Journalist Roland Martin Highlights Black History Month event

On Feb. 7, Grambling State’s Favrot Student Union Board hosted a Black History event called “Fitting into the Country We Built” in the T. H. Harris Auditorium.
Roland S. Martin, an American journalist and former CNN contributor was the keynote speaker for the event. Martin’s speech centered around some of African Americans’ main problems in America, the lack of ownership and money. Martin specifically put an emphasis on the issue with the power structure in America.

“America loves us because they love us as consumers and not owners,” Martin said. “We would be around the block buying Jordan's while they were quietly buying Nike stock.”

Martin believes many issues and concerns in Black America overshadow money. He believes it is an underlying issue that goes under the radar behind others such as education, mass incarceration, and police brutality.

“We are in the position that we are in, because we are allowing other people to monetize black people to take our talent and our content to make money for themselves and build generational wealth for them,” he said.

Martin also talked about ways that Blacks and their talents are used for other’s monetary gains. He talked about TikTok, Spotify, Instagram, and many other platforms that get more shine than platforms such as Fan base.

“You should download Fanbase,” Martin said. “This is where you can create your own content and actually get paid for the content. That way, you are not begging TikTok and Instagram, where they want you to have a lot of followers to get paid.”

Martin also used multiple examples of money issues and power structure issues in his speech. Some examples included Martin Luther King and Luther Campbell.

In regard to “Uncle Luke,” he talked about how Campbell did not have the rights to his own music. This included music by 2 Live Crew, which was a hip-hop group with success from the late 1900s.

The event also included poems by GSU students Aaliyah Armstrong and Adrian Consonery Jr. Armstrong’s speech was filled with a lot of raw passion and emotion.

Armstrong, a sophomore mass communication major, says she created the piece for her brother that had passed. 

“I did this to shed a little light on the Black community, what Black on Black crime is and that it can be stopped,” Armstrong said.

Consonery, a senior mass communication major, says his poem was written for every black woman he has come in contact with. 

“I really wanted to make sure it was known that the struggle is seen,” Consonery said.

“You mean more than what the world gives. I know that a poem is only my words, but my actions are going to have to be what really shows it.”

The event also included other students like SGA Vice President Kelli Copes, FSUB President Kourtlin Williams, FSUB Co-Chair Taylor Shorter-Johnson, GSA President Karleisha A. Coleman, Miss Cover Girl Yimara McCartney Ross, Zachary J. Thomas, Nicholas Darby, Michael Ridgell, and members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.