My final day with G/O Media is on Monday (yes, the first day of Prime Day) and I will say the year and a half I’ve been an Editor and Editorial Lead for The Inventory and Kinja Deals has been an absolute ride. And that’s putting it mildly. I won’t discuss the inner workings of a full-time position that requires you to recommend decent products to the public, but it was indeed a culture shock coming from a viral site like BuzzFeed who knew enough to moderate comments so writers and content creators wouldn’t have to.
I was originally hired to increase the caliber of beauty and lifestyle content at The Inventory as well as mentor a multitude of extremely talented freelancers who worked the same beat. But, like everyone and their mother in 2020, I was forced to adjust to an economy that either panic-splurged on shit they didn’t need (remember the toilet paper shortage?) or smartly saved for the multitude of rainy days to come. With a global pandemic of ghastly proportions taking place barely a month after I started, it made every (rightfully) tense and sensitive of any and everything being published–from breaking news to service journalism.
But I adjusted. I pitched and wrote a couple of things that I thought would resonate with y’all, then quickly found out I was coddled when it came to online harassment. Sure, I’ve heard of the horror stories my fellow Black journalists have got from basically everyone. I just (wrongly) assumed since my beat was beauty product reviews and recommendations I wouldn’t be the source of that chaos. Like many times in my life, I was proven wrong.
To keep it a buck (or two Virgils)—over the last year and a half, I’ve had to deal with y’all trying to discredit my recommendations by saying I was “stupid”, “not smart,” and “overtly privileged.” None of which made a lick of sense. I’m not saying a college education is the end-all-be-all for intelligence, but there was a real lack of discrediting when it came to my male and mostly white colleagues. Interesting! Oh, and if I pointed it out or checked any of you for talking way out your mouths with that bullshit, I was labeled “difficult” or “aggressive” and suddenly the debate on 30% off a concealer from Fenty Beauty wasn’t that important.
Then when the fake-ass “racial reckoning” happened literally a year ago, it didn’t really stop? Making me think that you lot are truly unhinged, but not in the good way where you wind up taking a chance by doing something different with a friend and now have stories about your adventure. It was more of the “I know they fucking lying” kind of audacity that can only be found in people who aren’t actually marginalized. Crazy, I know.
I want to be extremely clear, I’m so thankful for G/O Media for giving me an opportunity to really show them what I was worth and to give y’all some content that was well thought out amongst the less-flattering processes that I had to deal with within the company—which I’m sure isn’t too unfamiliar for a lot of you. But, like all Black women, I pressed on because what other choice did I have?! I decided to just block some of y’all for inane comments and other times I had to bring that heat I learned on the streets of Tumblr and LiveJournal.
Some of you called me “colored” and the N-word in April and May of 2020. I’m surprised I didn’t find out where you lived and handled it the Brooklyn way—in your face. As a Leo raised by an Aries mother and Scorpio father, I choose violence on the daily, but there’s something about being called a racial slur that makes you go all Hulk and think about the consequences later. My ancestors and I would’ve been about that action. Trust. For the readers and commenters who got into spats with me–no, I’m not sorry for it–you fucked around and found out.
Despite it all, I went into Prime Day 2020 (and every day before and after) with an optimistic view and it went well! I came to realize that the audience is simply critical of choices presented to them and as consumers you absolutely should be! As a result, I also noticed that after putting up boundaries on what you could and could not comment about me while expressing that commendable critical eye helped a bunch.
After September, I noticed most of y’all are calm cucumbers just trying to make sure your dollar goes as far as you need it to. That’s respectable. Some of y’all continued to fuck around and in the end, you did find out. It’s okay, it’s a learning process. A journey, if you will.
Despite the unforgivable parts of this experience, there have been multiple articles that I’m so damn proud of publishing during my time here. One being a 1,200-word review on a black-owned, plant-based natural hair care brand, a foldable treadmill review, and even playing with different formats in which I kind of dragged Animal Crossing at the beginning of the pandemic. Hell, even the last long-form interview I conducted with a leather jacket company! I’m so exultant of the work I’ve done here and am grateful to have met a host of colleagues that have transformed into dear friends. Yes, those are white men I was talking about earlier–they helped field all the BS for me and continued to tell me how much they valued me and my work despite the outside noise. To Gabe and Jordan, Giovanni and Andrew, as well as Sheilah, Liz, and Juliana–thank you. It’s been a privilege to work with you. You too, Joe.
Haters would say The New York Times isn’t a great place to land, but that’s exactly where I’m headed starting in July. It’ll be a fresh and fun challenge to manage a team of extremely talented service journalists at Wirecutter from the comfort of my couch. So I guess in the end? I got the last laugh.
See what I did there? Fucked around and found out.