Channel Black is a storytelling and media training program that develops the strategy, intervention, and spokesperson skills of social movement leaders and impacted communities. Our goal is to equip marginalized and impacted people with the tools and supports to develop and tell their own stories and have a say in how power and resources in the United States are distributed.
Dangerous and lazy narratives that paint places and groups of people with a broad brush stroke are intentional and political. Over the years, they have been and continue to be cherry-picked and exploited by policymakers and the media for insidious purposes and desired outcomes. These narratives are exclusively violent and intimidating; they are racialized stories that leave people fearful of other people; not to mention, they reinforce long-standing, deeply held ideas and beliefs that uphold the status quo.
Storytelling and ethical narrative framing is important because what we’re told and what we believe about people and places determines how we treat them—and those stories become woven into how we think and how we act. They determine how we vote and how we engage in the systems to which we are all bound. Systems like democracy.
The work of Channel Black is crucial to building trust with the new American electorate. To have a fair discussion among more of us, we have to highlight the voices of a diverse, and often under-heard, population. Besieged by a landscape in which “fake news” and “alternative facts” have fomented suspicion and willful ignorance among a large sector of our population, we are aiming to back up our work with thoughtfulness and critical attention to the true forces that keep us divided.
Channel Black trainers have developed a nimble training program that will grow the strategy, intervention, and spokesperson skills of marginalized and impacted communities in the fight for fairness, equity, and power. As the conversation on race, racism, transphobia, poverty, climate change and #metoo in America continues to evolve, we will bridge the empathy gap, have courageous conversations, and ensure that democracy includes all Americans, not just a select few.
Black families affected by violence often become a talking point when the news breaks, but rarely do we ever hear directly from those who are actually impacted by this violence, which plagues their lives and community. In order to increase the voices of Black mothers, Shanelle Matthews and Mia Birdsong developed The Black Mama’s Storytelling Fellowship, a program that equips Black mothers with the tools and confidence to be a spokesperson, when it comes to matters pertaining to their own lives. This fellowship was launched via storytelling and media training organization Channel Black. Continue reading.
We must engage in radical truth-telling about marginalized people by marginalized people. Channel Black trainees subvert traditional ideas about who is and is not considered an expert. Story is the connective tissue of the human experience and a necessary conduit towards evolution. Stories live in our bodies and understanding—and celebrating the intersection of human experience and social justice is also a full-body process. Working from a deeply empathetic orientation, we can do more to make sense of our networked lives, of the intersections of humanity embedded in news and media stories, and of how we can increase thriving for al