Twin sisters, Rhonda & Sharee Washington, are filmmakers from Columbia, South Carolina who are building a production company for the faith-based community. Continue reading
Jim Tilmon served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers for eight years, earning the rank of captain. His interest in flying carried him from the U.S. Army to American Airlines in 1965, where he became the airline’s third African American commercial pilot and the country’s fifth. Tilmon spent twenty-nine years with American Airlines before retiring; his talent earned him the Captain’s Chair Award from American Airlines; inspired United Airlines to grant him the title of honorary captain; and compelled the FAA to name an aviator’s navigation point after him.
In 1967, Johnathan Rodgers received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalistic Studies from the University of California – Berkeley. While studying at Berkeley, he was sports editor of the campus newspaper, a member of the football team and pledged to the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
From 1967 until 1968, Rodgers worked at Sports Illustrated Magazine. He was the first African American journalist hired by the publication. His beat included track and field and college basketball. His article, “The Plight of the Black Athlete,” highlighted the struggles African American athletes encountered in both the college and professional arenas. From 1968 until 1969, Rodgers served as the editor of urban affairs for Newsweek Magazine.
Hollywood trade and professional organizations report that the percentages of people of color (and in many categories, women) in senior positions are stagnant or actually declining. Minority ownership is also on the way down. With black ownership and executive ranks dropping, not surprisingly, black-themed shows are falling as well.
Today marks the start of Black History Month. In honor of the strong heritage African Americans hold, we will be curating a Blacks in Media series the entire month. There have been many in the industry who have broken barriers, blazed trails and made a way for those of us who choose career paths in communications today. This month, BrightGirl Media salutes each person who fought so that we might have our voice broadcast and our stories told.
After 2012 proving itself to be the year of ratchet reality TV, 2013 kicked off strong with a new reality show on TLC documenting the lives of four pastors’ wives in Atlanta. When the show was initially announced it was met with much criticism. After all, we’ve seen how cameras following people around documenting their “everyday lives” (or what the producers stage) can turn anybody into a beast. So of course the black church was fearful of how this show would represent the women who are supposed to set the highest standard in the church – the most revered first ladies. I wondered too if the show was going to represent a true sisterhood of unity and fellowship or just another gang of feisty women thrown together who wouldn’t be friends in real life that TV producers dressed up in Sunday go to meeting clothes just to create onscreen controversy. My initial impression was that I wasn’t going to even watch the train wreck. I’d rather turn my eyes away and love my first lady from afar without being confronted with the thought that she too could be a ratchet housewife in a church hat. Then enters my friend Lesley who nearly bullied me into watching and my life got flip turned upside down! LOL
So here are my initial thoughts…
I think the transparency of the show is what makes it REALITY TV and that’s what is going to eventually bring a lot of issues to light that the church has hidden or swept under the rug for so long. First, the interracial couple who relocated from LA to Atlanta to take a preaching assignment but was fired from the church after six weeks of being there. There’s obviously a back story here to be explored. But the way the others respond to them after they are transparent enough to reveal this as well as the struggles they’ve had as an interracial couple gives me pause. My first thought was, “why are they judging them so much?” Then I had to revert back to my own thinking and realize that I too have cast judgments on others from initial impressions without getting the full story. Then the sex talk the one pastor has with his teen daughters. I’m sure many church folk cringed at this because we’re taught to be abstinent until marriage. But again, we all know of PKs (preachers kids for those who aren’t well versed in church lingo) who are having sex, doing drugs, hanging with the wrong crowd and being scrutinized because we think they should be perfect. Next is the pastor who had a church but it flopped. Now he wants to open another church but it appears his wife isn’t so supportive of it and she even seems a little jealous of another family’s growing church because its everything she thought her church would be. We’re taught to love and support others in the Kingdom, right? So why is she coming off as jealous?
There’s so much to be explored in this show. So much to be uncovered. So many chances for the cast to be real and represent the Kingdom in an honest way. My initial impression may have been premature, but we have to see how these stories will play out. One thing I did learn from the first show is not to judge a book by its cover. It caused me to think about my own reactions, the way I may misjudge others and my own shortcomings as a Christian. And if this is to be the evangelistic tool the church is afraid it won’t be, I think the first episode proved us wrong. It offers an opportunity for believers and unbelievers alike to confront what separates us. That is the grace, forgiveness and honesty that we all look for.
So what do you think? Did you watch the show? What was your take-away?