From pop culture and politics to the personal, Danielle Belton's The Black Snob covers a lot of ground. During a recent week, Belton weighed in on everything from Mormons comparing themselves to Southern blacks during the civil rights movement, to the Michelle Obama Action figures. She didn't think much of either.
Writing with a distinct voice that allows her personality to shine through, Belton rarely leaves the readers wondering what she's really thinking.
"Big Sis sent me this story Friday and my head almost exploded from the sheer ignorance of it," she wrote about on the Louisiana judge who refused to marry an interracial couple.
Belton is equally up-front about her personal life, recounting her failed marriage, her forays into fashion and on being bipolar. Here is the former print reporter in her own words.
How would you describe your blog and when did it start?
The blog started in August of 2007, but then it was just a personal blog and not what it is today. I would describe what it is now as a political, pop cultural blog with a satirical tilt. It can be serious, but most of the time I like to poke fun at the day's news and find a lighter way of dealing with heavy issues.
Can you tell us about the name?
The name started out as a joke-meets-a-message. The idea was that I am an intellectual snob who was shunning, i.e. poo poo-ing, some of the less savory aspects of black culture, and endorsing the more artistic and high cultural side. In reality, I'm not much of a snob, nor I have I ever been, but the name is very catchy and memorable, which was another reason why I chose it.
**Who is your audience? **
My audience is primarily African American, mostly female, but [there's]a significant portion of men. The men don't always comment even though they make up more than 40 percent of the readership. I also have a significant white and conservative readership, despite the fact that the blog has a Liberal slant. I'd like to think that's because I don't engage in demagoguery, so they feel safe in commenting on the site.
What is your goal?
My goal is to continue to grow the site until it becomes a blogging-meets-news-meets-social networking hub for like-minded individuals, aka, "snobs" of all types. I'd like to bring on more writers and editors and really create a full service news site with a strong, seriously funny slant.
What are you proudest of?
I most proudest of how far the blog has come, from a little blogspot site to what it is today, and what it's potential could be. I'm still amazed that people are drawn to it, and that it resonates so well in the web community as well as in the media. I'm very humbled by how fast I've grown.
You started out working in newspapers, do you still consider yourself a journalist?
I do. I feel that as long as I work in some form of the media I'm still a journalist and must adhere to journalism ethics. I think that is another thing that makes my blog a tad different. There is some element of quality control and news judgment that goes on. I don't post a lot of rumor and hearsay, I try to get even basic gossip sourced somehow. It's important to have standards.
How do you get your news?
I read a lot of blogs, newspapers and magazines and I watch a lot of television news. I'm a voracious consumer of news. I love it. I've watched 60 Minutes almost every Sunday of my life since I was about nine years old.
Any thoughts on the future of news?
I feel that things are change very rapidly right now, and it's been a tough adjustment for newspapers. People can get the news at such instantaneous speeds that stories break and die before people can even get the chance to fully understand them. I think traditional media will eventually make the adjustment to this, but I'm still concerned how newspapers, regional and national, will be able to make money when a majority of people online believe news should be free.
What blogs do you read?
I read Salon.com, Slate.com, Huffington Post, Gawker, "Wonkette"http://wonkette.com/, Jezebel, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jack and Jill Politics, AverageBro, Se7enMagazine, Awesomely Luvvie"www.awesomelyluvvie.com/, Politico, Racialicious, Angry Asian Man, TPMMuckracker, Crooks and Liars, The Negro Intellectual, What About Our Daughters, What Would Thembi Do, Michelle Obama Watch, and many, many more. I could go on forever.
What do you think about the power of the black blogosphere?
I think through groups like Afrosphere and gatherings like "Blogging While Brown": http://www.bloggingwhilebrown.com/ show the ability of the black blogosphere and its potential. There are just so many great writers doing amazing things who have organized amazing things... like Gina McCaul of What About Our Daughters, who spoke out on the Dunbar Village case and called leaders to task when they came out in support of the perpetrators, but not the woman and child who were attacked and brutalized. There is a strong activism streak among many black bloggers on everything from anti-tasering campaigns to campaigns to improve (or marginalize) BET.
It's really very exciting and fascinating. People underestimate the power of black bloggers, but they're on the come-up and they've made things happen. The Jena 6 was almost exclusively something that was pushed by black bloggers and black radio before it made it to the mainstream. It's really rather incredible what people can do with a little internet real estate and a voice.