Black artists are facing criticism for ignoring Black media members during the Grammy Awards on Sunday night. Jamaal Finkley, CEO of BlackTree TV, expressed his frustration in a YouTube video that shows Black artists walking past Black media.
Finkley said BlackTree has been covering the Grammys for 14 years and there are several problems that haven't changed, including the placement of Black media members.
"Usually we are all bundled near the end of the carpet," he said.
The journalist said there's also a problem with the publicists who represent the talent, as well as issues with the talents themselves who "make conscious efforts or lack of effort to take time to speak to the few Black-owned media."
"There's not more than four of five of us at most at any of these Grammys and they skip us religiously," the CEO said.
As he's recording the Black celebrities walking on the red carpet, Finkley tries to get the attention of rapper Gucci Mane.
"Hey, Gucci. Come on man, do it for the Black media," the reporter says as he fails to get more than a hand gesture from the rapper.
Turning his attention to Quavo, Finkley said: "Don't just do PEOPLE."
Again, the CEO was unable to get a Black artist's attention. A few minutes later, musician Questlove walks across the red carpet. The artist greeted the Black press for a second before he continued on his path, saying, "I have to run."
Before he ended the video, Finkley said there are many artists who acknowledge the Black press, but that there are also too many others who have failed to do so.
"The fact is gonna be the camera is gonna keep rolling while y'all walked by this year," he said. "And y'all are not gonna get on that Black righteousness and talk about how we need our own thing and our own stuff when y'all don't even take the time to stop for the Black-owned media."
According to IndieWire, Finkley faced another discrimination issue when he requested a chance to talk with the talent of Girls Trip before the movie came out in 2017. The CEO reportedly received an email from a Universal Pictures representative, saying “‘Girls Trip’ will be hard as we don’t have that many slots for AA.”
“I think it’s just an openly racist practice," the reporter told Indiewire. "The studio should invite me for my viewership, not because, ‘Oh, we have two slots for Black people.’”
According to ET Canada, other Black entertainment reporters said they have faced similar issues and they now have a name for their uncomfortable positions on the red carpet, calling it “The Rosa Parks section.”
“There could be a movie as Black or as urban-reaching as Soul Plane, but they would still only invite a handful of us," Jawn Murray, founder and editor-in-chief of Always A-List, told ET Canada. "There’d be these large groups of 30 and 40 white journalists, both from mainstream or large outlets, [and] some guy who was from a small town and wrote the film column.”
In May, Halle Berry made it a point to speak to two Black reporters after her publicist denied them an interview as the actress walked the red carpet for the John Wick 3 premiere.
“Well, I’m gonna make time for the media and I’m certainly going to make time for my Black brothers and sisters,” Berry said. “I’ve talked to all these other people, why not talk to him too? It wasn’t even a thought.”