MY NIA LONG INTERVIEW
Last year, a friend of mine gave me tickets to a fashion show at Bryant Park's Fashion Week. I've never been one that was into fashion, but I wanted to see what the hooplah was all about, so I took the tickets. Boy was I happy I did! There was so much excitement in the tents, but also so many wannabes (which is what usually keeps me away from that world.) I got to the show & found out that I was FRONT ROW. For those of you that don't know, front row is usually reserved for big deals. & boy did I feel like one!
I sat & patiently waited for the show to start and noticed a few famous reality show faces in the crowd. Of course people were asking for autographs and pictures with the reality stars. I didn't make any moves to do that, until Nia Long walked in & sat directly across from me. As a journalist, I get to meet celebrities all the time, interview them, connect with them--so I try my best to remain unphased--or at least try not to be starstruck.
That's a hard task to do when you've loved someone from afar for YEARS. I have been a fan of Nia's since she was on Guiding Light. Love Jones is also my favorite movie of all time! So, I sat there and composed myself, waiting for an opening in the limitless requests for pictures with her and autographs. Then, there was one. I walked over to her, introduced myself & told her that I work for Honey & that I wanted to include her in Honey's relaunch. (At that time, Honey was working hard a recreating their presence). Nia was a Honey covergirl back in the day before Honey folded, so I knew she would be excited about being a part of the new & improved Honey.
I was right. She gave me her publicist's info, we shook hands again & that was that. It took some time to get the interview, but once I did--Nia reached out to me personally. (Which means I have her phone number--you couldn't have told a 14 year old Danielle that she would one day chop it up with her favorite actress or even possess her number!) We conducted the interview over a couple of days and built up a bit of a repore. She's so refreshing.
Well, I then gave the finished product to Honey & they let it collect dust on the shelf, printing stories on Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz & whoever else they decided was better than Nia Long. An entire year later, (the present) Nia starts getting recognition for her role in Chris Rock's "Good Hair" & I notice that she is on ESSENCE'S November cover. I tweet about it and inquire in a sarcastic way if Honey';s going to use the interview I did on Nia.
The very next day, I get an email from the features editor, saying they want to print the story & need to me resend. I kindly oblige because that's what I was waiting on, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't the least bit peeved about it. Even though I have been there from the beginning of Honey's relaunch (helping them with focus groups, meetings, whatever they needed), I feel like they treat me like just another writer. And that, I am not. I bring them stories, featuring A-listers and I support them like you wouldn't believe. You would think that they'd give me some recognition or at least a position at the magazine.
Then, on twitter, I noticed that TheYBF.com was featuring my interview on their site. I got no individual credit, (not even a shoutout on Twitter) however when you clicked on the link for the interview & it took you to Honey's site, my name is there. I guess I should be grateful for that?
I am all about paying my dues, but I believe I have at this point. How do you know when it's time to move on? How do you know you're being used in a freelance situation, rather that utilized? Should I just suck it up & be gratfeul that I am a working journalist with incredible clips?