What is #BreakingBlack?

COLUMN - An unapologetic, open and honest conversation by, for and about Black America...

“Be careful who you let tell your story.”

Those words, said to me by a mentor many moons ago have become my mantra.  In so many ways, they have been the undercurrent that washed my journalism career ashore, or pressed it downstream until I found my voice.

So often in the constant swirl of the 24/7 news cycle, the voices of the people most impacted — and the issues they confront — get muddled or lost. The treasure-trove of stories, both triumphant and tragic, are too often buried, in favor of what is deemed the “bigger” story.

When I first came to theGrio.com several years ago as an audience development and editorial consultant, I was excited to join a digital offering devoted to African-Americans. Today, in my new role as a featured columnist, I am committed to telling our stories and to saying what —whether out of fear or unknowing —is often left unsaid.

#BreakingBlack is an unapologetic, open and honest conversation by, for and about Black America.

It is, I believe, a necessary discussion about our culture and our politics, and the richness of our diversity. That means I will challenge myself—and you—to a higher plane of thinking.  I will press you, and myself, to look back and to Lean Forward.

#BreakingBlack means taking a hard turn from traditional journalism and digging deeper.  Sometimes, that will mean inviting others into our proverbial “kitchen” and airing our “laundry.”  I will never shy away from the truth.  I will never hesitate to call out those who fail us.

#BreakingBlack means breaking away from the safe questions in order to get to the hard answers. I cannot assure you that I will always be right. This is an opinion column, after all. But I can promise you that I will always be looking and listening for tangible and viable solutions.

In my first piece, published this week, I deal with racial profiling and so-called “respectability politics.” I reach back to a time when you could not go to the mall, the movies or the airport without putting on your Sunday best. Our parents demanded it. Were they right? Did it ever make a difference? Or were we just playing a game that we could never win?

#BreakingBlack will appear each Monday on theGrio.com and soon we will develop a web series by the same name. In every installment, I will open a new chapter on our collective story.  Of course, the conversation will continue, long after we’ve published the latest column.  And so you can find me on Twitter at @goldietaylor and participate in the discussion using the #BreakingBlack hashtag.

I hope you will join me.