The #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge Is Back!

In 2017, I launched the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge. It was a 28-day blogging challenge focused on Black culture and experiences. You can go back and read all the posts from last year HERE.

The goal with the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge was to push myself to blog consistently and to express thoughts I’d been suppressing surrounding race that were keeping me bound and blocked as a writer. I enlisted the help of my BlogFFs Keirsten Greggs and Janine Truitt to help me put together the lineup and keep me accountable on follow-through.

I had no idea how it would change me — and others.  It opened new doors for dialogue and shed light in spaces that had been kept in the dark for a long time. And when the challenge ended, I immediately began getting questions about whether it would keep going and how to increase its impact.

So I am proud to bring the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge back for 2018.

This year’s challenge will have 2 aspects:

  1. #BlackBlogsMatter weekly challenge. This 15-week challenge has a weekly blog theme surrounding both Black culture and experience as well as broader topics of diversity, inclusion, micro-aggression, intersectionality and equality.  In each week, you can write 1 blog post or several within your thoughts on the theme.  Below is the graphic with the topics. 
  2. #BlackBlogsMatter microblog challenge.  This 28-day challenges is designed for Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and features a different blogging genre each day.  You will post each day shoutout and highlight the work of a Black blogger who focuses on the genre listed. My hope is for everyone to meet new blog friends, add new content to their feeder, and amplify the voices of talented Black bloggers. Below is the graphic with the topics.


Whether for a few posts, for 28-days, or for the 15-week duration, I hope you will consider taking the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge.

And I hope you will follow the #BlackBlogsMatter hashtag so you can read and share the posts.

And if you’d like to wear your support for #BlackBlogsMatter, check out my TeeSpring boutique and buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt

The #BlackBlogsMatter challenge kicks off on  Thursday, February 1st … See you there!

Dear Pepsi, Your Apology Sucks

Pepsi released a commercial ad this week featuring model and Kardashian sister Kendall Jenner wandering into a protest and resolving the tensions by handing out Pepsi drinks.

The imagery was an homage to a popular #BlackLivesMatter photo.

And the world went awwwwwffffff!!

Pepsi faced immediate criticism and was violently, mercilessly and deservedly dragged on social media for launching this insensitive, racist campaign.

On Wednesday, Pepsi pulled the commercial and cancelled the remainder of the associated campaign. They issued the following statement:

Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.

Worst. Apology. Ever.

Let’s break this down.

Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize

  1.  “Clearly” is passive-aggressive AF. Much like “basically” and “accordingly”, it is a rude word masking as authority and sincerity.
  2. You apologize? Or are you sorry? Cuz there is a difference. Apologies are usually for people who are mad that they were called out. Sorrys are for people who have actual remorse.

We did not intend to make light of any serious issue

  1.  You didn’t??? Cuz it sure AF looks like you did.
  2. You didn’t make light of ANY serious issues, you made light of a very specific serious issue. And that issue is the murders of unarmed people of color by the police without appropriate review and justice. That is the very serious issue the carefully selected imagery you likely spent tens of thousands of dollars analyzing before you filmed, edited and launched this campaign very much made light of.
  3. If you weren’t intending to make light of the issue, what was your intention??? Inquiring minds really want to know. Cuz it looks like your for real were saying everything would be better if people would just drink more Pepsi and chill.

We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout

  1. That’s probably the only good thing you said … but the internet lasts foreverrrrrr tho. This isn’t going away just because the commercial stops airing.
  2. I can’t believe y’all admitted there was actually going to be more of this fuckery.

We also apologize to Kendall Jenner for putting her in this position

  1.  Kendall Jenner and her family have been profiting from the cultural appropriation of Black people for DECADES now. I used to really luh the Kardashians so I know this is true. The “position” that she was in is one she and her peoples are quite comfortable with. And I’m guessing y’all won’t be taking back the money you paid her so she gon’ be aight.
  2. Kendall Jenner is NOT the one you offended. She willingly performed work that you paid her for. Apologizing to her with more specificity than to the victims of police brutality or to their families or to the people who are on the front lines fighting for justice shows that you still don’t get it and likely never will.

Woosssaaahhh!! This is why we cannot have nice things!!

There are lots of people out there who think Black people and other people of color are too sensitive on these issues.

Ffff that bull$#%&, yo!

We have been too tolerant for too long. And we’re long overdue to speak up and speak out on the foolishness we see.

It is time for people and companies to stop giving lip-service to diversity, inclusion, sensitivity, caring, support and consciousness — only to turn around and do stuff like this then issue half-azzed apologies.

If you’re going to do stuff, use your whole azz! And if you don’t have an azz, get some padding or an implant or something. There’s all kinds of help out there if your azz is lacking.

Kendall Jenner and her peoples can help you out with that if you need it. They know a lot about using their azz and padding it as needed.

I digress. Woosah!

