BLAC’s 20th Anniversary Throwback: Flashing Back to 2007

Celebrating BLAC's 20th anniversary and recalling what we and the culture were up to in 2007, plus replaying our sit-down with John Mason.

BLAC anniversary

Perhaps it was because of the rapid advancement of technology and the greater role that social media was starting to play in our lives, but it seems that in 2007, BLAC was all about getting back to the black basics. We touched on themes related to religion and spirituality (a lot), marriage and parenthood, morality and connecting to our roots. But, it wasn’t all so straight-laced and composed. We also took a gander at boating and clowns.

Still a Thing

Chene Park is now the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre and bike lanes are now liable to spark a heated debate, but these things featured in BLAC back in 2007 are still relevant today

Empowering young girls

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Homeopathic medicine

Spa days

Connecting to Africa

Getting enough sleep

Who’s Your Mammy?

On the heels of the release of Eddie Murphy’s Norbit, BLAC examined how Hollywood portrays black women, particularly the idea of “Mammy,” in our May issue. The caricature of the overweight, asexual – or hypersexual – and sassy black woman was certainly not new, but special in 2007 was that these racist and limited stereotypes were being perpetuated by black filmmakers – Murphy, Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence. Though we’ve gotten several more Madea movies in the years since, we’ve also seen an increase in authentic, realized representations of black women and of the black experience.

Radio Head

In our March cover story, BLAC caught up with John Mason as he prepared for the launch of Mason Radio, his then-new enterprise aimed at owning and syndicating his own morning radio show. In a full-circle move, the NBA stadium announcer who coined the catchphrase heard all ‘round the 2000s and beyond – DEE-troit BAS-ket-BALL! – was getting ready to return to his radio roots.

On being asked to call the 2007 All-Star game…

“What an honor, man. That’s like the biggest honor ever. The reason I’m so popular is because I’ve got Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Chris Webber. So that makes it a little different for me. It’s unbelievable because I’ve already done an NBA championship series twice, and got a ring once.”

On doubting himself as an arena announcer…

“I wanted to quit many, many times. I was like, ‘I’ve never been an arena announcer, I don’t have that big announcer’s voice, I don’t know nothin’ about this.’ I was out of my league. I got in trouble with the referees, everybody.”

On helping to create diversity within NBA arena announcing…

“When I started there was only one other African-American in Los Angeles. Now there are 18. Eighteen general managers made changes in their arenas because they wanted that kind of hype, that kind of flava in their buildings. All because the Pistons gave me an opportunity.”

On the significance of owning his own voice…

“The biggest thing, the historical point, is that virtually no radio announcer has ever owned his own airtime in a major market in morning drive. And if there was one, it wasn’t an African-American who’s done it. So it’s a unique opportunity, and to partner with WGPR to do it in Detroit was huge for us. If we never syndicate, or syndicate to a few stations and stop, the fact that we have the opportunity to own something at home, where we built our career, is amazing.”

On balancing fatherhood…

“It’s big, because my kids are watching me. They say, ‘Dad, you take us places, you do things with us. How are you going to be able to keep doing that?’ They’re watching me leave a successful job and try something (new). And that, as an African-American male, is huge. It’s huge to allow your children to see you take on a responsibility like this and go in another direction.”

In ’07

Apple’s first iPhone is released

Forest Whitaker takes home the Best Actor Oscar for The Last King of Scotland

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown divorce

Rihanna’s “Umbrella” spends seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100s

The U.S. economy entered a mortgage crisis that caused financial turmoil around the world

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