Urban Media Maven to Serve as Gatekeeper
After serving as Editor-in-Chief of XXL magazine, founding editor of xxlmag.com, co-authoring two hot books, and producing hit VH-1 shows including ego trip's Miss Rap Supreme, no one would blame Elliott Wilson for resting on his laurels. At the very least, with a resume like that he could pick a project that lets him relax a bit.
A dual passion for hip hop culture and journalistic integrity is compelling Wilson to go in the opposite direction and reinvent himself yet again in one of media's most labour-intensive platforms: blogging. Why? "Celebrity journalism and the quick score are becoming the norm," he said. "No one is really holding anyone to task. I'm going to serve as a sort of gatekeeper."
While Wilson has long embraced new media, he sees a generation of writers who need some direction in terms of maintaining honor in reporting news. He plans to cultivate a new crop of journalists steeped with good research and reporting habits--and he plans to lead by example.
The Huffington Post Comment
By now--at least in media circles--people have heard about his comment about creating the Huffington Post of hip hop. Lofty aspirations, sure, but Wilson is quick to clarify that a forum is needed in the urban market for celebrities, especially, to feel comfortable sharing political views without the fear of being misquoted or having their remarks taken out of context; a respected veteran in the space to serve as gatekeeper.
Enter RapRadar.com. Slated to launch March 9, RapRadar will be the forum for Wilson to "aggregate with attitude," to pontificate on urban music, entertainment, fashion, and news, and to make sure the world doesn't forget that he is "still very capable of documenting this culture at a high level."
According to Wilson, RapRadar will be similar to his original vision for xxlmag.com as a highly tagged and categorized blog roll that allows users to read what interests them while satisfying their incessant craving for fresh content. "I believe the people want a 24/7 mentality," he said. "Hip hop moves pretty fast." And he plans to be prolific enough in his posts to deliver.
He hopes the site will inspire new talent to share their opinions and comment on his. That's where his Huffington Post-ish aspirations come into play. He's not chasing celebrities, but he knows them, and he knows that they sometimes want a new media platform. If he can demonstrate offering that new-school platform as an old-school journalist, he'll be able to fulfill his goal of eventually passing the torch to a new generation.
Wilson is well-versed in the new media tools: he Twitters, he Facebooks, he links his Twitter account to his Facebook account reaching the millenials that are poised for world domination. "Twitter is a great tool to stay in tune and connect with the new generation," he said, adding that his blog posts will go straight to Twitter.
So has Wilson given up on print in favor of its digital advertising nemeses? Not a chance. "My heart is still in print in a lot of ways,' he said. "The media world is reflective of the world we live in and we're in a tough spot right now. I plan to be very supportive of magazines." After all, his wife is VIBE Editor-in-Chief Danyel Smith Wilson. Wilson just feels that the pace of the Internet reflects hip hop's fast-paced culture.
Says the self-proclaimed constant critic of the culture he will tirelessly cover with RapRadar: "To love hip hop is to live it. It's who I am."