A note about white supremacy from our CEO and Founder Michelle Khouri
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Audio was made for this moment. FRQNCY was born for this reason. As a first-generation American Latina, my goal was to be the Trojan horse of patriarchal capitalism (read: white supremacist USA) from inception. But things change. I am not content with being a Trojan horse anymore. That connotes more stealth than I’m willing to embody. Today, I come to you as FRQNCY CEO 2.0 – more lioness than Trojan horse.
After decades of protests and riots, of kneeling and sit-ins, of speaking and preaching, of suing and beseeching have led to minimal progress, I am not willing to stay quiet and wait for the door to open, even if the plan was to infiltrate quietly all along. With a roar that can be heard from miles away and a calm strength that instills cautious respect, I and my team are ready to embody our full power.
As the news cycle quells – leaving the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery to faint away like a cloud of dust kicked up by a car hauling ass in the desert – 13% of the U.S. population is left to deal with the wreckages of their own violent oppression.
I am calling on every podcast and audio production company in the U.S. to join me in publicly issuing action plans with concrete steps for how you (the company as a whole) are using your capitalist superpowers to end the 400-year cycle of oppression, murder, and domination of Black and Indigenous people.
As founders/CEOs/owners/stakeholders/investors, we have the power to redistribute wealth to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) vendors, employees, contractors, and suppliers. We have the power to refuse working with companies and individuals who don’t align with our values. We have the power to refuse participating in panels or events that don’t make an effort to be inclusive or representative.
We have the power. And we have the privilege. It’s time to use our privilege to dismantle white supremacy.
These are the specific actions I and FRQNCY Media commit to:
Action 1: Invest our time and resources in producing a podcast for a frontline organization that is dismantling white supremacy.
Partner with a national organization that has local chapters across the U.S. to fully fund and produce a podcast that furthers the cause of stopping police brutality, ending white supremacy, and dismantling systemic racism.
Action 2: Use our platforms to support anti-racist education and empower Black voices.
Leverage our superpower of sound to amplify Black voices and provide educational audio resources to encourage learning about black history and anti-racism, and facilitate the unlearning of oppressive habits and programming.
Action 3: Prioritize the advancement of human rights over profit by continuing to push our original vision forward.
Our vision has always been and will always be to hire diversely, invest in training and development for women of color, and help to fund original content by BIPOC creators.
This has been the vision for FRQNCY from the beginning. It’s been just over a year and a half since we brought on our first client, and I have experienced firsthand what a challenge it is to change this deeply rooted system. And when I say “system” I’m referring to the close-knit brotherhood that is the patriarchy, systemic racism, and capitalism. A system that, in many ways, goes undetected while cloaking every American in its control. By the time we take our first steps, we are indoctrinated into this system and, either through conscious or subconscious bias, become tasked with upholding its myriad rules and standards; that is, unless we make the decision to wake up and step up.
I face the challenges of doing this every day as a Latina raised in lower-middle class America. I am constantly having to face the choice laid at my feet by an oppressive patriarchal system: either grow your company quickly with talent and tools easily at your disposal or face the reckoning that comes with trying to disrupt the system.
There are times when I and my early stage company must relent. There are times when my arm is twisted so strongly by the system that I have to hold faith in the future of FRQNCY as a multimillion-dollar embodiment of the Next Economy that is living its full vision: a diverse, human-first enterprise that has helped to train an entirely new class of BIPOC producers, editors, and engineers. It’s during those times when I feel helpless and ashamed. When I wish I held more power.
Many of you do hold more power. Many of you are more able than I am to make broader changes and cause further-reaching ripples. It’s time to use that power for good.
It’s time to be as big as you are.
Sigele Winbush is an accomplished communicator with a passion for promoting bright ideas, worthy causes and dynamic people. She has more than 11 years of broad communications experience, mostly in the areas of community development, economic development and nonprofits and arts entertainment.