Ernest Owens is an award-winning journalist and a writer at 1-Large for Philadelphia Magazine. Owens covers a variety of social issues regarding race, LGBTQ, communities, and pop culture. His extensive reporting on racism within the LBGTQ community, and specifically racial discrimination in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood, was cited by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and led in part to the city government’s passing an antidiscrimination bill in 2017.
His work has been featured on NBC News, CNN, USA Today, BET, NPR, and other media outlets. In addition to using these platforms to spread awareness of social justice issues, Owens also advocates for media diversity. He is the vice president of print for the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and the founder of Millennial Media Makers of Color, a collection of media makers who work to improve the industry through diversity and inclusion.
How did you figure out what your passion is?
When I attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad and noticed how much my voice was valued in conversations on campus. It was in those moments that I chose to express myself through media and the rest was history.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
Being able to see the stories I’ve covered, influence and inspire diverse communities, public policy, and make history. It touches me every time I get an email, DM, Tweet, or shout out from a reader who feels enlightened by my work.
What else would you like to accomplish?
While expanding my journalism career, I want to be a leading advocacy voice for diversity in media. I also want to continue to push for more entrepreneurial outreach for independent journalists of color as well.
What advice would you give to other young people beginning their careers?
Never be afraid to ask for help. Too often, the difference between young people succeeding in their careers early is that they do not weigh their ability to seek guidance.
What does being a part of the African Diaspora mean to you?
It means upholding the legacy of a people who are innovative, compassionate and resilient. I take great pride in being a Black man and uplifting the culture every day of my life.
Nominated by Philly MMMOC