We Need Black Narrative Power to Win Media Reparations
February 1, 2024 — Venneikia Williams
Welcome to Black Narrative Power Month! This is a month full of possibility and purpose. Media 2070 invites you to come with us as we explore the breadth of our stories and dream up new futures.
What is it?
Each February, the Media 2070 team takes time to acknowledge and amplify our collective power. Simply put, Black Narrative Power is resistance, care, love, beauty and abundance.
We’ve spoken in the past about how we build and exercise this power, but let’s dive deeper into its central tenets.
Black narrative power is resistance
Since the inception of this nation, the prevailing narrative about Black people has been one of inhumanity. To combat the myth of Black inferiority — and to fight anti-Black racism — we must be both willing and able to showcase our full humanity. The true story of Blackness in the United States and throughout the diaspora deserves to be on display.
The Black radical tradition is evidence that what we deserve does not come about without a struggle. But we fight believing that we will win. Our ancestors and elders are calling us to engage and fight back. Read the geopolitical room. Now is the time.
Black narrative power means speaking truth to power, no matter the cost. It means organizing and mobilizing. It means taking risks and exercising collective power. It means Black liberation. It means that we control the narrative. Again, the time is now.
Black narrative power is care
More important than what we are against is what we are for. We are nothing without each other. Creating a media system that allows all of us to share our individual and communal stories requires that we actually build and operate out of a culture of care.
As we work to build systems of care, we can tell stories that demonstrate care for Black people and the worlds we interact within. This means telling more stories about Black children as children, avoiding adultification. It means holding sacred the words of Black elders and connecting threads across and through borders. Without this, we will fall prey to the same pitfalls that currently plague dominant culture: greed, hatred and hyper-individualism, to name a few.
We must know that these systems that never had us in mind from the beginning will not benefit us in the end. As we work to build alternatives, we must infuse care into every action.
Black narrative power is love
Partnered with a practice of caring for one another, we must see love as an active and potent force. It is because of this deep love that we resist and destroy any hindrance to us all flourishing. In this article I wrote for the New York Amsterdam News, I describe how a revolutionary love ethic is the antidote we need to dismantle racial capitalism. We will create new worlds, new suns in which we all thrive, through narratives that demonstrate the truth and power of love.
Black narrative power is beauty
I once heard that justice is a matter of beauty restored. Creation is longing for careful stewards to preserve and forge what is beautiful. As we resist all that is toxic (to all living things, including the Earth), as we carefully construct new media systems and lovingly embrace one another, we will see beauty restored. We will experience true justice. The stories that we tell will help shape and fuel our imaginations and beliefs about what is possible. Our stories of past, present and future beauty will help keep us along the way.
Again, the existing media system is antithetical to what we truly deserve and desire. For us to see the full beauty of Blackness and the world around us, we must create something new.
Black narrative power is abundance
Scarcity is a construct that those who want us to constantly scrape the bottom of a broken barrel impose. They are hoarding our stolen labor and resources. In light of this, we resist. We can tell stories about how there is more than enough. We can make media about non-hierarchical, mutually beneficial, care-filled and love-fueled practices. We can share information to get what we are owed and give of what we have. We can visualize cultures where no one goes without.
Our current media ecosystem serves some at the expense of others. From news to entertainment, there is a dominant narrative that erases and/or exploits us. It doesn’t have to be this way. The stories we create can speak life into futures abundant with resistance, care, love and beauty.
What’s next in the fight for media reparations?
Media 2070 is a project that is committed to creating a world where we can share Black stories from ideation to distribution. Oppression and injustice are real threats to that world-building. Join us as we create cultural and infrastructural policies and practices that get us closer to the goal we’re working toward.