FLINT, Michigan — A little over a month has passed since Flint native and writer Tia Scott
became the Managing Editor of Flintside. She becomes the second African American woman to hold the position and only two African American women presiding over Flint news publications.
From growing up on the north side of Flint, attending Flint community schools, watching the effects of the crack epidemic and General Motors’ absence, to writing about the very people who’ve supported the city even before media outlets were watching, Scott’s story holds countless gems.
She’s traveled the country — living in Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ — writing blogs, bios, and missions statements in addition to covering and learning about the mainstream music industry. However, an opportunity to write about Flint and reconnect with the community that has evolved tremendously brought Scott back home. So now, she finds herself immersed in Flint culture and the opportunity to become a narrative game-changer.
Flintside caught up with its new Managing Editor inside Sauce Italian American Kitchen in downtown Flint to talk about her vision, journey, and the pressure to tell authentic Flint stories.
Tia Scott and Xzavier Simon share drinks over a conversation at Sauce Italian American Kitchen of downtown Flint.Flintside: Congratulations on being the Managing Editor! You are now one of two African American women at the head of major Flint publications. How does that feel?
Tia Scott: “
Honestly, it took me by surprise. When we get in these positions, we don’t look at ourselves like that. We look at it as we just got jobs to do. I’ve never been in this type of position before, but I feel like all of the little jobs I’ve had throughout the years are serving me. Those experiences are serving me and helping me get comfortable in this editor position. It feels good but also surreal. It feels like it went from zero to a hundred in four weeks. It’s an amazing experience to be able to have a team that's all on the same agenda.”
Flintside: Looking at the landscape of Flint media, what is your vision for Flintside under your tenure?
“My vision for Flintside is to continue to tell the stories of Flint and also honor the people who served the community but never quite got those articles or accolades. We didn’t have social media [back then], but they’ve been doing their thing in Flint for so long. My main vision is to look back and say Flint loves you. For the new and young people coming in, I want them to know that the media is with them. It’s not above them. We’re right here in the community with you. We’re here to tell your stories and find out about your events. My vision is being on the ground, being in the community hands-on, and being with the people.”
Flintside: You have a legacy in Flint professionally as a writer and part of the music and business scene. What are your thoughts on Flint’s artistic and cultural rise?
“I’ve seen a lot of artists come out of this city who wanted to make music and be creative. From its humble beginnings, I’ve seen it with popup shows and festivals in the park with the Dayton Family. But, it was an era before The Dope Show, with the Art of Hip Hop that set the tone, and it planted a seed. Why I like this city is because you have those full-circle moments. It allows you to see a lot of people grow. So many of us leave, but it’s something about coming back here where you see the growth. But you have to leave to understand it.”
Flintside: People may not know that you’ve had your own experiences within the music industry. What were some things you learned being in that environment?
“It makes everything real. Whatever you thought the industry was, it puts it in that human perspective like, 'this is a job, this is an industry, these are still people who came to [put in the] work.' It let me know what’s out there and that there are certain things you can’t get that may nourish your soul. I had connections there, but I didn’t have a community. It taught me that the real natural support from people is what matters.”
Flintside: You have quite the resume from writing blogs, producing The Dope Show, traveling, and now Managing Editor. What’s that journey been like?
“I would try to take any opportunity I could to make whatever publication I was working for pop. Before I did The Dope Show and the blog, I was working for Street Logic, an online magazine that covered hip-hop based out of New York. They taught me how to look for email addresses and points of contact which helped my journalism experience, but I’ve been trying to find a way to do this from Michigan for years. I was writing for Flintside out in Arizona [while] writing bios and mission statements.”
Flintside: Having come back to Flint from Arizona, do you feel any pressure?
“I feel like the pressure has come from me paying attention to what’s happening. The things I want to cover, I can’t anymore because the time has passed. You’re encouraged to read what’s going on, listen to people’s stories and go out there and find those stories. I want to cover everything, but it’s unrealistic.”
Flintside: When we look at Flint’s 2020 Census, this is a city that is majority African American. So, considering that, do you want to or have intentions of making Flintside a highlight for people of color?
“Yes and no. I want to highlight more Black businesses and more Black people doing more in their community. I want to tell the stories of the people who understand what GM did for us, who truly understand the city and choose to stay here. It’s not a race thing. It’s a Flint thing. I’m focused on telling the stories of Flint. It’s something that we all understand. No matter where we go, we understand what it feels like to be here and be from here. Flint made me, and that’s just what it is.”
To stay connected, follow Tia on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and her website.
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