AfroLA covers greater Los Angeles through the lens of the Black community. We’re tired of tropes and assumptions about Black people in the media. We’re tired of local news that doesn’t scratch the surface of the communities they cover. We want news with nuance and context and narratives from people you might not normally hear from or about.
AfroLA’s mission is to find, celebrate and share intersectionality and universality in the Black experience. “Afro Angeleno,” or AfroLA, celebrates diversity in backgrounds and unity in culture and experiences within L.A. and beyond.
“Afro” is also a nod to the change in identity language during the Civil Rights era and rise of the Black Power movement. We’re Black, proud and make no apologies for either. AfroLA leans into the fact that no form of Blackness is a monolith. We are who we are – no matter what shade our skin is or where we call home. AfroLA celebrates it all without pause.
We are: Unapologetic. Black. Los Angeles.
Free news for all, forever
People can’t use our news if they can’t read it. We believe that in order to serve all people equitably, high-quality and relevant information about our communities must be free and accessible to all without the barriers of a paywall or paid subscription. We are committed to building an access-first news model where financial sustainability is not attained at the cost of accessibility.
Inform and educate
Our content should always strive to inform and educate people within and outside of Black communities. We commit to creating content that provides context and nuance to existing narratives, challenges stereotypes and represents diverse experiences.
Our value is not determined by our financial statements, awards or page views. It’s measured by the value we provide to the communities we serve. We commit to act in the interest of our readers and the Black communities inside and around L.A. Advertisers, funders, politicians, celebrities and corporations will always take a backseat to serving our community.
AfroLA was born from resistance and persistence. Dana Amihere, a South L.A. transplant, and Steven Smith, raised in the Inland Empire, swapped war stories over drinks: the media industry’s performative racial reckoning; hollow DEI efforts that continue to fail journalists and communities of color; why there are news beats and initiatives for most race/ethnicities except… These problems aren’t unique to L.A. But, the pair’s outrage was largely because these problems could be found in a place so richly diverse as Los Angeles: A city of neighborhoods and nooks and crannies with people and heritages from around the globe couldn’t manage to imagine diversity past the largest, most visible groups.
As a Black woman and a white man, these journalists’ outrage simmered at different degrees because of lived experiences. Regardless, their discontent with the status quo turned cocktail napkin scheming into a detailed plan to disrupt the Los Angeles-area media community.
Despite the high visibility and preponderance of media organizations that exist in the greater Los Angeles area, there are large communities – millions of people – that are underreported on or entirely overlooked by local media. This oversight and neglect has created a de facto news desert for Black Angelenos in America’s second-largest city. The scarce coverage that does exist largely contributes to and reinforces negative stereotypes. News and narratives about Black people and the area’s Black community – in South Los Angeles and ethnic enclaves across L.A. County – lack nuance, context and fail to normalize the lives of everyday people.
The Black community is more than “Black girl magic” and “Black boy joy.” Rather than honing in on Black exceptionalism – the so-called “model minority” complex – Black people should read stories about themselves and their everyday lived experiences, not the artificial stereotypes and unachievable expectations of perfection that society hoists upon them. AfroLA aims to characterize Black people as people living their lives and the extraordinary stories that can stem from those experiences.