St. Louis rapper Tef Poe has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists for his work with RFT Music in this year's round of awards. The NAJB, which is celebrating its 40th year, was founded by a group of 44 men and women in December of 1972, and is based in Washington, D.C.
Tef Poe, whose birth name is Kareen Jackson, started writing a regular column for RFT Music in May 2012. He has used it as a platform to discuss racial and social issues in St. Louis and America, in addition to music-focused coverage.
His "Ten Disturbingly Racist Things About St. Louis" article from December of 2013 is one of RFT Music's most-read (and, interestingly, most divisive) articles of all time. His "Paula Deen Should Probably Just Own It" article, written at the height of the Food Network star's race-related controversy, landed him on local news networks owing to his unique and insightful perspective on the subject. Most recently, his thoughts on the unrest in Ferguson -- where he lived as a boy -- carried powerful weight from a young leader on the front lines of what he referred to as "The Mike Brown Rebellion."
The National Association of Black Journalists -- which, it should be noted, does not exclusively hand out awards to people of color -- is committed to the following seven tenants, outlined on its website:
-Strengthening ties among black journalists;
-Sensitizing all media to the importance of fairness in the workplace for black journalists;
-Expanding job opportunities and recruiting activities for veteran, young and aspiring black journalists, while providing continued professional development and training;
-Increasing the number of black journalists in management positions and encouraging black journalists to become entrepreneurs;
-Fostering an exemplary group of professionals that honors excellence and outstanding achievements by black journalists, and outstanding achievement in the media industry as a whole, particularly when it comes to providing balanced coverage of the black community and society at large;
-Working with high schools and colleges to identify and encourage black students to become journalists, and to diversify faculties and related curriculum;
-Providing informational and training services to the general public.
Riverfront Times writers have repeatedly been recognized by the NABJ, including three wins just last year.
Tef Poe has been extremely active in the Ferguson and Mike Brown protests since the very first day of unrest, emerging as a young leader and source of information from the ground since the outset. Follow him on Twitter for frequent updates on that, and be sure to check out his music as well.
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