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World Wind: Taking the Bay Area by Storm

NCM Profile

NCM, Brahmani Houston Posted: Aug 25, 2004

World WindWorld Wind International Black Newspaper, described by its publisher as a young, revolutionary black newspaper, may not yet have the notoriety of the revolutionaries that came before it in the neighboring city of Berkeley, but this Oakland-based paper is finding its own way to educate people.

Were making a change in the community in our own defense, says J.R. Valery, publisher of the new black youth tabloid. Were fighting against police terrorism, community economics, mis-education or no education, he says. We have a community responsibility.

Valery and the rest of the staffnumbering 12 full-time or regularly contributing writersare talking about more than just the ills of their community. They are also celebrating the culture, by regularly publishing articles on local rappers and designers, neighborhood events and local venues.

They try to run stories about local talent next to articles about artists that have made it to give a sense of worth to the youth in the community.

We are all neighborhood people, known and unknown, says Valery. It builds self-confidence if theyre on the same page as someone promoted by Hollywood. The only difference between them and the folks promoted by Hollywood is money.

World Wind is also grooming a corps of young writers culled from high school English classrooms throughout Oakland, California, where the paper is based.

Valery believes World Wind is giving young people an education while providing an outlet for self-expression. They may not want to be a writer but they have to be able to say what they want to say.

The new kid on the block, World Wind is the fifth black publication in the Bay Area, and the only one focused on youth. The competition is the white corporate newspapers, not another small struggling black paper, Valery says.

Aptly demonstrated by the presence of 19-year-old Apollonia Jordan, the World Wind news editor who doubles as arts and entertainment editor for the San Francisco Bay View.

World Winds focus on youth does cover a niche of the market not reached by the other black publications in the Bay Area. The editorial content is obviously different from more established papers like the Sun Reporter, which has been around for more 60 years and caters to an older crowd.

As an example, buried on the seventh page of the latest issue is a full-page article by the internationally known Mumia Abu-Jamal, death-row inmate, prolific writer and cause celebre to young activists nationwide.

The article is accompanied by a copy of a handwritten letter from Abu-Jamal to Valery along with shocking images broadcast on Al-Jazeera television of U.S. military troops raping an Iraqi woman.

The front page, on the other hand, has a photo of local rappers staring down the camera. Why bury a story with national appeal written expressly for World Wind by a well-known author?

Our audience is young black people, explains Valery. We go to where the people are at and then take them where we want them to go. And Valery isnt necessarily looking for an audience this is already exposed to the kind of messages Abu-Jamal is sending out.

Were not looking to speak to the choir, he says. We want to go straight to the center of the hood.

Contact World Wind International Black Newspaper at theworldwindnews@yahoo.com or 510-395-2341.

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