Watch: Artists Ignore Black and Brown Reporters on Grammys Red Carpet

It’s a situation journalists from Black-owned media outlets often discuss behind closed doors — being relegated to the Siberia of the red carpet and ignored by stars. Now there’s video.

Jamaal Finkley, founder of online entertainment outlet BlackTree TV, posted a video on YouTube of his experience last weekend on the Grammy Awards red carpet. Finkley captioned the nearly six-minute video “Black Media at the Grammys, The Struggle Is Real.”

The footage shows journalists of color from smaller, independent media outlets pleading for interviews as artists including H.E.R., Gucci Mane, and Quavo breeze past them.

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At one point, a Spanish-speaking reporter repeatedly asks Rosalía for an interview. A rep insists the Spanish singer-songwriter doesn’t have time. Although she does stop in front of the cameras as her team styles her hair and puts finishing touches on her makeup.

Seconds later, Finkley asks Questlove for an interview. The Roots frontman walks up and shakes his hand, but says: “I have to run.”

Finkley told Urban Hollywood 411 he made the video to show the challenges journalists of color, particularly members of the Black press, face on red carpet arrivals lines.

“Over the past few years, the pendulum has changed a bit,” he said. “The challenges that all media face in getting major talent is still there, but the connection between Black talent and Black media has eroded. Instead of the ones that would often give us a shot because we were one of the few, now they seem to intentionally avoid us.”

Finkley has been covering red carpets for over two decades, and was credentialed this month for all of the big Hollywood events.

“I’m just wrapping up a January that had the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, Oscar nominations, SAG Awards, AAFCA Awards, DGA and GRAMMYs,” he explained. “I’ve had to spend money each time on cameramen, tuxedos, equipment, all for the opportunity to interview these nominees or presenters in hopes that I can monetize that interview through streaming and or licensing, and I’ve watched multiple stars act like we didn’t exist.”

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Finkley did get interviews at the Grammys with Kirk Franklin, Sheila E., ballet dancer Misty Copeland, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and others. But many of the African American performers he hoped to speak with refused to stop.

He said it’s happened throughout this awards season.

“Jamie Foxx kept his back to us at the SAG Awards while we yelled out to him, J.Lo never stopped, Sterling K. Brown, the list goes on,” he explained. “But Nicole Kidman almost always stopped for a second. Laura Dern stopped a few times. Charlize Theron stopped twice, so it just makes me wonder why our own stars are so comfortable skipping us.”

Urban Hollywood 411 has written about this issue before. In our previous report, Lee Bailey who founded the Electronic Urban Report (EURweb), said part of the problem is Hollywood executives and publicists don’t value the Black press.

“As urban press, we’re pretty much relegated to the ghetto of red carpets, which means literally at the end of the line,” Bailey explained. “When we don’t get the access to the big stars, we don’t get as many clicks.”

As for Finkley, he said he decided to speak out because he’s fed up.

“How does Black media survive when Black talent disrespects our presence? By the time I was on this carpet watching Rick Ross purposely skip Ebony, AllHipHop and BlackTree, but stop at People and Vulture, I was done with it,” he said. “I just told the cameraman to keep the camera rolling. If I can’t talk to them about financial empowerment and the state of the culture, then the story would be their disrespect of the media that built them up.”

3 thoughts on “Watch: Artists Ignore Black and Brown Reporters on Grammys Red Carpet

  1. Ummm it looks like some went to him but did he expect everyone to just go to him…just like it’s business so it’s business for them. Everything have to be about race really

    1. Ummm… I’m pretty sure he did mention that, specifically him saying the “clean edit” version so maybe you should pay better attention.

  2. Funny how he shouted for everyone else one to come to him. But BLACK lil nas x walks by and you silent HAAAAA.

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