Doc Attends The Real News Network Grand Opening

Now let’s learn to be more politically correct here. Knowing that the majority of my audience are 20-something-years-olds, a lot of the people I carry a conversation with lack awareness for what’s really happening in the media. Just the other day, I asked one of my friends were they going to vote and they didn’t realize there was an election going on. Now that’s a problem. That exact incident weighed heavy on my mind at last night event as I attended The Real News Network’s studio grand opening.

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It was such a nice little shindig. Multiple people took part in the celebration and opening of the year old independent online news site in downtown Baltimore, MD.  From rappers, noteworthy guest speakers, poets and even a special appearance from actor/film director Danny Glover, we all came together on one night to recognize what’s really important while streaming our concerns to the rest of the world from the Real News Network website. We’re came together to show that we care about our community’s well being. Along with the extravagance of being blessed with the presence of some very important faces, we still participated in celebrating something that I love so much, hip-hop. It was a very good night.

I saw some familiar faces, too…

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As I attended the grand opening, I wrangled up a few important messages that caught my ear. The messages constantly being pushed at last night function by the keynote speakers were

  • “we should participate in what’s happening in our communities,”
  • “we should become the government that we want instead of bashing what we have,”
  • “we should always love who we are,” and
  • “we should work hard to become who we are and not let anyone stop us from doing what we love.”

With every speaker and performance, there was a sense of power that came with their presence; the kind of power that makes you want to leave from the event and create a masterpiece of your own. You can’t tell me I wasn’t ready to go write an opinion essay after I left out of there. My notebook gained 4 more pages worth of “scrap literature.” Praise be to the motivation!

I look forward to learning more about The Real News Network. It’s still pretty fresh to me. But when something is unfamiliar, I don’t hesitate to learn more about it. I’m thinking of a way to somehow volunteer my services for them. They’ve also mentioned the need for a lot of help from people in the community so you should find your place in getting involved with The Real News Network, as well.

Take a stand! The Real News Network will also be having their part 2 to their grand opening tonight. If you’re seeking to get involved sooner opposed to later, go check ‘em out! RSVP at the Real News Network’s event page on Facebook and follow the address below:

235 Holliday Street

Baltimore, MD 21202

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Have you attended any of the Beet Trip events? Read Beet Trip is the New Wave on Doc’s Castle Media.

Q & A with The Industry Blogger

The fourth addition to my Blogger’s Rundown is Malika Muhammad, founder of The Industry Blogger. I had a joyous time meeting this bright young woman. While taking the time to get to know her, I’ve learn how much drive she has to become a well renown journalist in the very near future. At our little meeting, we discussed her interest in writing a print based blog, her goals within the next 5 years, who’s her inspiration, and what local artists she supports in Baltimore. I also learned we share lots of common interest. I can’t tell you how cool it is to meet another person who shares that same passion as me. I get excited about it. Ha-Ha! Both of us are inspired journalist seeking to go far with our blogs. I know that if Malika keeps striving while doing what she does best, she’ll absolutely reach her dreams. I look forward to doing some collaboration with her in the future.

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Doc: Tell us the story behind your blog, The Industry Blogger?

Malika: So it all started last year, July of 2013. So I’m really new at this. I looked at the Baltimore scene and was like, “It’s so many talented people out here.” But nobody would know that because we all have this stereotype of Baltimore artists or people in Baltimore, period. I was like, “I’ma be the one who lets everybody know that we’re not just talking about weed or being in the hood.” I want people to know that we can actually play instruments and put together well-formed lyrics, something that’s with a message. I met a whole bunch of bloggers on the way. So I realized I wasn’t alone in this. After that, I was like, “Oh, man!” (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: But then I thought it was a great thing. I’ll just unite with them and we can bring Baltimore up together. It’s better to do it with a team anyway.

Doc: Alright, that’s cool. So where did you get your name from?

Malika: I did so much brainstorming. I thought of doing something simple because I was thinking about it too much because I had a cupcake business, too. So I was thinking of some names for that, also.

Doc: You still have that?

Malika: Umm, it’s like on the side. (Laughs)

Doc: (laughs)

Malika: If someone wants cupcakes, I’ll say, “I’ll make em for you,” but not really. (Laughs) But for the Industry Blogger, I was listening to Kendrick Lamar. You know the song where he’s like, “I’m effing the industry hard?” (Referring to Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe)

Doc: Yeah, I know what song you talking about.

