Keneigha Clayton, winner of a 2019 Black Youth Achievement Award from The Objective
TUNDÈ BALOGUN PULLS NO PUNCHES. He says things a lot of people don’t like to hear. He uses words that shock. For Tundè, it is the only way to break through to confront—and defeat—the reality of anti-Black racism in Nova Scotia.
Tundè started The Objective News Agency to practice and encourage this “no excuses” approach. Here’s a sample from a post on The Objective Facebook page on how the NS schools are part of a “school-to-prison pipeline.”
“Our communities, our young people through the education system are being pimped. People may not like that terminology. I use that terminology because partents need to understand. Because right now we’re not understanding. So, to keep it simple, keep it real, that’s what’s happening.”
Controlling the narrative
Tundè, and fellow University of King’s College journalism graduate Sandra Hannebohm, founded The Objective to tell the stories of Black people and Black communities in ways the mainstream media in NS never do.
“I am a firm believer in people telling their own stories, people controlling their own narratives,” says Tundè.
Part of that control is his advice that Black folks should never take a selfie with a politician without the politician being “vetted”; without a “tangible” from the politician that will actually turn into something of real benefit to Black people.
Another part of The Objective approach is to never miss an opportunity to catch the truth of things. The Objective recently posted an impromptu interview shot on an iPhone. A team member simply bumped into Conservative Party wannabe leader Peter McKay and started asking questions. “This is how you vet a politician,” says Tundè, “no asking for selfies, just requesting tangibles for the Black community.”
Tundè starts every one of his Youtube videos with a shouted admonition “Why haven’t you learned any thing?” The items on The Objective offer, and encourage, a continuous critical analysis of politics, culture and particularly economics.
“I’m going to make this very simple and clear,” says Tundè, “if you are not talking about Black economics, you’re not talking about racism and white supremacy, and you’re not helping the Black community. Because nothing matters unless that kid can get a job, and that kid has capital to start a business, unless that kid has an opportunity to hire his own people.”
For The Objective Black culture begins at home. It’s everywhere and includes everything, from Black history, to basketball heroes, to the words you use to get down to the truth of things.
The agency created Black Youth Achievement Awards to show Black kids that they are valuable and full of possibility—as a direct counter to the way they are treated in school.
“There is just a lot of negativity,” says Tundè, “and a lot of these kids are very vulnerable. I wanted to show them how great they are—to acknowledge them for that. That’s why I did the award, to let these kids know that people are watching and care for them, and that their accomplishments are acknowledged and valued.”
Black history for The Objective is a lot more than Martin Luther King or Viola Desmond. A January 1 post, for example, recalled the January 1, 1804 revolutionary victory of slaves in Haiti.
Nothing but a trickbag
Another recent post warns how corporations will use Black cultural icons to win over Black folks.
Tundè writes: “By now, we’re sure all of you have seen the NFL inspire change video campaign. We told you when this first happened that the Jay Z/NFL deal was nothing more than a trickbag. Many of the responses were ‘Jay Z is playing chess’ or ‘We need a seat at the table’ and other excuses.
“It’s becoming more evident that this indeed was a total trickbag. When you get a seat at someone else’s table, it’s important to note that you have to eat what they serve.”
The Black activist Desmond Cole says “Canada insists on being surprised by its own racism.” We shouldn’t be. The Objective News Agency is one of the newest and strongest voices in Nova Scotia to tell us why—and what knowing the truth calls on us to do.
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