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Black Media Symposium Keynote Preview: Ed Gordon

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Friday, Aug 14, 2020 12:31 PM EST | Radio & Television Business Report

Black Media Symposium Keynote Preview: Ed Gordon

Ed Gordon is an Emmy Award–winning broadcaster who has interviewed many newsmakers, including President Clinton. Earlier this year, Gordon authored his first book, the best-selling “Conversation in Black,” in which he interviewed over 40 leaders and influencers for a “virtual” conversation about the state of Black America and new narratives about the continuing fight for justice and equality.

Come Wednesday (8/19), Gordon will serve as a co-keynote interview participant in the Black Media Symposium, presented by Triton Digital. The hour-long live event on Facebook Live and the RBR+TVBR YouTube channel is a free event.

RBR+TVBR spoke with Gordon, who offers an advanced look at just some of topics up for discussion at the Symposium, set for 11:30pm Eastern/8:30am Pacific on Wednesday. 

RBR+TVBR: What are some of those “new narratives” featured in your first book, and how poignant are they today, given the continued calls for social justice across the U.S.?

ED GORDON: It’s interesting because the book itself reads as if all of these leaders over 40 and influencers are in the same room. I wanted the reader to feel they were joining a conversation, and much of the poignant nature of the book predicted in a way where we are today. What we did know what that Black America was boiling … and it was going to take just one or two things for it to boil over.

Took a look at the upcoming election of 2020 and back to the Obama years, and compare that to what the Trump presidency has meant to America. We took a look in a mirror, and how the Black community has dealt with itself through those times. I thought we went as far as we could go, as far as kicking in doors and breaking glass ceilings were concerned. To further our trek, we had to come up with new dynamic ways. Now, with death of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – Black America cannot just sit by and be patient anymore.

More and more there is  a sense of not having the duality of wanting to fit in, yet be an agitator. That sense has come to the forefront. Any revolution that we have seen has never been “peaceful” and has always come with a push. I think we are in a time that is speaking of new narratives, and we will see if they come to fruition.

“Black America was boiling … and it was going to take just one or two things for it to boil over.” — Ed Gordon

RBR+TVBR: Do you believe the events of 2020 have put us on the path to permanent change, and what’s role does Black media play in arriving at this desired goal?

ED GORDON: It’s far too early to ask if we are going to see real change. But, the idea of this country looking at things differently is real. How long that lasts will come only with time. Is this trendy … or is it just a trend?

Lots of people are saying “Black Lives Matter,” and we want things to be equal. Yet it is too early to see if that sustains itself.

It’s up to African Americans to keep the pressure on and say to this nation that you are going to be the nation it wants to be; it will ultimately be up to Whites to see that change. The oppressed can only go so far when making demands.

In terms of the “Black Media” … the term is used, and I argue we have to define what the Black Media is. Is it the ownership of media? If not minority-owned, is it simply an entity simply catering to an audience that is not owned by African Americans? The term is defined very differently by a number of people.

First and foremost, we have to see more Black-owned media.

RBR+TVBR: Lastly, the selection of Kamala Harris as the Vice-Presidential candidate alongside Joe Biden is a move that will certainly embolden many in the Black community. What role could Black Media play in the 2020 presidential election, given her selection?

ED GORDON: I think any nomination like this is a historical one. When you become a first it is historical. But too often media generalizes things. The idea of the pride factor of this occurring is one thing. That is not to say that Black America was in lockstep that she was the best candidate. Even Joe Biden stumbled in to this idea that we are a monolithic community. When you knock down a hurdle, that is one less to have next time. The idea of a female presidential candidate as viable will no longer have the same scrutiny as we had perhaps a decade ago.

It’s too early to see if we see a sense to definitely vote for Joe Biden based on her appointment — that’s a little naïve. But she and Joe will need to come with substantive promises in order to appeal to the Black community, and that will require a growth in understanding what “Black America” is. We are not a monolith.

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