Although significant progress has been made in closing the black media representation gap, the statistics are alarming. For example, zippia reported there are more than 6,469 on-air announcers currently employed in the United States, and 33.2% are women. Of this percentage, only 8.5% are African American. In addition, black voices are often muffled. the Black Media Report published by the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism declared that black media publish up to six times more coverage than mainstream media on issues important to black communities, including racism, health disparities and voting access. Additionally, black media paves the way for stories related to racism, focusing on these stories at higher levels and earlier in the news cycle than mainstream media.
Gia Peppers, award-winning on-air talent, entertainment journalist, and podcaster shines a light on black voices and shares cultural content that accurately represents underserved communities. Best known for her work as a contributor on NBC Today’s showhis nationally broadcast Urban One Radio show and podcast, More than that with Gia Peppers, was a resounding success, resulting in $4 million invested in black-owned media. Moreover, she is also part of the very popular podcast Black girl pod. With every piece of content it creates or participates in, Peppers conveys the message that everyone has to do is the important work of discovering it, perfecting it, and own it.
“My mother instilled in us that the bustle is sold separately; there’s no such thing as anything overnight,” Peppers shares. “I learned early on that if you wanted something, you had to work very, very hard to get it. And I also learned that dreams are achievable. Growing up in DC, when it was the Chocolate City , there were black people from all walks of life. My parents’ friends were doctors and lawyers and business owners. But then we also had family members who suffered from drug addiction and things like that. I was never surprised what anyone could be or do. But it was always there for me to learn like, ‘ok, excellence is real in our community. Struggle is real in our community. “Joy is real in our community. All things are real in our community. It’s helped open my eyes too. If I can work for it, if I can earn it, I can have it.”
While earning her journalism degree at university, she interned at Donnie Simpson’s Morning Show on Washington, DC radio station WPGC-FM. She also worked for Big Tigger at ABC before moving on to the Wendy Williams show for its first season and Live with Kelly and Michael. However, graduating during the recession left her with no job prospects. So she started working on her own and quickly learned to get her byline picked up by publications.
She eventually got a job hosting the arena for the Washington Wizards, an NBA team. At this time, Peppers traveled daily between New York and Washington, D.C., working as an associate editor at Gasoline magazinewriting for various publications and broadcasting during NBA games.
“I did this for a very long time,” Peppers recalls. “That’s when I learned the power of the hustle and how much I really wanted it. From there, I just kept hustling.
As she expanded her brand and gained national notoriety, she knew she wanted to raise the voice of the underdog; she wanted to shed light on the truth. She started networking and using her Rolodex to help her achieve her goal. Recently, Peppers launched a series of original interviews, Give you the game, on his YouTube and IGTV channels. Peppers leads inspiring conversations with influential leaders like Debbie Allen, Erica Campbell and Sarah Jakes Roberts.
As Peppers continues to expand its brand and move into other media areas, it is focused on the following critical steps:
- Understand the profession in which you wish to pivot. Each industry has a different playing field and profession.
- Be comfortable with building new relationships. Focus on building relationships before you have to ask for a favor.
- Use your voice to help others. Develop purpose in your life’s pursuits.
“My restlessness is unstoppable,” Peppers concludes. “It’s first of all based on faith. And it’s mine, no one can take it from me. No one will ever be able to say they gave me something that I didn’t earn. Everything I’ve done in my career so far is because I worked for it. I did it with integrity. I did it in a way that I can look back in five or ten years and still be proud of what I said or did in that time.