Rochester Contemporary Art Center hosted the first in a series of panel discussions related to the video installation "Question Bridge: Black Males," Wednesday evening. The discussion, "The representation of black men in the media," was organized by the Democrat & Chronicle, and included 10NBC news anchor Janet Lomax; Minority Reporter publisher-editor Dave McCleary; James Lawrence, D&C editorial page editor; Gary Craig, D&C staff writer; and Tariq Spence, of the WDKX Water Cooler.
The need for positive African-American representation in the media was reiterated many times during the discussion, validating its importance as well as the need for diversity in newsrooms to ensure seemingly unimportant details aren't overlooked and stereotypes aren't perpetuated through reporting.
Lomax mentioned the power of feedback, and reminded the crowd that the media relies on the public; people should speak up when they are upset or have an opinion. The panel also agreed that as the Internet has increased the speed and level of consumption for news, media professionals should slow down and think critically about the way they present information.
The panel also asked questions related to the effect of the meanings behind hip-hop on African-Americans: Violence and misogyny is and has always been present in every genre of music and in a capitalist society it is the listener's responsibility to choose accordingly.
We would like to hear your perspective on these questions -- "What is the role of the media in defining who you are?" and "How do the meanings behind hip-hop songs affect you?" -- and encourage commentary on all platforms.
Follow us on social media for coverage, featured questions, and use the hashtags #QuestionBridge and #bridgeCITY to help us curate your thoughts.
The next panel discussion will focus on the community art perspective with panelists artist and community arts organizer Shawn Dunwoody; Thomas Warfield, the founder and artistic director at PeaceArt International; and Shabaka Mu Ausar, president of UTCHAT VISION. To be held on Wednesday, October 15, 7 p. m., at RoCo.