By Orzy Theus
Tackling the reasons why African-American men are often negatively portrayed in the news and popular culture is no easy subject. However, on June 10 a panel of Atlanta-based media professionals and businessmen with notable achievements in the media, sports and entertainment industries tackled the subject. The Atlanta Association of Black Journalists hosted the conversation held at Paschal’s Restaurant on Northside Drive in Atlanta.
Anthony Amey, sports anchor and reporter with WSB-TV; Reec Swiney, with Hot 107.9 Radio; Palmer Williams Jr., actor and director; Kevin Shine, creator with Writing Sessions America ATL; James “Jay” Bailey, chairman, Phoenix Leadership Foundation and Les Montgomery, former news editor with CNN and WSB-TV, multiple Emmy winner and NASCAR enthusiast, were the panel members. Greg Lee, editorial director for NBA.com and a former National Association of Black Journalists president was the panel moderator.
Panel members offered stories about situations where if they followed a movie or play director’s or news director’s instructions they would have been complicit in contributing to the negative portrayal of African-American men. However, the panelists also offered solutions that will improve the portrayal of African-Americans – both men and women – in news coverage but also in popular culture.
A suggestion offered by all the panel members to the workshop attendees was to become the developers, owners and producers of positive content. Audience members were also encouraged to secure the skills necessary to become the very important behind-the-scenes decision-maker.