Malika: I was listening to that. I just love that word. I like the word Industry. It’s powerful to me. Then I chose to name my blog Industry Blogger. When I put it together, I wanted it to happen fast. But I’ve been brainstorming for months before July for my blog. But I just needed a name so I decided the Industry Blogger and I would market myself with it. That’s how it came about.

Doc: Oh, wow. Would you consider your blog kind of like a print journalistic type of blog? Because I know of multiple blogs that have video or just post a song? What would you consider yours to be?

Malika:  I want to say it’s a mixture. But I mainly want it to be print journalism. I don’t want people to say that I’m just a blogger. I think people lose credibility being label as that because they may think they can blog about anything like they gossip. I don’t want to be labeled as a gossiper. I want everything I post to be truthful and honest. So I would say it is more print journalistic.

Doc: I agree with you. That’s how I want people to view my blog. A lot of people do think of bloggers as gossipers. Is there anyone that you draw inspiration from, like a famous reporter?

Malika: Yes, first it was Sherrie Johnson. She was on ABC2 News. She’s been promoted doing other things now. But that’s on a local basis. Karen Civil is another one. She’s like the main person I look up to. I’m always on her page. I just love her. I’m always on her Instagram or her website trying to see her next move. I’m not trying to mimic everything that she’s doing. I’m just really inspired by her because she meditates. She’s spiritual. She’s a woman. That’s why I want to be kind of different from her. I want to angle myself off her but not so much as people saying that’s another Karen Civil.

Doc: Right! She’s like a model to you. You want to do your own twist. Originality! So I read your blog about supporting Baltimore artist and I loved what you said about it. You know as far as people supporting people, and it inspired me to write a blog myself.

Malika: Oh really? Thank you. I’ll have to check that out. (Laughs)

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Doc: Yeah. (Laughs) You talked about artist that lacked originality and they’re always copying other people who are already in the Industry. Would you say that there’s at least five artists here you would support?

Malika: Yup. I definitely would say Chris Bivins. He’s from Howard County. I like Jayverse. I put him on my blog. Umm, Solution. He’s with Teamwage. He just went solo. Blizz. I don’t know. I have so many people. (Laughs) I like Gillateen and Lonnie Moore. I should have named him (Lonnie) after Solutions.

Doc: Oh! That’s good that you’ve named five. Are you open to collaborating with other bloggers in the DMV/Baltimore region?

Malika: I am. I didn’t think of that at first. Remember, I thought I was the only one because I didn’t see it at first. But of course, I must didn’t do enough research then. But I do. We can write together or umm…

Doc: Guest blog on each other’s posts.

Malika: Right! I would love to do that. I actually quoted something about that for people to submit articles to my page. If you’re smart, everyone knows that takes more work off of you.

Doc: Exactly! So do you know anybody in particular that you would want to write for? Any local blog sites?

Malika: Umm, the only two blogs that I’ve become really acquainted with is TruDat and Vivid Visions. So we can do something together. That would be cool. But I haven’t research many bloggers. I just had seen Ryan tweet bloggers. So that helped me a lot.

Doc: Yeah, I know! That helped me out, too.

Malika: (Laughs) I was like, “Okay, I’ll look at all of these.” But those two. If I could do all of them, I would. I think that’s the problem. We need to keep supporting each other and stop being against each other.  At the end, we are all competitors. But still.

Doc: But still, it would help each other out.

Malika: We’ll all be getting our name out there.

Doc: Exactly! What would you like for your blog to be remembered as?

Malika: Hmm, that’s a great question. I just want people to see that for me I wanted to start at the base of hip-hop. I want people to know that it’s not just on the surface, where we’re just posting videos or links to music. I want people to get in deeper into it. I want them to experience what hip-hop actually is. I don’t want people to say that I’m just a blogger that blogs about music because I like it. You have to actually be hip-hop. You have to study it.

Doc: Like actually go to the events; support the people who you’re posting about.

Malika: Yeah, I definitely want to be seen as a person who supports local music, someone who’ll tell you the history of it on the spot. I just want to be known as someone who’s really in tuned with the culture all together.

Doc: So where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Malika: Awe man that question. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: Five years from now, I would still want to do this blog. I want it to be bigger than what it is now. I want it to lead to bigger opportunities. So if that means leading to being a personality on TV or radio, and I’ve actually tried radio before…

Doc: Did you like it?

Malika: It was okay. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: I would say I like TV better. People think that’s odd. But I like TV better. I would like to do radio, TV, and writing in the future. I want to be a person who’s multifaceted. I want to do a little bit of everything. I want my own business. In five years, I don’t want to be working for anyone but myself. I’m just putting that out there.

