Monday, January 28, 2008

TheRoot.com

Today, the Washington Post Co. (which used to employ me) planted a flag in the afrosphere by launching TheRoot.com.

Conceived by Post chairman Don Graham and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (pictured), and with the “sponsorship” of HBO, TheRoot.com strives to be a high-toned webmagazine for black folks.

Prof. Gates sees it as part of a 180-year continuum... from Freedom’s Journal to The Crisis to Ebony magazine to now.

The Root’s editorial team comes from elite mainstream news organizations – Lynette Clemetson (New York Times), Terence Samuel (U.S. News & World Report) and Natalie Hopkinson (Washington Post).

Given all those credentials, I hope The Root won’t be too very “respectable”... eating fried chicken with a knife and fork and shit.

I hope there’ll be room in that enterprise for some of the funkdafied free speaking and reckless attitudinizing that characterizes the best of the black blogosphere. (I’m talking about bloggers like AngryBlackBitch, The Assimilated Negro, Field Negro and Ernest Hardy.)

Either way, I’ll be checking out The Root regularly.

UPDATE (01/29/08): If you’d like to read more about yesterday’s launch of TheRoot.com, here are a couple of links...

Click here for the Washington Post’s news story.

The New York Times article is here.

13 comments:

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

rasx said...

Hey! This is a great opportunity for you to explain to a country rube like me why this Skip Gates Web project needs to be "conceived" in a "partnership" with The Washington Post. I can only think of what Farai Chideya has done and Harlem-Renaissance-style patronage for the "New Negro."

daughterofthedream said...

Thanks for this! Gates always reminds me of a Winnie the Pooh. I hope they have some under 35s writing for them!

Random Thought: I swear Marlo is wearing eyeliner in the latest On Demand Wire ep.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Winnie the Pooh! Oh damn, daughter... now that you put that in my head, it won't come out.

Undercover Black Man said...

"...explain to a country rube like me why this Skip Gates Web project needs to be 'conceived' in a 'partnership' with The Washington Post."

Hey Bryan. What's wrong with getting white corporate money behind a project? Particularly when there's bills to pay before you even launch. (Hiring top-caliber journalists, etc.)

The more I read about TheRoot.com, it seems that the Post Co. was inspired, in part, by the success of Slate (which it now owns). Matter fact, the top two guys at Slate wet-nursed this Root concept to fruition.

And Prof. Gates apparently has his own entreprenurial interest here, using TheRoot.com to drive customers to his genetic-mapping business, AfricanDNA.com.

None of which I have a problem with. I'm just saying... you gotta have some funk it. Just got to.

Ideefixe said...

Well, if they add you and Baldilocks to the blog roll, I might be more convinced. The site looks great, though.

Michael Fisher said...

Well, Skip is a nice guy. Never saw eye-to-eye with him politically, but he cool. Wish him lot's of success.

Render said...

oh man...

I thought that was Jim Vance.

AWARD
ME,
R

Undercover Black Man said...

Render, you funny, mang.

Michael, I have much respect for Skip Gates. He seems to do the work of three men... and has for the past 20 years.

ideefixe, thanks. I've not read Baldilocks. There are 50 blogs that I would read every day if I could. Alas, the hours are swallowed up by my obsessive need to fill my own content hole. Oh well...

DeAngelo Starnes said...

In the 90s, Skip Gates made an admirable effort to bring Blackthought to Harvard (Cornel West, William Julius Wilson, etc.) I admire that but I see the same slate of characters. I'd love to see him to mix in younger voices, too. I'd really love to see him have a roundtable with a mix of older and younger thinkers.

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"He seems to do the work of three men... and has for the past 20 years."

Well, he, together with John Blassingame (PBUH), did a pretty good job putting our Yale Afro-Am Studies Department on the map. And that was more that 30 years ago (Dang, I'm getting old!)

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Luckily for us, cool don't age. ;^)

Undercover Black Man said...

"I admire that but I see the same slate of characters. I'd love to see him to mix in younger voices, too."

Yep, DeAng. And they're out there, too. Maybe The Root is a place where they can be showcased.