What Happens When the Cameras and Attention Goes Away

“I knew something was wrong when I saw a pretty little white girl jump into a black man’s arms.”

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

“Hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your husbands, cause they raping everybody out here.”

In the last couple of years these phrases have spread across the vast corners of the internet and into Hall-of-Fame of memes. They’re the words Charles Ramsey, Sweet Brown and Antoine Dodson.

Photo by Lucian Perkins of the Washington Post

It’s worth noting that these weren’t just random people who happened to be standing around when they interviewed by an unsuspecting news team. They were all heroes to some degree. It can be easy to forget that once the auto-tune videos and memes began rolling out like rabid mice out of a cage.

Antoine Dodson had rescued his sister from an intruder. Sweet Brown rescued herself from a fire. And in the case of Charles Ramsey, he solved a mystery that had stumped the Cleveland police for more than a decade when he rescued three women who had been held captive in his neighbor’s home.

With each of these cases, all three heroes may not have been the most eloquent on camera, but come to think of it, should it have mattered? I’m not sure how I would feel if I made one slip-up in front of a camera and then people are selling my t-shirts with my face on it. While Dodson, Ramsey and Brown did gain quite a bit of notoriety for their 15 minutes of fame, I’m curious if their lives are substantially different a few years from now — long after the fame, attention and appearance fees are gone.

MSNBC Makes Serious Gains Among Black Audiences

I remember a few years ago watching a news program with a college buddy of mine who was from Ethiopia. After a few moments, he remarked: “Warin, not to be offensive, but all of the news anchors I ever see on these programs are all white. Why is that?” Interesting question, indeed.

Now a few years later, it seems networks such as MSNBC are beginning to turn the tide. MSNBC just recently indicated that it has seen a 60% growth in its black audience viewership within the last year, making it the number one channel in that demographic. Rival CNN saw over a 20% increase in its black viewers. Why is this significant you may ask?

                                                  MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall

Simply put, MSNBC has arguably the most diverse set of anchors of any cable news network today. There’s the Rev. Al Sharpton, Tamron Hall, Toure’, and Melissa Harris-Perry. Not to mention frequent guests like Goldie Taylor and notable scholar, Micheal Eric Dyson. Not only do these hosts bring diversity, they also being a different perspective to the national discussion. And considering the United States is becoming more diverse with each passing year, MSNBC is quickly reaping the benefits of a more reflective newscast.

MSNBC president, Phil Griffin, talks more about the gains here.