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The Future of Unstripped Voice
(as of August 2020)

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“I’m tired of marching at something that should’ve been mine at birth”.

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Chicago, 1966)

Hey everyone, this is Vic … founder of Unstripped Voice.

I hope all of you are holding up during these times. Let me cut to the chase. As of the time of this publication — August 4, 2020 — here is the new direction we’re taking with Unstripped Voice:

  1. We’re primarily focused on showcasing Black History clips & commentary (from our website’s video catalog)
  2. We’re no longer showing “regular” news unless it’s a very major development
  3. Posts on our social media will be more “positive”, as in self-help tips, economic tips to get ahead, people of color making moves, and similar things along those lines.

To kick it off, I’ve instructed the content team to post articles alluding to these 3 updates above starting today, August 4, 2020.

Finally, I’ve started a new blog that promotes health, business, and financial literacy. It’s actually been out for a few months but today is the “grand” opening (sorta speak). The blog is called The Mo’ Better Life and you can check out the articles by clicking here. You can even follow our new Facebook page here. That’s where I’ll be most of the time as of today (Aug 4, 2020).

Now that the updates to the future of Unstripped Voice are out, here are some answers to questions you may have:

 

Is Unstripped Voice going away?

Nope. We’re still here going strong! We have over 550,000 social followers since 2016. We aren’t going away anytime soon.

 

No more “regular” news articles? Why is that?

A while back we ran a poll on our Facebook page that asked if social media “helped” or “hurt” your mental health. Around 80% of you said it “hurt” your mental health (we can’t find the poll right now but we’ll link it here when we do).

I strongly believe what’s going on in the world these days isn’t good for your mental health. Add that to the commentary we see on social media in comments — including comments on articles/videos we post — and we recognize that swift changes had to be made in order to put people in a better state of mind. Especially these days!

I can scream for the world to change, but I must do my own part to help things go in the right direction. Since I have this platform with a wide-reach, I decided it will be best for us to go in the right direction by no longer posting regular news articles.

However, if any major news developments happen, we’ll post it on our social platforms so you won’t be out of the loop!

 

They say “good news doesn’t bring engagement”. Is this good for Unstripped Voice?

This is true. A few years ago we tried a similar change where we said we were heading towards more “positive” news. We did that for a while, but the “regular” news was getting more likes, comments, and shares than the “positive” news…and we got sucked up in the engagement-trap.

This is no different than someone starting a TV show with the hopes of bringing a positive light to the world, only for the audience to engage with the drama the show brought, which leads the network to steer the show more in the drama direction since it “sells”.

They say “not everything good to you is good for you”, and this is no exception. People’s drama may be entertaining to you because it mentally takes you away from the daily ravages of life, but your entertainment for drama negatively affects the people who are involved.

Check the Tamar Braxton/WETv situation for a recent example of this.

One of the unfortunate facts of life is that we’re naturally more drawn to bad news than to good news. I don’t know why this is, but my personal theory is that bad news keeps us safe by being aware of what’s going on around us. And we all want to be safe.

That’s where #ImplicitBias kicks in…and is a major reason for the continual divide between race & class in this world.

Bad news brings engagement, and engagement sells. That’s how we at Unstripped Voice got caught up in the engagement trap after saying we were going to bring more positive news a few years ago. We went back to our old ways of posting “regular” news — which wasn’t good for our mental health — especially these days.

So we decided to take a stand. No more “regular” news.

If our site engagement goes down, then we recognize that’s the price to pay for this. I’m at peace with this. I initially started this page back in 2016 to showcase Black history they didn’t show us in schools (more on that below).

Many people still don’t understand Black history, and our page can be a major catalyst for folks to get educated. Folks of all races! So we’re sticking to posting Black history videos since that’s how we started, but we’re cutting off the “regular” news for good.

This is our new approach as of today.

However, if you do want to find “regular” news (not like we always posted regular news, anyway), you can go to The Grio, The Root, Radio One, Roland Martin Unfiltered, and Revolt Black News, to name a few.

 

As the founder of Unstripped Voice, how have your personal views evolved?

**To get the quick one-sentence answer to this question, check out the final sentence at the very bottom of this entire section (starting with “So in short:“). The following is a more detailed explanation…

The thought of starting Unstripped Voice as a Black-history page started in summer 2016 after the police murder of Terence Crutcher in my college town of Tulsa, OK. I personally didn’t know Terence, but he was the brother of a former mentor of mine — the late Joey Crutcher — back in my music days in the mid-2000s. I explained this in The New Yorker back in 2018.

After the shooting and murder, I wondered why police killings kept happening after racism was “supposedly” solved.

At the same time, I came across a video on Facebook that basically explained “redlining”. This was in 2016 and I never heard of redlining before, but I always knew that “better neighborhoods had more white people in it” and for years I wondered why.

That single redlining clip set off a Black-history discovery session where I came across a 14-hour, 14-part video series called Eyes On the Prize, which spoke about the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 (Brown vs Board decision) to 1983 when Harold Washington became the first Black mayor of Chicago.

After my wife Charity and I saw those clips, I figured not many people knew about these facts (because they didn’t teach them in schools), so I decided to cut the videos into 50+ shorter segments and post them on our Unstripped Voice Facebook page.

That was in 2016. My goal at the time was to showcase Black history facts they didn’t teach in schools to as many people as possible. 

