Saaret Yoseph is a writer and Assistant Editor at TheRoot.com. She manages and blogs for \"Their Eyes Were Watching …\"
A Full House
Attendees arrive at The Root and Black Web 2.0's "Black in America 2" event. Young, black academics and professionals in the Washington area came out to Bus Boys and Poets to watch the program and participate in an interactive panel discussion about race.
Saaret E. Yoseph, assistant editor at The Root, encourages the crowd to critique the program.
After the screening, audience members discussed the program with a diverse panel of their peers. Panelists (from l to r) Henry Hunter, Nnenna Ozobia, Jonathan Pourzal, Sophia Nur and Kari Fulton.
The crowd tunes in to part two of CNN's "Black in America 2".
Interviewing the Audience
Grabbing the mic in between commercial breaks, many in attendance agreed that this year's program was more positive than last year's "Black in America".
One audience member shares her thoughts on how Africa was portrayed in the final segment of "Black in America 2". Why, she asked, is Africa always shown in a negative way?
A Word from Twitter
Erin Evans, The Root's copy editor, reported on viewer reactions to the program via Twitter. Some tweets concerning Tyler Perry knocked the director's appearance on the show, but event attendees were quick to defend him and his movies.
Taking a Stand
Audience members also tried to predict what future CNN segments on race and culture might look like. "Latino in America"? "Biege in America", perhaps?
The Distinguished Panel
Spirtuality in the black community was of major concern to panelist Jonathan Pourzal. Though, part two of "Black in America 2" discussed the influence of the church structure, he felt this was a narrow view of faith practices among African-Americans.
Comments from the Crowd
Some attendees were skeptical of the impact that one program could have, others applauded CNN's efforts.
Kari Fulton, an environmental justice activist and leader in the Youth Climate movement voices her perspective on the show and shares what she would like to see on "Black in America 3".
Women on the Issues
Panelist Sophia Nur listens as fellow panelist Kari Fulton discusses how "Black in America 2" missed the point. In her opinion, there should have been discussion on the influence black Americans have on climate change.
Speak Your Mind
Another member of the audience joins the discussion.
How much can you cover in one series? Many viewers expressed that there was only so much reporting that CNN could do. A two-hour segment, they agreed, would never be able to capture the black experience.
Panelist Henry Hunter, a graduate of Georgetown University's Law School and general counsel of a D.C. firm, suggested that CNN broaden their focus next time around. He also voiced doubts about who the target audience is for "Black in America". Do black people have anything to gain from watching the show?
Jelani Cobb, contributor to The Root, is interviewed by Saaret E. Yoseph about his experience as a panelist for CNN.
Jonathan Pourzal, a graduate of University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill and facilitator for the IKG Cultural Center.
Sophia A. Nelson
Contributor to The Root Sophia A. Nelson tells the crowd that Soledad O'Brien has joined the event via webcast.
On the Panel
Panelist Nnenna Ozobia, policy director for Latin America and the Caribbean at TransAfrica Forum.
Panelist Sophia Nur, a doctoral candidate in Communication and Culture at Howard University, shared hopes of hearing from the African diaspora in future segments. As a first generation American, she feels perspectives like her's were missed in the program. Being black in America, she asserted, is much more complicated than the simple story shown on CNN.