On June 16-19, 2023, the Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute, BOMESI, held its Black-Owned Media Weekend conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The keynote speaker was lawyer, television host and author Eboni K. Williams who has appeared on Fox News, Revolt TV, and WABC Radio.
She is currently the host and executive producer for the podcast “Holding Court with Eboni K. Williams,” and the author of Bet on Black: The Good News About Being Black in America Today.
Writer Nicole Ellis, the master of ceremonies, interviewed Williams about how the book is painting a new narrative for Black people in America.
As a Black woman, how do you excel, achieve and navigate spaces not necessarily built for you?
I referenced James Baldwin in my remarks, and Baldwin is nowhere near as celebrated and revered within Black culture as he should be, in my opinion, because of this thing called homophobia. As we sit here in June’s Pride Month, something Baldwin says that I cited in my book, Bet on Black: The Good News About Being Black in America Today is that he spent most of his life throwing up what the world, society, and even his own community, told him about who he was, as a Black queer man from Harlem. He goes on to say he was able to create space for knowing the truth. To answer your question directly, I have to credit my mother, Gloria J. Williams, who was tremendous in providing me with the context of the actuality of who I was as a young Black girl from the rural American side. Gloria got in front of me, which is the answer to your question, and what I suggest in my book without apology is that every Black parent has to get in front.
How do you show up in those spaces and get the money you deserve?
I want to preface my response to the inquiry with what I’m about to say, [what] tracks for White-owned space and also tracks for Black-owned space. I think we have to be honest about that, too. I had the esteemed honor to work with one of the biggest economic forces in the industry environment. The way I negotiate with Byron [Allen’s Allen Media Group] is as aggressive as I negotiate with CNN, Fox News, or anybody else. Let’s not do ourselves the subtextual disservice of discounting the posture in which we show up when we do business with one another. The other thing is the framing of it, and I hear this a lot. This notion, especially in this post-George Floyd moment, it’s almost from this place of let me be altruistic in my pursuit of Black dollars, and featuring Black centers. Stop the bull—-. We now have every study that shows when you amplify investing [in] and promoting Black businesses and Black business owners, you win economically.