Now it’s 2020. George Floyd happened.

Suddenly everyone who initially didn’t care much about learning Black history suddenly wanted to learn more. Many books and Black history sites (including ours) got a lot more views than ever before due to the sudden “interest” of the Black plight.

Although I’m happy that lots more people are finally seeing the light, personally I feel that my job is basically done & validated on what we tried to accomplish at Unstripped Voice. I wanted the platform to show Black history clips & commentary to as many people as possible. In 4 years we reached 200 million+ video views and 2.8 million comments on our Facebook page alone (Thank You!).

However…

It’s one thing to know the plight of Black (& Latinx & Native American) people through education. It’s another thing to act on that knowledge for the betterment of our society.

So I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that although we are more knowledgable about the injustices towards Black lives, the reality is that most of us want things to go back to where it was before. In other words, “I see your plight, but I really gotta take care of me and what’s mine.”

Therefore, people don’t really care about us. Michael Jackson once said this in 1995…and he was 100% spot on. They don’t really care about us. It’s self-preservation at the end of the day, especially with the pandemic and the economic interests each one of us has. In other words, “To hell with Black lives…even after my donations & guilt.”

And the unfortunate thing is that this feeling cuts across all races. Meaning some Black people feel the same way about Black people’s plight in order to protect their own, and so on.

Therefore, my views on race relations have evolved since the George Floyd situation.

In 2016, it was about showing Black history clips to as many people as possible. I felt if people knew more about Black history (rather this was other races learning about Black history or Black people learning about their own history), then empathy would come and changes will be made.

Now in 2020, especially after the George Floyd situation, I’ve learned that although Black history is learned more and more, people’s views barely ever changed. And that’s due to what we learned as children growing up — from our environments, our upbringing, and our way of life.

People just don’t want to change. At all. Even if the changes would benefit them in the future.

Change, to almost everyone, is too scary to undertake. So nothing happens and everything relatively stays the same.

So what are we going to do about it?

I’m not going to sit here and say I have the answers. I don’t. As a matter of fact, your own answer (solution) largely depends on the current situation you’re in — meaning there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution (although reparations would be a great start).

In my personal opinion, I feel the best way for people to respect us is if we have leverage.

In any negotiation, the best thing one should have is leverage. The more leverage you have, the better chance you have in getting a fair deal.

The same applies to the plight of Black lives. I say “Black” lives a lot here because I’m Black…and Black folks are the most oppressed group at least here in America.

To get what we want, we must have leverage.

A typical way for Black (or any oppressed group) to gain leverage is through voting.

But I believe there’s one way deeper than that…

Sure, voting works…but the powers-that-be use the laws to create voter suppression tactics that limit the vote. We know that.

But after fighting for accountability of a fair process, the powers-that-be will still try to find ways to create voter suppression…making the fight last longer than expected.

But the deeper way to gain leverage is through economic means. That means more ownership within our communities and ourselves!

They say “money talks”, and it’s true. Money speaks louder than the laws passed. Here are some examples of money being used in creating and enforcing laws:

  • There are lobbying groups paying millions to pass the laws they want
  • If a law doesn’t get enforced, federal funding gets cut off from the city/state that violates the law

Do you wonder why Donald Trump usually gets what he wants? It’s because — through all his faults — he knows money speaks louder than anything. He knows everyone has a price tag to them. So he imposes economic threats. He knows people will cave to that because people’s self-worth literally depends on the almighty dollar.

It’s a dangerous tactic, but it works. Trump knows that. That’s the leverage he has as leader of this so-called free world.

As a people, we need that same leverage. The economic leverage!

black white wealth unstripped voice

See that chart above? In 2016 Black wealth is more than 10x less than White wealth. Meaning there isn’t much leverage we have if we really want to get what we want.

(Yes, I know why the origins of this gap exist. And if you want to see why here’s a clip).

In my personal opinion, if we really want people to care about our plight, we must increase our economic leverage!

Increasing our leverage comes from increasing our wealth. You don’t have to be rich to know how to do this. I recently wrote a quick eBook that talks about how to pull it off, which you can get here.

I came to this “economic leverage” conclusion after creating the 2018 Maroon 5/Super Bowl Halftime show online petition in which I was heavily criticized for (although it got Jay-Z involved with the league). I personally felt that experience showed me that the next major step for real change and progress was an economic one, one that Coretta Scott King said Martin was killed over.

As long as people with money can economically hurt us if we took a stance, oppression will continue!

The way to break that oppression is to have economic leverage. That’s what lead me to the change to Unstripped Voice and the types of articles you will see from this day on.

So in short: In 2016 I wanted to show rare Black history videos to showcase the history they didn’t teach in schools…and in 2020 I want to show how we can gain economic leverage so people can really care about us.

It’s as simple as that.

 

Final Words and Resources

If you made it this far, then thank you! I just wanted to show you where we are today with Unstripped Voice and my views on where we are at today in society.

Taking a more “positive” turn on our social posts won’t be easy, but in time it will be the best thing for us.

If you’re still on the journey with us, then thank you, and let’s move forward to a better future where people will actually care about us — while taking care of ourselves!

I’ll be active on my new blog The Mo’ Better Life, which you can view here. Here’s our Facebook page.

And here are some eBooks I wrote, and check the banner in the headline when you click there for a special discount!

Thank you for reading.

– Vic

Founder of Unstripped Voice

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