Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. Let's jump right into it....
This week is the week that the world begins to take authors more seriously. I am starting a revolution because I am tired. Before I tell you why I am tired, let me first say I have had an amazing first year as an author. I even held an “Authorversary” celebration and some of my good friends came out and celebrated with me. However after being an author for over one year now, I have noticed authors are not given the same opportunities that other talents are given for exposure as a whole. Here are my four examples and I'll let you make your own opinions:
1. Dancing with the Stars- Of all the celebrities that have appeared on the show, how many authors can you name? I do not mean celebrities that were already famous from something else and happen to write a book. I mean just full-fledged authors. How many can you name? Exactly my point…
2. BET Awards- You can win an award for being a black musician, a video director, an athlete, or an actor/ actress but you can't win for being the best author. It's unfair that books are a form of entertainment in the black community that goes unrecognized on television platforms. We deserve the opportunity to at least compete. Life owes you nothing but at least allow us to compete...
3. Representation in movies, shows and music videos- Many athletes have made guest appearances in music videos. Many singers have starred in movies, sometimes they audition for main roles and sometimes it’s a cameo appearance. Many celebrities have sat ringside or escorted athletes to the ring for boxing/wrestling matches. However authors are rarely if ever featured in anything.
4. Award Shows- The Grammy, Oscars, Tonys ,Espys and Emmys are aired live to celebrate musicians , athletes, and actors but there are no award shows of the same caliber that celebrate strictly authors. Representation is everything!!!
How can we make reading fun for our kids if society has made the profession of being an author so boring and hidden? We get upset that so many of our kids (especially boys of color) want to be rappers or athletes. However, when you turn on the television or the radio, that’s all they are constantly hearing and/or seeing.
As a musician, you can sell out arenas. As an athlete, you can sell out stadiums. As an actor, you can sell out the theater. However as an author, the best you can shoot for is your book turning into a movie or television show. There is such an imbalance and it needs to change. We have to show our kids books can be interesting enough without it having to become a movie. I believe Harry Potter is a good enough book that still would capture fans, even if it never became a movie.
Before there were television and music videos, there were books. So I'm starting the hashtag #GiveAuthorsAChance to shed light on this situation. I urge you to get on board with this to show the media we as a society are interested in more. This is not meant to demean the work of actors, athletes, and musicians but to add authors to the conversation of a form of entertainment that matters as well. It is the same way #BlackLivesMatter is not an anti-white movement but instead a movement for the progression of African Americans. #GiveAuthorsAChance allows authors to be relevant again in our society.
Why is it that children can name five television shows or five singers but can't name five authors (at least at the same speed)? What about five professional dancers? Five professional painters/artists? Like I said, representation matters….
To show your support of this campaign, please sign the petition...
Moral of the story: There was once a time when arts was more than just pop culture but every form of fine art was celebrated. We have to get back to that so I'm asking for your help promoting the hashtag #GiveAuthorsAChance .
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.