear View spotlight Bennett College. We don’t need the “special feature queen” thing either. We need for Brooke to be prominently featured in that magazine. The queens have generated a whole bunch of free publicity for Ebony. Even out of their own pockets! They deserve to demand whatever they want from Ebony/Clearview.
Oh, and everybody telling Jada and other Queens that they’re losing an oppourtunity and “you don’t know who you’ll meet at Ebony”, y’all are dead wrong! Jada and the other queens are not doing this for clout. What God has for them is for them. Plus, have you seen their social media followings? Jada has 6,000+ followers. She’s getting a psychology degree this semester from one of the top HBCU’s in the nation. I don’t think she needs to kiss up to Ebony/Clearview executives for a shot. She’s gotten this far. The same goes for all the other HBCU Queens. Clearly, they’re doing something right. You can’t go on IG without seeing a promotion for an Ebony Campus Queen campaign.Even moreso, we’re here for them. I’m here. Pulse is here! Online black media outlets that unapologetically serve HBCUs are here. We don’t need them!
I hope this helps in pushing the situation forward and I hope that maybe Clearview/Ebony will hear out the Queens moving forward. We all make mistakes and missteps. We can give them a chance to make things right. Maybe Brooke and Bennett will get recognition and the competition will get needed changes going into the end of 2019. But, while we wait for that, HBCU Pulse is here! We are the heart of HBCU Student life! We got you! Stay tuned to what we have in store. We’ve been supporting Bennett and will continue to support Bennett during this crisis but also after.
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