About JJP — A Message From Co-Founders Cheryl Contee (Jill) and Baratunde Thurston (Jack)
Note: This post originally appeared on ThisWeekinBlackness.com. That area of the TWIB site has since been archived. Here is the original video and post with comments added inline.
We launched Jack and Jill Politics in 2006–a year in which a black president, or a black man in charge of the nation’s law enforcement, or a Latina Supreme Court Justice seemed like distant, “post-racial” dreams. Certainly the concept of a First Lady from the South Side, Chicago, was way past most folks’ imagination. Healthcare for all was something you had to move to Canada to get with.
Since then, the JJP community not only contributed together to making those dreams a reality, but also reshaped how the opinion of African-Americans are seen in America. When we got started on that old Blogger.com site, it was scary–we were doing something that would make most black people go a little ashy. We wrote under pseudonyms that evoked the names of famous escaped slaves with the hope that their courage might inspire us and our community. We chose a name that would be meaningful mostly to the unheard black middle class–the tax-paying, vote-casting, job-having or wanting majority of us.
Together, with you, we gave voice to the emerging power of the Hip-Hop Generation. We successfully took on race-baiters like Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck. We pushed older organizations like the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus to modernize and be more accountable to the black folks they claimed to represent. We slapped around the media when it dared to broadcast bigotry and straightup ignant mess. We raised the profile of next gen organizations like Green for All, Hip Hop Caucus, Applied Research Center, and Color of Change. We became your eyes and ears as America elected its first black president.
We showed that black people were not only present on new social technologies but we could use it as well as anyone else. It was a great honor to know that our 2008 coverage has been added to the Library of Congress for posterity. That means some of your smart comments are there, too. We strove mightily to highlight the culture of political discourse popular among blacks and those who love them whether in music, poetry, barbershops, beauty salons and a new place–blogs.
Today there are hundreds of thousands of black blogs. And black people are more likely than whites to use online technology like Twitter, Instagram, smartphones and more. It’s time for a new chapter.
That’s why we’re so excited to join forces with This Week in Blackness. Many of you may remember Elon James White’s early TWIB videos– JJP was proud to be among the first to promote them to a people hungry for smart, resonant, fearlessly funny commentary. TWIB is now a growing multimedia platform encompassing radio shows, video shorts and a website platform that’s creating the future of the online community.
We’re moving to TWIB–hope you like the new look! And . . . JJP’s contributors and founders will be blogging and talking up a storm over at TWIB. And together with you, we will next level the game.
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