“Girls, we run this motha (yeah!)”
And the hits, just keep on coming.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would hear yet more embarrassing news about the slow-motion trainwreck that was the Black American cultural icon, Ebony magazine (which is also home to equally famed Jet magazine as well as Fashion Fair). Thanks to Black male YouTuber, documentary film maker and social media personality, commentator and social critic Jason Black, aka “The Black Authority”, I got wind of the latest developments – yet another Black female editor is stepping down amid a multi-year slide for the august pop cultural institution:
“Ebony has lost its fourth editor-in-chief in as many years.
Kyra Kyles — who succeeded Kierna Mayo in the role when the Ebony and sister title Jet were sold to private equity, last June — has stepped down, according to multiple statements obtained by media columnist Richard Prince, as well as Kyles’ Twitter bio.
Prince confirmed Kyles’ departure with Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice, who wrote in an email, “Ebony Media continues to assess all areas of the business with a overall effort to streamline our operations and workforce to meet the demands of an increasingly fragmented media and digital landscape.”
Evidently, that means further cuts to the masthead, about which the affected editors were notified on Thursday.
The news comes just a week after Ebony’s new owners, Clear View Group, weathered criticism from a growing contingent of freelance contributors who claim waiting up to a year to be compensated for contributions to the magazine. In a bizarre text message published by The Root, Clear View vice chairman Willard Jackson purportedly denied the claims.”
“But instability at Ebony stems back to before Clear View acquired the title from Johnson Publishing, which owned it for its first 70 years. After top editor Amy DuBois Barnett — who was widely credited with revamping the title and growing its readership in a difficult market landscape — left in April 2014 to help launch ESPN’s The Undefeated, Johnson Publishing tapped Jet editor-in-chief Mitzi Miller as her successor. Miller lasted less than a year before stepping down the following February, a month after Johnson put Ebony’s historic photo archives, valued at $40 million, up for sale in an effort to raise some cash.
More recently, Cheryl McKissack, who was named CEO of the newly formed Ebony Media Holdings following the Clear View acquisition last summer, exited the company in March, putting Johnson Rice back in charge.
“I have enjoyed an exhilarating ride, and I am grateful for the opportunities in which I leveraged my digital, print, and broadcasting skills for the benefit of our audiences across platforms,” added Kyles in a statement to Prince.”
Folio’s Greg Dool, the author of the above quoted report, then offers the following update – as if to deliver a serious insult to an already grievious injury:
“Update: The Tribune reported Friday evening that “about ten” of the magazine’s 35 staffers have been laid off in addition to Kyles, and that Ebony’s operations will be transferred to Los Angeles after seven decades in Chicago.”
The idea that “girls run the world” as Beyonce defiantly sang a few years back – an anthem women and girls, especially Black ones, have been running amok with – has rightly been relegated to last month’s flavor-of-the-month – because the truth shows us all, that when “girls run the world”, everyone loses.
Ebony’s tearful slide to financial ruin, woeful incompetence, shiesty business practices and continued irrelevance aside, there’s more news from the front on what happens when girls run the world.
Popular social media fixture “Everyday Feminism” has admitted that they are literally on life support, with its chief movers and shakers unable to meet basic living expenses for themselves, let alone operating expenses for the website itself.
Just last year, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer was fired after taking the social media giant further into the red-ink tank, but not before getting Yahoo! into deep water for her attempts to have large numbers of its male employees fired.
Francesca Ramsey, who is perhaps best known for her Social Justice Warrior shilling on MTV than she is as a comedian and comedy writer under Larry Wilmore and Comedy Central, got her just comeuppance from yet another flameout femme fatale operation, Black Lives Matter, for daring to sleep with the enemy. Ramsey’s hubbie is White.
Closer to home for BM YTers like yours truly, an attempt on the part of the ladies of YouTube to forge an organization to be called “Sisters Overcoming Stereotypes” to combat what it saw as the systemic defaming and worse of Black women and girls on the part of the aforementioned Black male YouTube and social media personalities, will in truth actually be remembered by a more colloquial moniker – the “Sistahood of Failure” – since it has gone down in flames amid rabid in-fighting amongst the ranks, petty jealousies and persistent rumors that its chief organizers are little more than opportunistic carpetbaggers and scam artists looking to make a quick buck and get some cheap internet fame on the backs of Black female insecurities.
Yea, the “girls” are really batting .1000, aren’t they, Beyonce?
As noted in my previous column on the matter, this topic is undeniably gendered; had there been a Black male CEO and/or editors in chief at Ebony, stiffing largely Black female freelance writers, you can best believe there would be a #CANCELLED hashtag floating around Twitter. If last year’s CEO of Yahoo! were “Matthew Mayer” and was revealed to be behind a plot to systematically remove female employees, the SJW crowd would never let us hear the end of it. And so on. You get the idea.
Yet, where is the public outcry over the aforementioned facts? I suppose “girls run the world” but when they screw up – badly – we’re all supposed to pretend not to notice, is that it?
In last year’s presidential campaign, a chief critique of current POTUS and leader of the free world, Mr. Donald J. Trump, was that he was in essence, a trust fund baby; that he was, in the words of the late Texas governor Ann Richards, “born on third base and thinks he hit a triple”. Trump was and quite possibly still is seen in the eyes of his critics, as a White man born of privilege who had the best of everything handed to him, despite his numerous business failures (the facts and the truth, be damned, of course!).
But notice the completely muted silence when it comes to another American citizen born of immense privilege, wealth and prestige – Linda Johnson Rice. Daughter of the late great John H. Johnson, Rice has inherited one of Black America’s most cherished and favored social and cultural institutions. And what has her stewardship of the once heralded Ebony brought forth? Nothing but incompetence, irrelevance and a documented reputation for being a deadbeat.
Sure, you can argue that the number of failed businessmen – emphasis on the word “men” there – are legion. And I wouldn’t disagree. Yet, there are no anthems devoted to how “boys do it better!” or how “guys run the galaxy” or some such. Sure, men ran things for a long time and in many ways, still do. But it was never framed as a “guy thing”. At least, not by the guys themselves.
But in the current time frame in which we exist, identity politics of the worst kind – intersectionality – is the order of the day. Gone are the days when anyone’s efforts regardless of their race, gender or social standing, was measured on their merits and real-time results; the coin of the realm today, is just the idea of having a so-and-so in the top spot. We’ve traded hard-earned success for empty-headed sloganeering.
And we’re all the worse for it.
Mumia Obsidian Ali is the Sunday columnist for the Negro Manosphere. He also hosts a daily podcast “talk radio show” called “Obsidian Radio” on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter @ObsidianFiles.