Doc: Okay, I get you. So do you take submissions from hip-hop artist?

Malika: Yes, I do. That’s how I get most of my content. I’ll post my email on one of my social media sites or I have them submit on my submissions page on my actual blog. I’ll take anything, mixtapes, songs, if you want a bio written. I do it. Some people even text me because I put my number out there all the time or some will email me. All of that is on my blog.

Doc: But you prefer people to submit on your form on the site?

Malika: Yes, because it’s much easier. It’s better organized.

Doc: So they’ll just go to your website and they’ll submit.

Malika: Yup.

Doc: Okay, that’s it. That was the last question. Thank you for being a part of this.

Malika: Thank you.

To read articles by Malika Muhammad, visit her blog site at theindustryblogger.com.

Baltimore Is Too “Cliqued” Up To Have Supporters

“If we create a group of strong individuals who’ll support each other, then we’ll create a power house of people that will exceed all expectations. We’ll change this city for the better,” says every person who forms a group full of talented people, expecting it’ll change the turn out of their shows. Womp Womp!

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Too many people have this philosophy but in Baltimore it does not work. Content is key. Content is what brings people to an artist’s show! When was the last time you’ve decided to go to Kanye show because he had a power group with him there? The Jay-Z and Kanye power house was damn near three years ago. He’s currently standing alone. People go because of the content of his show.

I recently read an article from Baltimore Blogger Malika Muhummad titled “Why Baltimore Artist Can’t Make A Deal.” Malika talks of how many Baltimore artist lack originality. Why strive to be the next Lil Wayne when artists should be working to make a name for themselves? They should be striving to be unique. She also talks of how people should seek opportunities in the city that allows them to give support. There are multiple open mic events that happen throughout the city all days of the week. There are very few supporters of these events. She goes on to name a few examples. I’ve actually been to a number of 5 Seasons open mic nights, which is one of the example that she gives, and the crowd was dry each time I went, meaning there could have been more people there but it wasn’t. Majority of the crowd were artists waiting for their opportunity to have their shine on the stage.

What I see in Baltimore is a sign of doubt from the people artists hope would support them. Listeners in Baltimore doubt if an artist will bring what they enjoy so they stick to what they know. What they know is what they hear everyday, 24/7, on mainstream media. If a person was to listen to 92Q for the entire day, they’d hear the same 10-15 songs, minus the 12 O’Clock Rewind and the occasional rap songs they play on Rap Attack. Do people ever get tired of that?

When it comes to the individuals who claim they don’t listen to the radio or mainstream music, they continue to support people who have a larger followership than the artists from their hometown. Those artists are clearly closer to mainstream radio than ever. Take the Weeknd, four years ago we would have never heard him being played on the radio. Since Drake featured him on “The Crew,” the Weeknd’s spotlight has been heightened. We hear of him more because of the major support people had for him after that song, seeking his music wherever they could find it and going to his shows. Baltimore artists could have the same happen for them if their supporters became educated listeners. If they’d realized how supporting good content produced here can make talented people from Baltimore be heard on the radio, it’d be a greater selection of music to listen to.

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But how I see it is it all begins with the content creators and their attitudes towards this city. Baltimore artists need an opportunity to come together in support of each other first. They need to realize they’re all thinking the same. They must show each other that the outcome doesn’t always have to be the same way. If your purpose is to create a city who supports each other, live by it. Building a crew that supports only the people in that crew, shows selective treatment for that group, not for the city. That clique way of thinking will not work for Baltimore. It may work for other places but not with the unique listeners of this city. It’s better if we seek opportunities to help one another because on-lookers will see what we’re doing and want to be apart of it.

This is a message for every artist for all genres to hear. We must seek out those who deserve support and help them because it’s the only way to gain what this city needs; Artist for artist, blogger for blogger, or poet for poet. Then it should turn into blogger for artist, artist for poet, and poet for blogger. Etc., Etc.. Each time a creator finds someone making a difference in this city, they’ll feel enlightened to be apart of it and that exact feeling will bring in more supporters and a bigger audience for everyone. It won’t be easy, but nothing is that’s worth trying.

With everything being said, let’s stop this clique mess and build upon a new Baltimore city.

To read Malika’s “Why Baltimore Artist Can’t Make A Deal,” click here. To hear great music from Baltimore artist, check out Vivid Visions or AmirahRashidah. Both blog sites take submissions.

If you’re looking to be a music highlight on Doc’s Castle Media, send me stuff. Let’s change the city for the better.