When it comes to media, it is one of the most powerful sources in getting your name out there. It can either be used in a positive way or a negative way. In the words of Malcolm X, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
This is why it is critical for the Black community to have as many positive news outlets and stations that are ran by the Black community. When we tell our own stories then we can ensure that the stories are being told accurately. Tina Sampay realizes this and has launched news platform, Slauson Girl.
While in her undergrad at Humboldt State University, Sampay produced a weekly column entitled, “Slauson Girl Speaks,” which won 1st-place in a multi-state competition. Her experience as a reporter and editor in college has sparked her love and passion to tell not only her story, but the story of others.
Tina is currently building and growing the news platform and hopes to make it a trusted source for independent news and media. Her drive and intent is representation for marginalized communities–including the one she comes from.
Slauson Girl represents the “Ghetto Girl” in inner city America who are left out of mainstream discussion. She hopes to broaden the perspective around girls in the inner city through her branding and writings.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Slauson Girl. Check out the interview below:
Can you tell myself and the readers about yourself?
My name is Tina Sampay and I am a writer and journalist from South Central, Los Angeles.
Growing up and still to this day, who are your inspirations? How did these inspirations impact your life?
My inspirations are people like Ida B. Wells, Tupac, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Sista Souljah and Kendrick Lamar. I have an appreciation for the ways they were able to eloquently share their feelings and how during each time period of their life, they were able to analyze and put into context the experiences of Black people in this country. They had important messages for the Black community that are still so relevant.
At what age did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a sophomore in college I fell in love with writing and the art of journalism. For me it was a way to process my experiences and the heavy information I was suddenly learning in my Critical Race and Ethnic Studies classes. During this time I also began to understand the role of the counter-narrative for people who have historically been oppressed and the importance of us telling our own stories.
When did you get your first job in journalism and when did you get your first article published?
I got my first real job in journalism freelancing for a Black newspaper in San Fransisco called the SF Bayview when a student was murdered in the college town I lived in. My first articles were published during my time as a reporter for my college newspaper.
Who were and still are some of your favorite writers of all time? Why?
People like James Baldwin, Franz Fanon, Zora Neale Hurston, Bell Hooks, Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison who depicted and wrote about Black life in such critical and creative ways, so that we could document and understand our experiences.
What influenced and gave you that passion to start your own blog?
It all goes back to the importance of sharing our own narrative as oppressed people. During this time I did not see myself represented anywhere in mass media. Any Google search of “girls in the hood” or “ghetto girls” brought up videos of girls acting reckless or dudes in colorful wigs, making a video about Black-girl stereotypes. Nothing really spoke to our experiences as girls in the inner city in critical ways. I wanted to share and control my own narrative.
Do you hope to accomplish change in any significant capacity whether it be inner circle, followers, community and country-wide? How?
I hope to help broaden the perspective of youth from the inner city. I want to share the stories of marginalized communities and reinstall a sense of self-pride for those who feel their futures are dim because of where they come from. I hope to do this with branding, writing and creative story-telling via digital platforms and eventually film-making.
Would you consider the type of journalism and writing you’re doing to be activism and revolutionary? Why?
I would call my style of journalism a form of activism because mass media does not show African-American’s in a positive light. Through journalism and writing, we are reclaiming our narrative which I do believe is a revolutionary act. The real revolution is the elevation of consciousness.
Could you ever see yourself writing a book a physical documentary of sorts?
Definitely. I want to tell stories through video journalism as well as publishing short essay’s or a memoir.
What great words of wisdom and advice can you offer to spark the passion in the readers?
‘If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.’ -Zora Neale Hurston
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