When Nick Denton took over as managing editor of Gawker yesterday (it feels like an eternity ago!) he "let go" of many, if not all, of our columnists. The cast-offs included Tionna "Tee" Smalls, whose advice column "Ask Tionna" was beloved by most of Gawker's readers, some fervently some tepidly but really most fervently. Anyway, she's steamed she got fired and she's not going to take it lying down. In the early hours of January 3rd, she sent out an "Official Statement Regarding dismissal of Ask Tionna," that is just as raw, moving, insightful and controversial as her advice was.
Sure [Gawker] didn't give me any notice, and leaves me to save up the little $1200, I have in the bank but you know what I have other bigger problems that the CEO who resides in SOHO could never understand or relate to. My cousin just died of AIDS and cops just killed a man (in a buy and bust ordeal) right around the corner from my house....They died so we could go out there and make it for ourselves.
Full text after the jump.
On December 31, 2007, Gawker's owner/managing editor, Nick Denton, informed me through an email that Gawker was going into a different direction and that my beloved column, "Ask Tionna", was no longer being published on the site. He left his number for me to call and emailed me the news twice, incase I didn't understand what the email meant. When I read the email I was a little disappointed because I stayed at Gawker despite telling Emily that was going to leave because I wasn't taken that serious by Gawker and by the people who read Gawker. She expected that last week would be my last entry but based on the love that I received from many readers like Adam, Heather, etc. I decided to stay.
I received the job from Gawker after I wrote an email to them regarding featuring me on their site because I was a motivated black girl from East New York, who wrote this fabulous, self-published book that had plenty of grammatical biscuits in it. To my surprise, they featured me the next day and made fun of my ass so much that it made me laugh (even though I was the subject). The commentators made so much fun of this "ghetto ass black girl" that the editors of Gawker stalked my blog site Talk Dat Ish (www.talkdatish.com). I think it was amazing to them that this girl from the ghetto would write an email about herself and act as if it was coming from someone else. People were just outraged and excited about me, all at the same time.
I must admit when I started my column, I was a grammatical-mess (still am) but my voice was unique and my advice was real and soon the uppity folks at Gawker welcomed me with open arms. My pay at Gawker was minimal but I thought and still feel that it was a great opportunity. If it wasn't for Gawker, many of you would never know who I was. I mean, you would have found out sooner or later, but it wouldn't have been so quick. I learned that I was Gawker's little secret when my column came out on Tuesdays at 6PM, but it didn't bother me because my numbers always stayed between 8,000-20,000 views. That is an awful lot for someone who has never had a job in the industry. I know I got the job because Gawker knew that it would bring numbers and people would laugh at the little Black girl that could but let me explain something. I am the one who is laughing. I now have great connects in the media industry, a contract to sign tomorrow for a reality show of my life on the come up and in the entertainment business, I have genuine fans who loves me and my work, and I have dreams that cant be erased by no one not even Gawker.
Gawker didn't make me, it only made me better. Sure they didn't give me any notice, and leaves me to save up the little $1200, I have in the bank but you know what I have other bigger problems that the CEO who resides in SOHO could never understand or relate to. My cousin just died of AIDS and cops just killed a man (in a buy and bust ordeal) right around the corner from my house. I may rock Gucci sneakers and aviator lenses but listen, I am still bounded by the hood and I cant move out of it until my money get right and I am ok with that because without struggle, there isn't any success but listen no one, not one person in this entertainment industry can stop me because I am a serious person to play games with. I own my own entertainment company, I am still a very serious book writer/motivational speaker, and I am opening my own book publishing company and getting writers of all different aspects out there. Most of all, I am a born leader who understands that it's not where you're from, it's where you going baby. I can sit and beg for a chance to show my talent; hell, I could be like other woman who is trying to make it big in the world and blow balls for cheddar but that is not what my ancestors died for...
They died so we could go out there and make it for ourselves. They died so many of you people who never stepped foot in the ghetto could say, Tionna Smalls lives in East New York, and so it can't be that bad. It is for that little girl that says if Tionna Smalls wrote a book, so can I. So as Robert Frost would say, there's two paths (roads), which one are you going to take?
And my answer would definitely be the road on top because this black girl is going places. So please watch out for me and remember, I am still here to answer your advice, just hit me up and I will help you out.
Wishing you nothing but Hard Dick and Bubblegum,