Sunday, September 30, 2012

I am from Memphis, Tennessee

I am from Memphis, Tennessee. I was born and raised in the north section of the city. I came along when north Memphis was just becoming an all black section in the early 1970’s. Memphis has always been a special city and a unique city when it comes to the music (that so many musicians/artists have copied) the dancing (that so many people from other cities have copied) and of course the food particularly soul food and barbeque. No other city has ever been able to copy either one of those delicacies. Memphis is a very historic place. It is the place where freed slave, Tom Lee, saved the lives of many white people during turn of the century when a great flood hit the city and yellow fever was wiping people out. Memphis is the place that was chosen for the assassination of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Memphis is also a place where there is a very huge statue of Confederate General, Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is also cited as being the founder of the Ku Klux Klan in the very middle of the city.

Memphis is a city that has only had three Black mayors in its 193 years of existence. The first Black mayor was elected in 1991. Memphis is also the home of the so-called King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley. His mansion, Graceland, currently sits in the heart of the Black community as we speak. Memphis is also home to its only Black owned radio station, WLOK and the very first Black formatted radio (that’s owned by whites) in history, WDIA. Memphis is also home to the Tri-State Defender, a small newspaper that is marketed to African Americans in the city. Now, beginning Monday, October 1, 2012, Memphis will have its very first Black owned, Black funded television network. I would like to use my blog to officially welcome Memphis Urban TV-1 to the city of Memphis. It has been a long time coming. The current white media in Memphis (newspapers, radio stations, TV stations) have kept Memphis in the dark for so long as it relates to the limited information it only shares with the citizens of Memphis. Memphis is a majority Black city, but it is just now getting a black owned media source that will hopefully open up the flood gates that will now allow information (unedited) to flow throughout the city. The new television station can also serve as a vehicle for changing the way African-Americans have been portrayed in that particular city by the mainstream white media in that city. I am hoping that Memphis at large will seize this opportunity to become a part of the much needed change in the way news and images are delivered in that city.

I am hoping that the African American community in Memphis will now realize that taking ownership of one’s destiny, culture and one’s future is not just for “other people.” I am hoping that the entire city does not view this new and much needed media venture as being intrusive and unnecessary. Memphis is a majority Black city that operates like a minority Black city. It sort of reminds me of South Africa during the years of Apartheid as it relates to the power structure. You have about 20 white economic power brokers in the city that have complete control of hundreds and thousands of Blacks in that town. It is actually both sad and amazing to see. It does not matter of the mayor is Black in Memphis. It does not matter if the city council is majority Black in Memphis. It does not matter if the school board is majority Black. It does not matter if the congressman from Memphis is Black. It does not matter if the director of the Memphis Police department is Black.

None of these seem to have mattered because the mass majority of Blacks in Memphis appear to be too caught up in Church and religion to care about ownership, images, culture, and its destiny it seems. It does not matter because far too many Blacks in that town are more than willing to “sell out” the Black community for a couple of dollars, a car, and a false sense of status which has been the reward for many of the sell outs in my hometown. I am hoping with the new television and the support from many in the city, the station will grow to own other media outlets such as a competing major Black newspaper and a radio station or two. For now, I will celebrate this new beginning, this new venture. It has been a long time coming. I will look for more to come in the future. The children in the city of Memphis can use every ounce of ray of light and hope they can get these days. Congratulations to the TBJ-Media Communications Group, LLC for creating this media source. Whenever I come home to Memphis for a visit, I will be sure to turn to Comcast Channel 31 to check out the line-up. In the meantime, I will be sure to log on to to watch the shows live online beginning Monday, October 1, 2012. Best of luck and continued success!!!

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