So it’s been more one week since SXSW ended and more than two since the Blacks In Tech event was held during the first evening of the Interactive portion of the conference. Inquiring minds want to know why the panel and especially the Q&A content that followed has been pulled from UStream and not re-aired as indicated.
WE WANT ANSWERS OGILVY!!
Jeffrey L. Bowman, Partner, Marketing Strategy Associate Director at Ogilvy served as moderator and host of this event. As the corporate mouthpiece he’s not only put his reputation on the line but the entire company. So what are they hiding? After all he concurred with the puffery of the self-appointed “Key Influencer”, James Andrews in claiming they were Kanye’d by yours truly. They also claimed what I asked had no place at their event. If not then….when? I’d also imagine SXSW would like to maintain its reputation of transparency and not be inadvertently tied to those who would undermine their efforts at inclusion.
Ogilvy Worldwide has always had a corporate policy where employees contributed to communities and society at large. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has a Code of Ethics whereby professionals are urged to:
Protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information. Foster informed decision making through open communication. Protect confidential and private information. Promote healthy and fair competition among professionals. Avoid conflicts of interest. Work to strengthen the public’s trust in the profession.
I can’t help but wonder what David Ogilvy would think about an employee or contractor who has no such standards representing the company that bears his name.
Punk Move or Judas Kiss?
Like that other reprehensible fellow, Toure, who is currently under fire for making statements that black women benefitted from being raped during the period our ancestors were enslaved we have further public displays of contempt by certain males. He later claimed his cousin had gotten hold of his Blackberry so in the words of Shaggy, “It Wasn’t Him”.
Andrews could be said to be having his own Toure moment where he’s since deleted Tweets and sanitized his original post of its most inflammatory content. Which is something a confident, competent man would never do to begin with. I also thought it rather odd how Bowman approached me unprompted, invaded my personal space without permission and hugged me for participating but joined in the attack initiated by Andrews afterwards.
Now, I cannot help but notice how some black males look at black women as competition for the patronage of and acceptance by whites. It never fails to shock me a little though because my personal value system requires males who can navigate their way through life without having to belittle women to feel good about themselves. This is yet another aspect of how some black men and women relate to each other dysfunctionally as discussed at this blog. Thank goodness everyone isn’t like that!
This is also part of a larger issue of those who want to contribute tangible means that empowers a collective to keep them competitive with the rest of society versus those who wish to gut, dissect and misdirect resources for individual gain. If anyone claims to be a conduit to the black community but cannot evaluate their own personal motivations their perspective is very flawed.
I suspect the curious silence from Andrews and Bowman is akin to an admission of guilt for lying about what took place. After writing a blog post and resending it on Twitter every two hours for two days Andrews suddenly has nothing more to say? If you yell, “Fire” there had better be smoke! My name may have been dragged into it by this dynamic duo – with Andrews overfiring – but I can assure you this is no longer about me. This is about the public behavior of two male executives who saw fit to demean and castigate a woman who held up a mirror to their selling black folks out for a buck.
According to this professional there is no separation between online and real-life reputation anymore. We’re not without flaws but should those who claim to be experts and influencers be held to a higher standard? What do you think about that? What real progress has been made for those others claim to speak for?
If, as Andrews claimed I had introduced inappropriate topics or whatever twisted logic he used then Bowman should have no problem airing the content. After all, if they are the professionals they claim to be it would have been relatively simple to just replay the video and let the evidence of the alleged infraction be presented to the world. I stand by everything I said…but can they?
I suspect Andrews might like a “do-over” because I called into question his worshipping certain famous male denigrators of black women. The irony of course is that those men have either sold their businesses to white-controlled firms or have partnerships with companies whose interests are not black-owned nor oriented. Instead of thinking critically let’s just keep it sexy instead.
Neither Andrews nor Bowman have any real power – though they are firmly established at feeding from the trough of the whites that hire them at our expense. In the tradition of others like Tavis Smiley who claim to have a black agenda (to nowhere), speak of accountability (for anyone but themselves) and the pack of actors/comedians giving flawed relationship advice to black women these are the money changers in the temple.
