The Anti-Blackness of Showing Up Unprepared

Women of color journalists rarely get the opportunity to conduct such an interview, much less do the absolute least

Imani Bashir
ZORA
Published in
6 min readOct 10, 2019

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Credit: Angela Weiss/Getty Images

This article’s main purpose is a critique of the Vogue cover story about Rihanna, written by Abby Aguirre. And let’s be clear, I’m not a celebrity stan but a journalist who holds a degree in the field and many years and publications to back my experience. I am also a Black woman who is undoubtedly insulted that major publications continuously sidestep Black writers, as a whole.

II first learned of the cringe-worthy article by other Black women writers that I respect, Shanon Lee and Hunter Harris. I didn’t catch the buzz as quickly because I am based in China. I’m 12-hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and as a writer who constantly has to be prepared to send pitches, edit content, reply to emails and be on top of when publications are putting out calls for submissions, I was up at a quarter to 3 am. And if it helps set the tone, I am also the mother of a 2.5-year-old, so I am also often sleep-deprived and yet still prepared because I have to be AT ALL TIMES!

Firstly, let me overstate that as a Black person there is an unspoken requirement for us to do shit on a certain level that goes above and beyond the constant mediocrity that White people cuddle with under their covers at night. (See: Simone Biles, Beyonce, Serena Williams… you get the point.) In this business, it is even harder to break into writing for major publications, let alone get the opportunity to write cover stories and do it on a level that’s extremely mediocre.

Imagine the caucacity (Caucasian audacity) to not only be ill-prepared for an interview with one of the biggest celebrities/moguls/people in the world but then verbalize that to them.

In the article, Abby audaciously opens what is supposed to celebrate Rihanna as the titan that she is in the game with, “RIHANNA is ready. First she moved our interview from Thursday to Wednesday. Then from evening to afternoon. When I get word of this latest change, on a slick and humid August day in Los Angeles, I have just enough time…

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Imani Bashir
ZORA
Writer for

Writer & World Traveler IG & Twitter: @sheisimanib!