Rising Above the Media Messages about Minorities #WomenRiseAboveIt

I grew up on Long Island in a middle class two-parent household with lots of love, surrounded by my older siblings. I was raised to be proud of my African American culture and our family’s early roots in the Carolinas. But once I left my tight-knit community and church family to become a TV journalist – there were several times where race became on undeniable issue. So I chose to confront the media messages about minorities head on. I’ll share a few examples of what I experienced and encourage you to enter the `When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It’ campaign with the makers of Pine-Sol® Products to spread your story.

Use Your Voice #WomenRiseAboveIt - MommyTalkShow.com


Created Minority Source List

In 1995, I moved to Columbia, Missouri to attend graduate school at the University of Missouri. I found a disturbing trend in the way minorities were featured in news coverage so I decided to change it. I chose to complete a graduate project that focused on making sure ethnic minorities were quoted in news stories regularly, not just in stories about race relations, sports and crime. At that time, Columbia’s non-white population was less than 10 percent so I faced a huge hurdle. Nevertheless, I dug deep to find minority sources who could be experts on a wide range of topics. Their names, phone numbers and areas of expertise were featured in the minority source list I created that was accessible to student journalists at the NBC TV station.

Use Your Voice #WomenRiseAboveIt ~ MommyTalkShow.com

Race and Sex in Mississippi

In 2002, I moved to Jackson, Mississippi to anchor the local news for the ABC station. It was my first experience living in the Deep South. My Father, who was raised in South Carolina during Jim Crow, even told me he was worried about me living in Mississippi. One of my classmates from Missouri said she was afraid I’d get lynched.

In the seven years that I covered local news in Mississippi I also dug deep into issues rarely talked about there. For instance, the rate of HIV infection was exploding in the South and health officials were pointing the “Down Low,” or hidden bisexual behavior by Black men as one of the causes. Men were having unsafe sex with other men, as well as with their wives, girlfriends and female partners.

I reached out to my sources in the medical and Black church community where I found some revealing answers. I even landed the first major interview with J.L. King, author of The Down Low and “Coming Up from the Down Low” where he revealed his hidden lifestyle as a married father who cheated on his wife with other men. Years later, he reached international fame when he was invited to sit on Oprah’s couch. For weeks, I received e-mails and phone calls from viewers thanking me for the story. It started a dialogue among Black women to ask their  partners questions about their sexual health. It also started a dialogue between parents and children about sex.

I used my voice as a journalist to rise above some sad, disturbing and deadly trends I observed. Whether you experienced a personal challenge or supported a friend through their tough time, you should use your voice.

Comment below: What challenges have you faced that forced you to rise above the situation? Who were the people who supported you through this tough time? How can women use our voices?

Pine-Sol Sweepstakes & Donation

Enter the Pine-Sol sweepstakes for Women Rise Above It.

  1. Once a week for 12 weeks, Pine-Sol will award one lucky winner a flower bouquet and Pine Sol coupons (Value: $150)
  2. Three first prize winners will receive complimentary house cleaning services for a year  (Value: $2,400)
  3. One grand prize winner will be awarded an all-inclusive trip to enjoy a peaceful spa experience at a deluxe hotel. (Value: $5,000)
  4. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Open to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C. 18 years and older.  Ends 1/31/14 at 11:59 a.m. PT.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions, visit www.womenriseaboveit.com. Void where prohibited.

Pine-Sol is doing more than just a sweepstakes. It awarded a $25,000 donation to Women Empowered, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles that connects, educates and supports women of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring them to give back to their neighborhoods.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Pine-Sol. I have partnered with them to spread the word about the ‘When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It’ campaign and sweepstakes. To enter the sweepstakes, visit www.womenRiseAboveIt.com. All opinions and stories are my own

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. That Minority Source List was a great idea Joyce. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do ensure that our community is properly represented in media!!

  2. Joyce: I always love reading what you have to share. You are such an asset to the media community.

  3. I was JUST having a conversation today with someone about minorities and they appear in the media. Sometimes it seems a drop in the bucket but I think we have to start somewhere. As one of where I work I do try to network and create a support group. It helps to have people to talk with.

  4. Quite an interesting and important lesson to share Joyce. We all should be looking to find ways to do what we can besides talk about what is wrong.

  5. My mother was a news writer for several years when I was a child. She was very involved in promoting black journalists where we lived. It is a huge reason I am so passionate about what I do. You are a trailblazer and I think the idea of the source list was so awesome. We do in fact ROCK women like yourself continue to prove that.

  6. Sharing your stories are such a great way to encourage folks who are just getting started in media, and encouraging for those of us who have been in it for awhile. Thank you!

  7. Thank you! As a former television reporter, I am glad there are people like you blazing trails and sparking conversations to squash stereotypes and explore taboo topics. Kudos to you!

  8. Joyce you are inspiring! Most people out of school would be looking for stories that would make them the big bucks! Thank you for filling a void! I wish someone would do that in my neck of the woods!

  9. Wish I could have seen you in action. Sounds like you were one heck of a journalist. Just reading about it is great. You definitely made a great impact. I enjoyed reading your story and thanks so much for sharing it.