These individuals may be well-compensated, but at the end of the day they are Paper Tigers. They are still dependent on white patronage and black apathy. So at the end of the day they are chasing after and voluntarily co-opted by dominant white males. What would it take for people to stand on their own merits and build an infrastructure that would be self-supporting instead of tearing down others who look like them?
After doing a little digging into who was in attendance I was able to ascertain it was some of their white clients or those whites who were being courted at SXSW (like some being honored at the PGi Women In Tech event) who left the venue after I spoke, not those who were being counted as delivering a successful event by subterfuge. It had nothing to do any concern about how blacks were being represented or an ode to multiculturalism. None of the panelists who wrote blog posts agreeing with the “Key Influencer” have the interests of the black (African American specifically) community at large in mind. It was about their income, career opportunities and whether other people would be writing them a check in the immediate future.
Not to say people don’t have the right to earn a living but at what cost to the black collective do individuals have when using their “blackness” by birth or association to lay waste to the majority? There’s a difference between an ally and an opportunist. The promotion of denigration and fluff is literally choking the life out of the community. Where’s the discussion about hard work, delayed gratification and stressing education? Where’s the consideration for the ongoing blacklash many are experiencing because some whites think racism is dead now that there’s a black president?
How Dysfunctionality Became Commonplace
When people stopped speaking out the abnormal became accepted as the norm. Look at how the mere suggestion one Social Media VIP was acting out of line with a white female volunteer during SXSW was handled and compare it to my experience. Look at how others immediately stepped in to address it and apologies were issued forthwith. This is how successful, thriving dominant groups behave: they protect the women of their group.
Far too many blacks do not have racial or ethnic pride. Far too many black males focus on racism while blaming whites (ignoring the racism of non-whites) but do not evaluate their misogyny and sexism for gendered racism against black women. Far too many don’t publicly step forward in policing the errant behavior of other males so anything goes now. Far too many women focus on saving others (in particular random grown men) instead of focusing on their own elevation. Other groups continue to eat from the tree of our Civil Rights Movement to advance their own causes but refuse to acknowledge us as equals or express appreciation for our efforts they now benefit from due to lack of established boundaries. Bashing black women for profit and sport is all the rage now. We can continue to talk around all of this or face it head on and change it.
The event labelled Blacks In Tech was all about the uplift of anyone else but a black person (let alone a black woman) in the hopes they (Andrews and Bowman) could continue to be some other group’s favorite Negro Go-To Pet. Instead of actually working with black people to uplift each other they are in fact using a false blackness to escape it and work against us. So it comes full circle.
Their hiding the content of the event at SXSW is reprehensible but we can demand they release it – unless they took the cowardly way out and destroyed it. Either way they should be held accountable for their actions since it was they who initiated the charge of sedition to begin with.
We Want The Tape!!
Since they’re so fond of Twitter I’m urging interested parties to send them a message demanding they produce the evidence, unaltered and unedited of course. Every day they continue to hide it their credibility sinks a little bit further into oblivion. How long will their white patrons continue to support the lying liars and the lies they tell?
Jeffrey L Bowman is at @jeffreylbowman @blacksintech and @whyogilvy.
James Andrews is at @keyinfluencer and @beeverywhere
Of course the focus should be on contacting Ogilvy directly. They have an interesting hierarchy structure but as best I can tell Carla Hendra is the CEO and Chair of Ogilvy’s New York office. Their main switchboard is 212-237-4000. You can call and inquire how they plan to respond to the removal of the content from the Blacks In Tech event and when we can expect it to be posted. Everyone should be able to watch and listen to it and judge for themselves.
Let this be a moment for those of us concerned about the community at large to take steps towards reaching those who might hear a message of uplift and make choices that benefit themselves and others. Let us shed light in the dark corners where the cockroaches and vermin take cover.
An abbreviated version of this post can be found at my Posterous page.