Thursday, November 9, 2017

INTERVIEWS: APEX COTURE SITS DOWN WITH TORRAINE WALKER

 IN THESE TIMES JOURNALISM IS OF THE MOST IMPORTANCE. BLACK JOURNALISTS ARE INDEED A COMMODITY AND A TRUE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION AND TRUTH THAT WE NEED. IN A NATION WHERE THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS USED AS A PROPAGANDA MACHINE WE NEED RESEARCH WARRIORS.


  We live in a very crucial time. There is so much information at our grasp via the internet that you can literally believe a flat out lie by searching and finding something to back up that lie. This is dangerous. It is also on purpose to divert us from the truth.   

  For this reason we are called to do the due diligence for our people. Most of us won't take in information unless it's in a rap song. See how that's workin out for us? But don't fret, there's soldiers out here putting down and leading the charge in Independent Black Journalism. One in particular is Torraine Walker and we had the chance to sit down and chop up some game with him. Check it out. 




 ACMD: We have one of the one of the most informative and accountable Black independent Journalists in the buildin! Let the beautiful people know who you are sir!


TW: Hello! I’m Torraine Walker, I’m a writer and digital media journalist. My work focuses on Black culture, politics and art.

ACMD: OK. So let's go in. You are from Duval "Da Bang em" (Jacksonville, FL) which is also our home base. You grew up in one of the roughest areas Myrtle Ave. I'm very familiar with that area and there aren't many inspirations to be what you are promoted. Tell us what growing up there was like and how you got the inspiration to be a journalist.

TW: Growing up in Duval, I always had love from my family. They were big on education. Not just in school, but in life. My grandfather was a reverend and he was like the mayor of the neighborhood. My grandmother was like everybody’s grandmother. Even cats who were out there hustlin always had respect for her because she was genuine. We weren’t rich but anytime I said there was a book I wanted to read, they got it for me. I was always in Dallas Graham Library. But outside of my house, I was around people dealing with real life shit. Jacksonville is a hard city to come up in and Myrtle Ave is one of the hardest places. Most of the friends I grew up with are dead or in prison. But there’s a lot of love and creativity there too. Most importantly, people are real. They have no filter and they’ll tell you what you think and where you stand with them. I’ve taken that with me wherever I go, and I put that realness and honesty into my writing.

ACMD: You've been published in national media outlets which are great accomplishments. Tell us which publications, the experience at each one and how they helped you on your mission.

TW: I was a regular blogger to the Huffington Post for a year. That experience helped me to sharpen my skills on a large platform and not be afraid of voicing my opinions. I’ve published political interviews and social essays for Fusion, where I learned that listening is more important than talking when it comes to conducting interviews, and I’ve written for Abernathy Magazine based out of Harlem. That was good for me because it allowed me to write about being a Black man, on a platform owned by Black men. The one that affected me the most was writing for Teen Vogue when I interviewed Bridget Anderson, this incredible young woman whose boyfriend Anthony Hill was shot and killed by police. She poured her life out to me over two hours and I was determined to represent her and Anthony faithfully. That’s when I learned that my job as a journalist is less about me than it is about respecting the fact someone wants to tell me their story, and telling it accurately.

ACMD:This is the part I been waiting for. You regularly hand racists their asses and we friggin love it. Tell us about the situation with the reporter who tried to ruin Cam Newton's career. Heard you gave it to him decent..

TW: Yeah, that was interesting. I check my social media feeds every morning and one day the trending story was Cam Newton allegedly making sexist remarks to a woman sports reporter. By that afternoon, he had lost one of his endorsements and there was a cyber mob forming to brand him a misogynist. I did some digging, and I found where the reporter had made light of racist comments and said some herself. So I put what I found on Twitter, it went viral, and some news orgs picked it up. The next morning, she issued an apology and she’s been ghost on social media ever since! [laughs.]

Demonizing Black men is an American tradition and when a white woman does it, it’s guaranteed to work. I said at the time what Cam said wasn’t exactly smart, but I felt it wasn’t right to allow his career and livelihood to be destroyed because of a woman who turned out to be racist. We all know that history.

ACMD: You have a good handle on using social media to illustrate your contextual views on culture and politics. Seems to work well for you. What's your strategy? Or is that a secret?

TW: I’ve always been interested in how media can be shaped to make the public form an opinion. With social media, the window to grab someone’s attention is so short that most people don’t read beyond a headline and they go off without reading any further. What I do is research and provide more background to a story, and I’ve been fortunate enough to earn people’s trust from that.

ACMD: Tell us about your website and how your platform can be utilized....

TW: There are a lot of great stories in Black communities that go ignored by mainstream media, and I feel that’s done on purpose. I want to tell those stories. On my website I have a section called Real Talk where I speak with people who are doing important work but don’t get recognized. I just published an interview with Nekima Levy-Pounds, an activist who ran for mayor of Minneapolis, and I have commitments from some people in entertainment and activism to be interviewed soon. I’m just countering the negativity mainstream media focuses on when reporting on Black people, because those negative images can infect a community.

ACMD: Are there any upcoming events, books or features in news media coming up that we should be looking out for?

TW: I’m working on a book about Black culture and social media that I plan to release in 2018. When it drops I’ll send you a copy!

ACMD: Please do so! Love good info! Well brother, we really appreciate you for taking the time to chop up some game with us. We applaud you on your mission and support you to the fullest. Throw you some shouts to your team/fam and also let them know what magazine you are now rockin with!

My website is www.torrainewalker.com and you can find me on Twitter at @TorraineWalker

One time for my grandfather and grandmother Orrie & Annie Wilkerson, My other grandmother Minnie Davis, my J-Ville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami family, and a BIG shout out to Apex Coture for puttin’ the real out in DUVAL!


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