My Year In Books 2017

I have been reading a lot of books this year, not only to stimulate my mind but to also block out President Dotard in my life whenever possible!

I made a list not only to share my reading habits but also to hold myself accountable to continue reading.  My new year’s resolution every year is to read more books, and I think I have achieved that!  

Some of them are review copies I received from publishers for free, while others are older books that I reread because of their relevance.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin

White Man, Listen by Richard Wright

Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy

Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War by Adam Hochschild

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

The Algiers Motel Incident by John Hersey

You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

How to Kill a City by Peter Moskowitz

No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein

The Pigeon Tunnell by John Le Carre

Voices of Liberation: Frantz Fanon by Leo Zeilig

From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero

A Beautiful Ghetto by Devin Allen

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

This Is What A Librarian Looks Like by Kyle Cassidy

Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa by Keith Somerville

 

Jump Start Your 2018 Content Strategy Today!

Over on my company website, Global Wire Associates, we are running our bi-annual sale, on some of our best-selling e-books. This includes Short Guide to Content Strategy, a very popular briefing on how to best use your content to express your brand.  Now is a great time to think about your strategy for the new year!  This is a great e-book for both new and experienced marketers and business owners.

Short Guide to Content Strategy This is a simple and easy to use ebook that will help you learn the basic principles of developing a content strategy for your organization. In addition, the guide not only breaks down what an editorial calendar could look like, but it also has two mock calendars – one for an NGO and the other for a small business – demonstrating a strategic plan at work. A content strategy provides a purposeful and structured plan for your organizational messaging, and in today’s competitive market, having a solid strategy can make a difference in whether or not your organization sinks or swims.

The sale ends today, 29 November 2017, at 11:59 PM ET!! Buy it here:

Price: US$5.99
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Holiday Music Playlist 2017!

It is time to add some Christmas music to my iPod.  Many of them are old classics and there is something for everyone to enjoy this holiday season!

Joy To The World – Whitney Houston (My favorite Christmas song ever!)

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Vince Guaraldi Trio (Best Christmas album ever!)

Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas – Ella Fitzgerald

Currier & Ives: Christmas Treasures – The London Symphony Orchestra

Jingle Bells – Duke Ellington Trio

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Luther Vandross

Winter Wonderland – Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Santa’s Got a Bag of Soul – The Soul Saints Orchestra

Cool Yule – Louis Armstrong

This Christmas – Donny Hathaway

Do They Know It’s Christmas – Various Artists

Winter Wonderland – Lena Horne

Let It Snow, Let It Snow Lena Horne

Santa Claus Is Coming – Les Paul and Mary Ford

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland

Ask Yourself – Sunday People

My Favorite Things – The Supremes

What Child Is This? – Vanessa Williams

Last Christmas – Wham!

What Christmas Means – Stevie Wonder

Every Year, Every Christmas – Luther Vandross

Christmas in Hollis – Run-DMC

Christmas in New Orleans – Louis Armstrong

All I Want For Christmas – Mariah Carey

Let It Snow – Boys II Men

Happy Holidays – Peggy Lee

Christmas Time – Chris Starney

Here Comes Santa – Ramsey Lewis Trio

 

Why The Advertising Industry Still Lacks Diversity

Continuing with the same theme from my article a couple of weeks ago about diversity in the media, this week I wanted to touch on the advertising industry.  Like television shows, the TV commercials during the breaks, as well as ads in print and online media are starting to reflect the changing, diverse American landscape.  Just yesterday, I walked by my local Old Navy store, which featured a black woman and white man in an embrace and a biracial child standing in front of them, implying this was an interracial family enjoying the brand’s new winter clothing line.  Then I went to a bus stop and saw an ad from the Chicago Tourism Bureau featuring what could be implied as two gay men also embracing at a festive occasion.  Yes, this is the new normal.

However, in the last few months, there has been a slew of problematic ads getting media attention.  Even when ad agencies have good intentions in their attempt to be more inclusive, they can fail miserably.

Take this above Dove ad.

If you haven’t heard about it already, it featured a black woman morphing into a white woman who morphs into an Asian woman.  The main problem here is that it implies that somehow the soap cleans so well that it changes black skin to white skin.  While Dove claims it didn’t intend to be racist in the ad, the company has a history of using the same racial tropes in their ads.  Just six years ago, Dove was accused of doing the same exact black to white/dirty to clean ad.

Not to mention that there still product advertising using racial overtones in use today – Aunt Jemima Pancakes, Uncle Ben Rice and Chef Frank White (Rastus) on the Cream of Wheat box just to name a few.

Racist soap ads have a long, unfortunate history in America.  From 1875 to 1921, soap manufacturer N.K. Fairbank used this ad featuring a white child asking a black child, “Why don’t you ask your mamma to wash you with fairy soap.  There were other ads with black children getting washed in the tub and come out with white skin.

Unfortunately, I am not surprised that these subtle racial overtones are still used in advertising.  While it is true that the advertising industry is using more diverse imagery in their ad placement, there is still a serious lack of diverse people working in ad agencies.

According to the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 582,000 Americans employed in advertising, less than half are women, seven percent are black, six percent are Asian and 10 percent are Hispanic.   Comparatively by 2044 when it becomes a minority-majority country, the United States will be 49.7 percent white  (63 percent today), 25 percent Hispanic (17 percent today), 12.7 percent black, 7.9 percent Asian and 3.7 percent multiracial.  Essentially, the ad world is lagging behind the real world!  Most of the major ad agencies in America are still run by older, privileged white men who attended elite schools and only interact with people who look like them, often reflecting the TV show Mad Men, but taking place in 2017, not the 1950s.

Also, if there were not only more people of color in decision-making positions but also more people in general with different perspectives with an understanding of how cultural sensitivity and awareness combines with trends and branding, this problem would greatly improve.  And when I mean being in a decision-making position, I don’t mean the “Chief of Diversity” or some other BS token minority position with no actual power and never disagree with their white peers within today’s corporate environment.  I mean black, Asian, Hispanic and women executives with knowledge and awareness of history and culture who can say, “We can’t run this ad because it’s racist/sexist/homophobic etc.”

I have done work with some larger ad agencies as a subcontracting web graphics developer and I have encountered these racial dynamics in their workplaces, where their token black employee just goes along to get along and agrees with all the dumb ideas from their white co-workers.

So basically until workforce diversity improves, there will be more similar Dove commercials in the future.