By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor,
In the age of digital consumption, Black conservative voices are using social media to be heard. Candace Owens, director of communications for the conservative advocacy group Turning Point USA, and her fan, rapper and Trump crony Kanye West, are using social media to push their ideals and agendas. Because of the influence of social media, sisters and business partners Dee Dee Bass Wilbon and Deana Bass Williams, founders of Bass Public Affairs, started GrowthComms.
Conducting its fifth conference, Oct.13, at the National Press Club, GrowthComms was created to offer tools for conservatives to learn how to effectively use social media to share their values.
“We feel as though, the conservative voice – and actually all voices – should be heard. However the conservative voice has not been heard and we wanted to make sure we were fully equipped and fully ready to be able to project our message and our image as Republican women, as Black conservatives,” co-founder Dee Dee Bass Wilbon told the AFRO about her and her sister. “We felt as though starting GrowthComms, a communications conference for conservatives, would be somewhat of a platform to assist conservatives in projecting the positive message of the conservative party.”
Wilbon described Black conservatives as patriotic people who are advocating for policies that make the country strong.
“We are a group of people who love our country, who love our families, family values, traditions. But we are a group of people that believe in coming together, working together across the aisle to make things better for everyone,” she said.
Wilbon told the AFRO she and her sister hope people see that Black conservatives seek progress in order to make the U.S. “great.”
“Yes we do like traditions… but we are also willing to accept things that need to be changed for the greater good and so the image would be a group of people who are working strong and hard to make America great – for everyone.”
This year the sisters decided to use two hashtags as themes for the conference, #SpeakUp and #AttackPolicyNotPeople.
“We really want people to speak up. We want Republicans – we want conservatives – not to feel bullied about not being able to speak up,” she said considering recent news events.
“On both sides of the table there has been very bad behavior in my opinion, from Maxine Waters to even the president and it’s not right. So as a conservative and being able to say, ‘That’s not right, Mr. President;’ and as a liberal being able to say, ‘You know, Maxine Waters, that’s not right. You can’t tell people to go and attack an administration and people who work in an administration.’”
Proud Republicans, Wilbon said she and her sister are pleased by the President’s policies, despite his rash tweets.
“We believe we can be conservatives and we can support the President and his policies, but we don’t have to jump on board with everything he says because there are some things that he may do, that he may tweet, that we may not agree with, but his policies we agree with. We don’t agree with the attacking of people, but with the policies and the things that he’s done to assist all Americans,” Wilbon told the AFRO.
One of the 2018 GrowthComms speakers, Xavier Underwood, head of production at Howard Stirk Holdings, shared keyways to transmit information through social media.
“Its all about the messaging. The most genuine social media users tend to be the most successful. You’ve got to practice what you preach,” Underwood said.
He explained the importance of being oneself on social media, particularly as conservatives work to show openness to progressive ideals.
“You can be inclusive, open to new ideas, and conservative at the same time — this is the largest notion the conservatives must dispel. However, this does require a moral obligation to say – ‘Hey, that’s not what we’re about,’ when things get out of hand. An effective communicator stands on his/her principles, rather than using them as a backdoor to spread hate,” Underwood told the AFRO.
Effective communication among conservatives is the reason people like the Bass sisters are working for people to be more outspoken on their beliefs.
“So this year we’re just saying to speak up on the issues and things that mean something to your family, not being afraid of that, and doing it in a respectful and positive way,” Bass said.
This article originally appeared in the Afro News.