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The Shade Room Founder Angelica Nwandu Discusses Navigating Criticism.

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The Shade Room Founder Angelica Nwandu Discusses Navigating Criticism And Hyper-Scrutiny While Running A Global Media Company

In the present society, information has changed into a highly-coveted commodity. Social media has become among the world’s primary sources of news. A 2022 Statista study unearthed that 45% of U.S. survey respondents aged 18-34 used social media marketing as their source of daily information. In 2014, Angelica “Angie” Nwandu identified how to show society’s lust for sensational, salacious, and scandalous information into an international behemoth. Nwandu could be the creator of The Shade Room—a media company that has transformed what sort of world consumes information.

Janice Gassam Asare: So, Angie, you’re creating what has changed into a social phenomenon. The Shade Room is still among Instagram’s most popular platforms, boasting 26 million followers. What does it feel like to understand that you launched such an impactful platform? And is this all that you envisioned when you created the platform?

Angelica “Angie” Nwandu: When I started The Shade Room, it was just a side hustle. I pursued screenwriting and thought, ‘I’m going to have 100,000 followers.’ Which was my goal. I will use that to develop only a little site; I had no idea it would become this. I never expected it to be this way.

Asare: The Shade Room has become the premier place for Black celebrity news and just news in general. You’ve created a platform that rivals the most popular media platforms. At the same time…plenty of people criticize The Shade Room simply because they say it amplifies stereotypes about Black people. Do you feel The Shade Room is causing negative stereotypes about the Black community or amplifying what already exists?

Nwandu: I genuinely believe that what we’re is a reflection. We’re a reflection of Black culture and the Black community in several ways. And we highlight both pessimistic and optimism because that’s precisely the truth. There are a few negative aspects and a few good points to culture.

We spark conversations. When you can spark a conversation about something, it’s progress. We’ve seen people like, ‘I don’t want to do this because I don’t desire to end on The Shade Room.’ People are starting to state, ‘how am I behaving? What am I saying?’ There’s more intention. I think it’s a reflection.

Asare: Would you ever feel you have a responsibility as a Black woman not to create specific stories? Would you ever have those moments where you’re like, ‘I realize that this is breaking news, but for whatever reason, we just feel just like, morally, this isn’t a thing that we want to create?’

Nwandu: All of the time. There’re so many exclusives we could have had. You can find so many stories that people could have put out. For me, it’s an everyday struggle because I first enjoy the Black community…but I also feel the responsibility and the weight of it all…I’m constantly getting criticized about our reporting. I think of it. I do believe that’s what makes it hard. I spoke with another head of a media company, and I said, ‘Isn’t this hard?’ And they were like, ‘No, it’s easy.’ I went home with that and said, ‘Well, wait.

Asare: You are feeling the weight of everything on your shoulders because you’re the creator. People know you by name, and anything posted is a reflection of The Shade Room, but it also may return on you.

Nwandu: And also, I think like being…and I hate to pull this card, but it’s the truth. Like being a Black woman owner, I think people expect much more. They desire us to be concerned in social justice…I accept that responsibility, but we aren’t held to the same standards as such as TMZ, where they don’t care if you are a social justice warrior or not or if you’re amplifying protests…each of that’s not attributed to them.

Asare: bell hooks has this quote that I love where she says, ‘what we cannot imagine cannot come right into being.’ It’s been eight years since The Shade Room was birthed from your mind. What would you envision for the following five years when it comes to The Shade Room, and where would you like the platform to go?

Nwandu: We’ve dipped our feet into production…we want to keep completing more programming…the main thing is that we want to continue maneuvering the needle and be more contained in the news. Black media was always on the outskirts of major news events. If someone died inside our community at the hands of police brutality, we wouldn’t be at the forefront. We wouldn’t be the very first there. We wouldn’t be able to tell the story from any perspective apart from what is given to us by white media.

Asare: The past question that I’ve is about you. What does Angie have going on? When we talk about you, we talk about The Shade Room, but you have a life beyond The Shade Room. You’ve things you enjoy and projects that you’re probably working on. Nwandu: Yes. Well, I’m an author at heart. My original dream since I was six was to have an Oscar or even a Grammy and an Emmy…I really could write music. I really could write scripts. I really could write shows. All of this form of stuff. And so that’s been my dream. And when I began The Shade Room, I was writing a script that went along with Sundance. So that’s been my passion.

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