Photo by Andrea Davis from Pexels

Rethinking the “Exposure & Experience” Racket

We’re in a cultural moment where the bold act of quitting is in the zeitgeist, and the high opportunity cost of gigging is under a microscope. We’re long overdue to reconsider the utility of the low-paying freelance writing assignment.

Many of us are aware of the mindset of needing to “pay dues” before one can even think about establishing a solid career as a writer. This way of thinking usually comes with an expectation of some level of exploitation — financial or otherwise. And it’s so 20th century.

May I suggest an approach to writing (as side-hustle and hustle-hustle) that…


With all due respect to Women’s History Month, I’m not quite ready to move on from February’s all-too-brief celebration.

My concept of Australia was always shaped by basic truths — its upside-down night sky; idiosyncratic wildlife; shady mentions in the movie Oliver! (1968); breathtaking Great Barrier Reef; the “a” word used to refer to the country’s indigenous peoples.

The only truth that mattered when I eventually visited Oceania, however, was how warmly I was received by native Australians; acknowledged in a way that was both unexpected and astonishing. I was SEEN. Greeted. Welcomed.

On multiple occasions, Aboriginal people matter-of-factly referred…


The wise words of Dorian Corey (R.I.P.), captured in the documentary “Paris Is Burning.” (Image: BestLifeOnline.com)

Question: If you removed “struggle films” from the Black movie mainstream — that’s capital “S” struggle: i.e., discrimination, marginalization and the ever-mutating spawn of enslavement — what would be left to represent the culture onscreen?

Answer: Superheroes, Tyler Perryland, the oeuvre of Spike Lee, some indie gems and the evolution of Eddie Murphy.

How is that even acceptable?

On that note:

  • Is there an unwritten rule that films with more than one Black lead can only be about true-life adversity, fictional adversity, criminality, buffoonery or fantastical nonsense?
  • What’s the reason Black people/families aren’t represented in live-action sci-fi and children’s features?


The breathtakingly beautiful “Daughters of the Dust” by director Julie Dash.

You’ve been crushing your Woke 101 homework. You’re done bingeing When they See Us, Just Mercy, I Am Not Your Negro, Selma, The Kalief Browder Story, Slavery by Another Name, plus all the other #BlackLivesMatter suggestions from your streaming services for extra credit. You even snuck in one more Black Panther viewing … now what?

Consider this: when was the last time you watched a movie with a Black lead or primarily Black cast just for fun that wasn’t …?

  • A biopic
  • About slavery, Jim Crow, crime/wrongful incarceration or the terrorism/abuse of Black People
  • Centered around a white character’s comfort…

Tricia Nelson

Native New Yorker Valley Girl. Eclipse-chaser, lightworker, shade-thrower. TriciaNelson.com | @trish2power

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store