Tenacious/Radio and TV Show Producer/Black/ Woman/Confident
I have a strong voice that identifies me just like a fingerprint. I am often told that I am loud when I speak passionately about social injustices, but I don’t care. Sometimes we have to get the attention of those who are complacent. My unapologetic presence demands the attention of those who prefer to go along in society living as a trans-White. I am proud of who I am and I won’t allow society to influence me on what it means to be Black in America.
I have always been proud of going to Georgetown University, but being African American with locs comes with a stigma since I attend this prestigious White university. It seems like I am questioned by non-African Americans in a manner to disprove me intelligence.
However, my work is exceptional. My mentor who is African American as well, has said things about my type of Black versus the acceptable Black in the industry. My type of Black is too dark to get a nose ring before being permanently hired in the industry, meanwhile the cute mixed girl can pass with hers. There are many stigmas that come with your complexion in this world, and what’s sad is other African Americans in the industry are the first to tell you.
We have a long way to go for it to be 2017 and constantly be reminded of being dark skinned by other African Americans who have taken on the prejudice, brown paper bag ideology. I am tired of hearing about the do’s and don’ts of a dark skinned women.
I discount these “do’s and don’ts” by using my work to establish a new narrative. I am radio show and TV producer. My ability to create in the media industry has brought me a long way here in Washington, D.C. I plan to add to the reason why Black Media Matters.
When I had my podcast show “The Way We Talk”, I was unhappy with the production. I would observe other people’s show and see how much better the production was because of their technology. I soon became discouraged. One night, I was so upset that I just prayed all night. I remember telling God I needed something good to happen so that I knew I was following the right path.
The next morning, I was on the train checking for an email about an event I wanted to cover. I went into my email account and saw an email from a CBS recruiter who wanted to interview me for an internship. I didn’t apply for the internship but fortunately, my resume was passed to the right person. God gave me a way out of something that needed to be done better and an opportunity to learn how to make it better. I will never forget that morning on the train. As of today, I have been to the White House twice as a reporter for CBS news.
My move to D.C. was a total faith move. I moved to the city with only $300 and without a plan or direction. I didn’t have family there or anything. A high school running mate and I always stayed in touch and so I would come visit often in an attempt to escape from myself. I had a drinking problem before I left home. I threw away D1 opportunities to run track and possibly play soccer.
People gave up on me and no one believed that I would leave or even succeed. So many people saw me as a drunk and I hoped I would one day get it together. I started out working for a third party T-Mobile store making $7.25 an hour amid gentrification. Within the first year and a half, my car was repossessed. My mother raised a fighter and gave me the sound of my voice, so I told myself that there was no way I was going to get myself and all my things back home if it didn’t work it out.
It wasn’t until I hit a brick wall and had to work for Cricket that I decide to go to Georgetown. From there, many doors have opened up. I started working in the school as a student worker and have worked my way up to being employed in a setting that is conducive to my goals. Getting my education helped sustain me here in D.C.
Education is important, we perish for a lack of knowledge. I encourage everyone to find a program that works for them because education is necessary. Whether that simply is reading more often, taking online courses, or attending a higher institution. We owe it to ourselves, to continuously learn and grow.
My experience at Georgetown has made me realize how much my passion and ability to create drives me. I looked at the climate in D.C. and began to swim with the big sharks in an ocean I was unfamiliar with. I’ve learned to always listen to the voice that is inside of me that brings light to your thought pattern. As you make decisions based on thoughts that come from an atmosphere that promotes progress, you will grow. Never be ashamed of what you came from, what you did, or where you have been. Walk in your truth always.
I live by the motto of walking in my truth by always pushing myself to overcome the experiences that have affected me negatively. I am striving to attain enough wealth to build a Black owned news station. I have been on the inside of how the news is created. Stories like Kenneka Jenkins, the Chicago teenager who was mysteriously found dead in a freezer, was not covered here in D.C. because of the news cycle. They didn’t believe that the story would have been heard in the midst of the White House collusion with Russia.
We have to have an outlet, it cost a lot of money and you need a lot of resources to create the news. This is something we have yet to accomplish as a people, as a Black community. We have entertainment but we don’t have the news. We barely have good sound and reporting radio news shows. We have to compete and we have to work twice as hard to heal our communities, and reporting the news as it pertains to the community and lives of the people who live in it.
If we inform our people through news outlets that cater to the matters of their life, while educating them, we will see growth in our communities.
Want to stay connected to Alyssa and her work?