Why There are Hierarchies in Black Blogging, VIBE Magazine & more

Blogging is hard. I am not ramping. It is difficult, despite how fun and rewarding it is. I have always loved it, and it was one of things that I just loved straight off the bat when I started in ’06, which by net standards, still makes me a blogging virgin.

Many parts of traditional media are suffering greatly at the moment like magazines during this recession. It has made me think twice on how I plan to position myself as I have started to look for a media job in London. One thing that many people bang on and on about is that no one reads paper anymore, and that blogs have replaced magazines, news etc.

I think it is really important to see a distinct difference in how blogs present media. Most smaller blogs are run by one person and subject to how that person wants to dissect whatever issue they are talking about. Most people are not paid to run their blog, so how the content comes across (whether it features original reporting or not) is subject to the actual energy and passion of the blogger.

I think that is so important to remember when commenting about the demise of magazines like VIBE (which I honestly think is on its’ way to being part of Magazine Death Pool‘s unfortunate dead magazines. And this is not me hating). Mags like VIBE have not adapted to the net the way they should have and thus are struggling to keep up. However, this is in the face of big gossip blogs like Concrete Loop that are scoringe exclusive interviews with big stars like Kanye West.

It sounds trite but it is true: a blog that adds value in an original way stands higher in the hierarchy than another blog, and this is more apparent in black media I think. A blog simply cannot just be a catalogue of thoughts anymore if it wants to grow and be successful – it has to add value in an intrinsic way.

Because it is so easy for anyone in the whole world to be an online publisher with WordPress, this has upped the ante in a different way now and created hierarchies of blogging. The blogs I am going to list below are ones which I think have changed the game for black blogging in my eyes just because how they have changed how I see things. And these are one person blogs, not group ones, even though I would have added Afro Spear as it is game changing, I think.

  • Black Girl With Long Hair: L at BGLH is game changing for one simple reason: this blogger does her research. She just does not find something else, she actually goes and interviews people on her own jack and puts up her findings on the blog. She does not come across as a blogger per se, but more of a hybrid blogger-journalist. I just love journalism in any form, and she has put natural hair journalism on the map with black girl with long hair. I cannot stress enough how original this blog is, and I would go as far as to say it is one of the best and most unique blogs I have ever read since I started blogging in 2006.
  • Invisible Woman has posted a long hiatus note, but wow, her blogging about black film was always juicy, hilarious and done with a passion. Even though there is a hiatus, I would recommend any black film enthusiasts to check out the archive because she wrote about black film in an excellent manner. Invisible Woman also did a fabulous 7 Question series with black directors which was fantastic.
  • Trinidad.Adventist.Gay?! is one of the most philosophical blogs in my feed, but again, it is how the blogger deconstructs homosexuality into his own narrative of being an Afro-Caribbean religious man. It is a thought-provoking read; he also used to interview other gay Afro-Caribbean people on the blog.
  • and finally, I will finish with Monie On The Outside. Again, it is one of things about making people who stumble across your blog come into your world. You know the show Cold Case? It’s one of my ultimate favourite TV series; what is great about it is that Det. Lily Rush always ‘sees’ the victim of the case at the end of the show as if, the case really is coming circle and closing. I would compare this sensation of ‘seeing’ what Monie writes about as being similar to Cold Case, because I have learnt a lot about the struggles that black lesbians in America are going through. But what is great about this blog is that it knows how to make light entertainment in a short digestible form with images to.

I read more blogs than just the ones above, but they are just ones that have really captured me. They make me see that blogging is not something that you can just batter out when you feel like it, but something that requires an amount of discipline such as trying to post every day.

The landscape of black media is changing. But I think the only blogs that are going to survive and be popular are the ones that offer something new to the reader. I don’t know if I will do Charcoal Ink forever, but I do know that I enjoy blogging and traditional media like magazines because I enjoy information.


3 thoughts on “Why There are Hierarchies in Black Blogging, VIBE Magazine & more

  1. @Monie: I am glad you like what I said. And I mean it – you have created a blog as a destination. And I think it is great that you update almost every day – I personally think that is the key to making something successful or at least posting regularly.

    I think you make a great point about magazines and their online cousins. One thing I have noticed is that US magazines have got the message quicker than UK magazines that the online websites need to offer something new.

    Ideally, I am trying to find an editorial position on the website of a print magazine. But it is hard and almost a question of whoring oneself out for contacts LOL.

    And again, great point about newspapers should have been focusing on cities! I never thought of it like that.

    I think basically things like fashion and art are basically impossible to recreate online so the VOGUEs of the world are safe so far but I am not so sure about culture or style magazines that rely on chasing the zeitgeist of the day.

    Thanks for your interesting thoughts!

  2. Aulelia,

    OMG, you’ve made me cry. That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my blog. Thank you so much Aulelia. Your words really inspire me.

    I agree that in the blogisphere people have to find a niche otherwise they get drowned out, so to speak.

    I think magazines have to, as you say, have a strong presence online that compliments their magazine. I think the problem is that most magazine try to add their online presence using the same people that work at the magazine instead of going and finding people who are experienced online.

    As for newspapers; I think they have created a self-fulfilling prophecy by constantly saying in public that they can’t compete with the internet. I think people have heard that said so much that whether it’s true or not they believe it.

    I really think that newspapers can not only compete but be better than online sources in many instances. For example I really don’t think there is a blog or website out there that has the resources to cover a city the way a newspaper can. If newspapers concentrated on covering their city, in depth, rather than trying to be jacks of all trades then they would prosper.

    Sorry my comment is so long but as usual you hit upon a topic that is very interesting.

    One more thing; you can list your blog among the ones you listed. Charcoal Ink is one of the most unique blogs I’ve ever seen. I always wake up in the morning looking forward to seeing your blog.

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