I spent a few days in a state of near emotional paralysis after I watched the video of Alton Sterling shot and killed with a cop literally straddling his body with the barrel of a gun pushed into his chest. Then, before I could even digest a second video from an even more sickening angle, came yet another horrifying video, this time of a woman recounting how, just moments before, her love had been struck down while reaching for his license during a traffic stop over a broken taillight. It seemed like the assault on black bodies had reached a fever pitch since we as a people took it upon ourselves to make the whole world recognize three words that we have always known.
Black Lives Matter.
Two years have passed since video footage revealed the tragic death of 18-year-old Mike Brown, left in the middle of a Ferguson street after being shot and killed by a cop named Darren Wilson — a man who is still unrepentant for his act. In the days that followed people from all across the country flooded the streets of Ferguson, Missouri in open resistance. In those days we adopted several mantras. One was “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and the other was “Black Lives Matter.”
There had been so many before him. Trayvon Martin. Danroy Henry. Oscar Grant. Sean Bell. Amadou Diallo. Jordan Davis. Many struck down by police, transit police, wannabe police, noise police. So many young men and women, struck down too soon. Before they truly began to live.
We had to do something. We had to say something.
And truthfully we have been doing something and saying something all along. Since its start, Bossip has reported on politics and social issues with nearly the same regularity as we have pop culture, comedy and entertainment. The difference is that everyone has not always had the same interest in the social issues stories as they have the celebrity news. But we are living in a different time now.
When a Senator from Illinois became a President, Bossip was two years old, and we were hopeful that the change he promised was a sign that Black people were finally equal, that America could perhaps start to put racism behind us. Unfortunately Obama’s election shined a light on all the cracks and fissures that still exist between the races and classes, the progressives and those whose idea of a “great America” involves nooses and burning crosses, white hoods, fear of dark skin and hatred of just about anything foreign.
We’re on the precipice of a very important election and racial tension seems like it’s worse than ever. Some days. Some days we are able to unite over hashtags or memes or sporting events. But ever since August 9, 2014 we recognize that Black Lives Matter every day.
So we got together as an office and labored over what exact phrases to use and which to remove until we came to agreement on how we feel RIGHT NOW and what you see in the statement above is a collective expression of the BOSSIP editorial staff. We also felt it appropriate to release these words on August 9th in memory of Michael Brown, a life which held so much promise before being cut short. We also put a lot of planning and effort into creating some special content around the occasion. You will notice plenty of #BlackGirlMagic today, along with stories about banking black and buying black, editorials on other Black lives cut short and a video series featuring some very intelligent voices from the Black community. This isn’t a one day thing. This is a promise to continue putting OUR stories in the forefront and valuing Black lives and the Black experience in everything we do.
We hope you enjoy and appreciate it and we want you to know we are listening to you. We want to tell the stories you want to watch and read and we want to help be part of the change, because the time is truly now to make America great — since honestly it never has been all it’s cracked up to be and until we all are able to recognize that Black Lives Matter, it never will be.
Managing Editor, Bossip.com