Are African American photographers still considered a rarity?
Brent Lewis, a photojournalist based in Chicago, says in some places, yes.
"There are two stories I think that says a lot about the time we are in," Lewis told Suchitra Vijayan, who interviewed him for the Huffington Post.
"First, I was working for the Redeye, a new bar was opening in Chicago and I was sent to do some details shot. I walk in and introduce myself. The manager comes in, takes a nice long look at me and says, 'Oh I thought they were sending Brent.' I had to clarify and confirm that I was indeed Brent. These situations happen a lot. Even here, in Southern Ohio, lot of the time people are shocked when they see a African American Photographer.
"They see a black kid, then they see a black kid with a camera and finally they realize it is a black kid, with a camera working for a newspaper. When they see all three together they are shocked. 'You work for the (Chillicothe) Gazette' and then it is followed by 'oh, umm' and a surprised awkward 'yeah ! . . . "
The late entertainers Michael Jackson and Rick James made return visits to Planet Earth — specifically to media workplaces — for Halloween.
Gregory H. Lee Jr., executive sports editor at the South Florida SunSentinel and immediate past president of the National Association of Black Journalists, dressed up as Jackson.
"The newsroom enjoyed it... there were jokes....but they just thought it was cool even management can have fun," Lee told Journal-isms by email.
Michael Jack, president and general manager of WNBC-TV in New York, impersonated James. According to the New York Post, "some people didn’t recognize him as Rick James and thought he was a pimp,' an insider said. 'Some women in the office were upset.'"
But Dawn Rowan, a spokeswoman for the station who was at the office party, told Journal-isms, "To my knowledge, everybody had a good time."