Just do better … Do better. DO BETTER!!

What does better look like??

Well, in Pepsi’s case, it would have been using all that brilliant market research not to do this in the first place. It would have been better to know that imagery associated with injustice and oppression should never be white-washed to peddle soft drinks.

But once Pepsi failed at that, it would have better to give a full explanation of their thinking and a sincere apology to the actual people who were hurt by police brutality and whose images were re-purposed for their narrow agenda … It would have been better to offer donations to the related causes …  It would have been better for Kendall Jenner to donate some if not all of her salary as well … It would have been better if Pepsi publicly committed to joining the fight for justice because of their error and used money from their sales to feed, bail out and defend protesters … It would have been better if Pepsi committed to working with organizations focused  increasing socially responsible behavior and understanding.

That’s what doing better looks like.

So the next time you find yourself making an egregious error in judgment along these lines, don’t just issue a half-azzed apology and move on.

Use your whole azz. And do better.

There’s still time, Pepsi. I hope you do better … cuz we’d hate to have to give up the sugary, bubbly deliciousness of your beverage and subsidiaries.

Do better, Pepsi. Do better, everyone. The streets are watching.

Buzz Is Dead

Well, not exactly. More like integrating my split personality.

Ok. I’m not explaining this very well … Let me start again.

Two years ago when I decided to start this blog, things were different. My employer at the time wasn’t supportive or understanding so I chose to write under a pen name avoid any conflict. The pen name “Buzz Rooney” is a twist on my childhood nickname “Buzz-A-Rooney,” which my dad called me because I was precocious and inquisitive (translate: busy and nosey) …  Fast forward to today and a lot has changed. The biggest change being my current employer, who doesn’t really care about my blogging.

So why am I still writing under a pen name? The answer is:

I dunno.

The most pleasant surprise of this blogging journey has been the great connections and friendships I’ve made with other HR professionals. And it bothers me that some of them don’t know or realize my name isn’t Buzz … or Rooney. Not that I’ve ever done anything to deliberately mislead anyone — but it still feels un-good.

And I am venturing out as a speaker this year. I have a few local engagements scheduled and I am returning to the Louisiana SHRM conference in April as a concurrent session speaker. I’ve quickly learned no one wants the bio of a nickname or cartoon avatar headshot. It’s confusing and inauthentic … Two things I absolutely am not!

So Buzz has got to go! And Sarah Williams has got to emerge … Nice to meet you! If you feel so inclined, connect with me on my personal Twitter and Linked In.

Different name. Same writer. New Year. Exciting possibilities. Still excited to share the journey … Let’s get it!

Social Media Master Blasters

Back in August, I shared a post about the end of Project : Social HR — and committed to one post monthly about Social Media on this blog.

Welp. This is that post.

One of the biggest fears people have about engaging in social media and social networking is all the snarky and negative comments other people might make. No one wants to post something only to have it attacked and berated and criticized by strangers. The seeming anonymity of online profiles makes it easy for some people to express their dislike, disagreement and disgust about topics without thought or hesitation.  It seems some people make it a point and take great pleasure in courting and causing online controversy.

They are masters at putting people on blast.

Some people are turned off by this and limit their use of social media because of it. This makes the fog of mystery and misunderstanding around social networking even thicker. As a result, we all miss out on diverse and wise input from experienced and knowledgeable people in our industry.

Admittedly, I enjoy commiserating in some good venting, dissing and sarcasm on social media once in awhile … Ok. Almost daily. Nobody’s thoughts are happy all the time. One of the things I love most about my social networking journey is learning to appreciate the totality of people – and learning to enjoy engaging with people who don’t always think, like or do the same things as me.

So instead of being someone who just talks about the negative, we can become a “master blaster” of good things! Here are some easy examples anyone can try:

  • Share it. Or ReTweet it or +1 it or whatever the term is for it on that particular social site. Use the sharing features to blast the things you find good and valuable
  • Comment it. When you read or see something you like, leave a comment about how and why it was touching for you.
  • Print it or email it. We all have family, friends and co-workers who are not at all involved in social media. Forward the good things to them – or print it for them to see!
  • List it. Create lists of the people and groups you enjoy most so you can sure to keep up with the great content they share. Most social media sites allow you to feature your favorites so you can see them first or with ease.
  • Join it. There are lots of great groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites discussing and sharing about HR. Use them as a resource to help you learn new and strengthen your network.

Honestly though, after over a year in the game, I don’t find a lot of negative “master blasters” in the online HR community. I’ve actually found hundreds (if not thousands) of people who want to share information, knowledge, best practices and candidly discuss the conundrums we face in the world of work! Not just established HR bloggers, leaders and vendors – but innovative practitioners, “newbies” and other supporting characters in the circle of HR life. And we all agree that HR is awesome and we want it to continue to flourish and grow – and that is worth putting on blast!

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