Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bob Mabena Was Doing His Job On That Taraji Interview | Maybe You Should TOO

You have probably read by now that Empire star Taraji P. Henson was reportedly upset by Bob Mabena's "intrusive' questions during her press junket interview for Multichoice to promote the show. 

Speaking to Taraji on his Kaya FM radio show, Bob asked the actress about celebrating her birthday on the same day as the 9/11 tragedy. He also probed the star about the death of her late boyfriend and baby daddy William LaMarr Johnson in 1997.

Was the interview awkward? YES. Was Taraji justified in being upset about it (if she indeed was)? YES.  Was Bob Mabena out of line? ABSOLUTELY NOT. 

Let me prefix this by pointing out a sad reality of our entertainment industry. Entertainment journalists have lost the plot. When they are not trying to get selfies with celebrities or trolling social media for mundane stories, they have completely abandoned their sense of duty. 

That a major Hollywood star, arguable the biggest female star in the world right now, could be in South Africa and all the articles are nothing but fluff pieces like "Cookie Falls in love with Somizi" — an exchange I was reliably told was not as big as it is being reported. It's not like they went clubbing together or something. 

Anyway, my point is that; Here we have one of the very first black women to actually break the barrier for black female talent in Hollywood. Taraji is an articulate and smart woman who has sat on The Hollywood Roundtable with Jessica Lange, Viola Davis and Ruth Wilson to discuss Race, Sexism and Aging in Hollywood. And the one time she has an opportunity to be in South Africa, all we can write about is how she interacted with a local celebrity fan?! 

In this time of #OscarsSoWhite, #BlackLivesMatter, etc is our opportunity to talk to Taraji really spent wisely if we don't even bother to hear her view on these issues especially given that she is in AFRICA. Tying all that to DSTV, what's her thoughts on the Roots series reboot?

Bob Mabena veering off the sheepish fray by attempting to ask question that nobody else dared to ask thus far, was this man doing his job and giving his listeners something different. The suck-up local media would not bother asking substantive question or try and get some information that will give this incredible woman some depth beyond the fluff because they just don't know what they are doing. 

I have yet to read or watch an interview with Taraji in South Africa, that gave me a pause for thought or gave me an insight into the actress I did not already know. 

To be fair, I understand that the PR team can sometimes restrict the interviewers to specific topics. BUT even with that, our media fraternity [those who have had access to Taraji] could have done so much more. So many poignant questions one can ask about Empire and what Cookie character represents to the world. 

The gay issue. Almost every time there is a gay scene, bigots flood Twitter with negative comments. What's her view on that subject given that she now has a huge gay following? Bloody hell, I could go on forever.

AGAIN... Taraji has every right to not want to talk about specific topics. Her team has every right to try and restrict the media to specific topics. However, as a professional and competent journalist, host or reporter, you find a way to extract information that is more than just generic talking points. 

To chastise Bob Mabena for doing his job, something many of these so called reporters have failed to do, has left me "gobsmacked".

Dear Journalists. Stop being fans first and reporter after. You are there to be the conduit of information between the fans, readers and public NOT to get pictures so you can boast on social media. DO YOUR FREAKEN JOB!!!





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