22 // Black Future Month // Jamilah King, Journalist
Posted on February 23, 2012
Jamilah King, you write meaningful, necessary things.
I mean, no, seriously, Jamilah, you write when, how and about the things that most urgently need writing. In a time and space where a premium is put on textual lies, sensationalist journalism, and half-hearted “truthy” above the fold dreck. I like when I stumble upon an article where the headline is something I hadn’t considered and the by line is yours. It’s the best part of my internet life.
Okay, fine, part of the best part of my internet life is Words With Friends and FB Scrabble. And looking at things my mom could make that people are getting paid for on Etsy.com. And Chukwudi Hodge’s fb status updates. And following Roger Ebert on twitter. Ebert tweets good. But you write so, so well, Jamilah King.
And the reason I’m writing about you (in 2nd person)(and highly parenthetically) on this here Black Future Blog is that you continue to do what so much of the world has abandoned — telling the truth in a way that requires your audience to be literate, to read other things when they’re not reading you, to form an opinion as they draw from your text, and ultimately, to respond.
] Part of me hopes that all of my readers have stopped reading my non-fact-checked op-ed machinations and just moved on over to the Colorlines site. Hmm, great read by Jamilah King, I wonder what else she’s written and then they just fall down the rabbit hole of your brilliance. The other part of me hopes that you’re writing something new. So I can read it.
It’s dope that you’re from SF and LA, kinda, too. It’s ill that you went to school away then came back to The Bay Area, then on to Brooklyn which is sorta like the ex-pat home of all things black, bay and intellectual.
You know who you make me think of, Jamilah King (I only seem to be able to call you by your full government)? You make me think of Ida Bell Wells Barnett. There’s a hellofa full name for you. You know why you remind me of her? Ms. Ida B: Suffragist, writer, rhetoricist, lecturer.
She was born just after “emancipation”, lived through the 20’s, made it her mission to speak candidly, honestly and wholly about lynchings in a time when it was still uncomfortable for a woman to write, unlawful in some states for black folks to write. She jeopardized her life, consistently, in pursuit of saving others. And now high schools are named after her, and stamps minted in her honor. Though few can tell you what she was really ’bout. How’s that for journalistic irony? Tragedy.
But, yo, Jamilah! You remind me of her because you tell the truth. As if there is no other way to be in the world other than saying true things, as soon as you know them to be honest. It is my distinct and utter prayer that the future is built around publications like Colorlines and writers like you. Those of you who chronicle, herald, star the things that should be asterisked, make the idea of seeking news in the future bearable. Thank you for bringing us into your fold, even as it pixelates across a Chrome browser.