Black Blogger Month: What About Our Daughters, Ladies First

Concerned with the image of Black women in the media Gina McCauley stepped up and did something about it

Gina McCauley, founder of What About Our Daughters and the Blogging While Brown conference

Oprah has a way of inspiring people to find their greatness. In 2007, Don Imus’ negative comments about the Rutgers’ women basketball team turned the spotlight on how women of color are depicted in mainstream media. The outrage and dialogue around that on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show inspired Gina McCauley, 36, to do something about it. “I was convicted in that moment and launched What About Our Daughters with the narrow mission of getting Black women to defund foolishness,” she says. Now, five years later, McCauley’s site receives an estimated 60,000 views a month and continues to fearlessly confront negative images of Black women and the companies that support them, either directly or indirectly, such as Ford, whose spokesperson Kevin Hart has been under fire for comments made about dark skin Black women.

Based in Austin, TX, McCauley has geared her career towards blogging and the digital space. She is the co-founder of Blogging While Brown (June 1-2, 2012), an annual conference in its fifth year and serves as a godmother of sorts to dozens of new bloggers building their presence online. Among her many accomplishments, she’s been named 25 Most Influential African Americans of 2007 by Essence Magazine, made The Root’s 2010 list of emerging and established leaders in the African-American community and won Blog of the Year at the 2002 Black Weblog Awards. Now, McCauley adds a Black Blogger Month honor to the list.

I did not start blogging…

To earn money. I started blogging in an act of righteous indignation. I quite frankly have always been suspicious about “branding” when it comes to online activism. I think that makes perfect sense if you are selling a product, good or service. The truth is whether you like it or not, you have an online “brand.” There are things people associate with the name of your online platforms whether you like it or not. Whatever you call it, you make a promise to your regular visitors that when they visit your platform, they are going to get something in particular.

The biggest lesson I learned about branding in the digital space is…

That I may blog for one reason, but people may read for another, and that’s okay. Also, I’ve launched several online platforms that are completely unrelated because one site can’t always be all things to all people and due to the low cost of startup, there really is no reason not to give your varied interests their own identities and communities.

The best piece of business advice I ever got was…

From a venture capitalist at the 2011 BlogHer BET conference in Silicon Valley. She looked me straight in the eye and said I needed a cofounder. She said I needed a business development person and that I could remain the chief evangelist. She said that if I didn’t get help, I’d be burnt out in a year. She was right. I was burnt out six months later. And that’s when I was completely open to handing off the reigns of Blogging While Brown, a conference I founded, to someone else. Blogging can be a solitary exercise. In business, it doesn’t hurt to have a second set of eyes and a different perspective and someone who isn’t so in love with that baby you built that they can’t see its flaws and its needs.

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