Why Writing for MadameNoire Was a F***ing Nightmare

This is MadameNoire:

entertainment

On the outside looking in, with its feminine color scheme, grabby headlines, and conversational “think pieces”, MadameNoire seems like any other innocuous gossip site. But pull back the curtains on the “fine and dandy” appearance MadameNoire puts on, and you’ve got a whole staff of undervalued, underpaid writers who are the engine that keep the site running.

Before I begin dragging MadameNoire on its dirty a** behind, I do want to say that writing for the platform did have its pros. For the most part, I was given free reign to write expressively about what was in my heart with articles such as …

“My Struggle Between What Society Wants and What Makes Me Happy”

“What If Women Slut Shamed Men?”

“Dating With Keloids”

The editor loved that last one – “Great piece!” she told me.

So let me take you back – way back to when I first started working for MadameNoire in 2013. I was hired as their business news writer and I was working under a mentally unstable maniac called Tonya Garcia. She was one of those closed-minded editors who didn’t know how to separate what the people wanted to read versus what she wanted to read.

For instance, she was obsessed with publishing news about Cory Booker, but the stats clearly showed readers did not give a f*** about Cory Booker. I didn’t say anything though. When you’re a journalist who’s fresh in the industry, you don’t say sh**. You keep that mouth shut! Because, of course, the editor “knows best.”

ring6

 

Except for the Kardashians – that’s the one thing I spoke up against. Readers consistently whined about us posting content about the Kardashians, but Tonya kept asking me to write stories on them. Even though I was a business writer, she somehow found SOME way to make them “fit” into the category – like when Kim Kardashian launched a baby line.

I’m not joking. The readers really f***ing hated when we wrote about the Kardashians:

commentsects

See?

So I told Tonya that I refused to write about the Kardashians. My name are on these stories, not hers, and my reputation is on the line by continuing to force feed Kardashian bullsh** to the public.

She agreed.

Now. Here’s where things got hairy. In 2015, there were rumors that the business section was going to be cut. Unsurprisingly, people were flocking to read about Meagan Good, Kevin Hart, and Sanaa Lathan, but skipping over the entrepreneurship and business articles. Every now and then I’d interview a senior vice president from AT&T, a high-ranking officer at Major League Baseball, or a reality TV star, but those were few and far in between – people cared more about gossip than financial advice.

Tonya told me that she would no longer be needing news articles from us, but she will be accepting “features,” which are basically when a writer interviews a “person of interest” and writes an article about him or her. For an example, check out my article on Bad Girls Club star Tanisha Thomas.

I didn’t mind – features were $80 a piece! However, this is when we started to bump heads. We had a completely different idea of what worked with our readers and what didn’t.

I pitched an idea for a 15-year-old girl who already had two degrees and was starting her own psychology practice! She turned that down but asked me to write an article about a woman launching a hot sauce business. The first thing I thought was, “YOU TURN DOWN A 15-YEAR-OLD MASTERMIND, BUT YOU WANT ME TO WRITE AN ARTICLE ON A WOMAN MAKING FUCKING HOT SAUCE?!”

Guru3

Is this bitch serious? What sense does that make?

Anyway, we ended up clashing, and next thing I knew, one of my fellow writers (shout out to Ann!) told me that Tonya left. I don’t know whether she got fired or she jumped ship, but her ass just upped and left and got the f*** out of there.

Of course, I was low-key happy. She was an absolute cancer to the site – and she knew it. The business site was being dragged down to its death because she didn’t know how to “read” our readers.

I, too, left MadameNoire in 2015. Moravia IT hired me to travel descriptions for Google. But after a year or so, everyone was laid off from the project. I went onto writing for a whole bunch of websites, but I started to miss MadameNoire again. As I mentioned earlier, it was the only platform that allowed me to be creatively free!

Tonya wouldn’t be there, so why not give it another shot?

I eased my way back into MadameNoire into the welcoming arms of Beth (name changed because I really like her and I don’t want her name showing up on SEO), the managing editor of MadameNoire.

But before re-signing the contract, she told me one thing that made me give MadameNoire a BIG side-eye.

Guru11

Y’all know I always come with receipts. Here’s the e-mail screenshot:

email1

The email said that payments are delayed by TWO MONTHS when our contract said that writers are supposed to get paid every 30 days. I needed work, and when you’re desperate, you agree to some f***ed up shit. So I begrudgingly obliged.

Y’all – that two months became THREE months!

You do not know how many times I wanted to come up into the MadameNoire offices on some Rihanna shit and be all like …

bitchbetterhavemymoney

On top of that, there was a lot going on behind the scenes that they weren’t telling us! MadameNoire, originally owned by Moguldom Media Group, was being bought up by iOne (responsible for channels like TVOne and RadioOne). I didn’t know any of this until I put “two and two” together after being sent a new contract without ANY explanation.

Okay, so now you’re probably wondering, “What the f*** was going on with the money situation?”

I didn’t know at first. And I was tired of asking Beth (the middeman between writers and accounting) when I was getting my money. She had her own sh*t to deal with. And although she’s a great editor in her own right, she’s still human – WTF does she care about me getting paid? She was getting paid, so to her, that’s all that mattered. So I bypassed Beth and I contacted accounting directly. I basically asked “where the F*** is my money?” in a nice, polite manner.

To give you some back story, as a writer at MadameNoire, you send the editor an invoice at the end of the month – you itemize all your articles and list how much each article costs. The invoice is then double-checked by accounting and they process your payment.

THESE BITCHES – ok, let me not get upset right now. I was expecting payment for my June articles in August (remember, two month delay). September rolls around, nothing. Accounting basically tells me, “See what had happened was you made a mistake on your invoice – one of your articles is priced at $50 when it’s supposed to be $40. Fix it.”

FirstOfAllBetch

What mistake? My contract clearly states that slideshows are $50! WTF are you saying, you dumb gremlin? Okay, I didn’t say that, but y’all I was thinking it. If you suspected there was something wrong with my invoice, WHY DIDN’T YOU F***ING TELL ME ABOUT IT SO WE CAN NIP IT IN THE BUD AND I CAN HAVE MY MONEY? WHY WAIT ‘TIL I E-MAIL YOU?

fro2

Remember that new contract they threw at me out of the blue? Turns out some idiot in the legal department named Patricia didn’t pass it on to the accountant. This happened to other writers as well, but I was the first one to speak up on the matter (There was even a writer who hadn’t received payment since MAY, and she didn’t even say anything!)

Y’all, can I say that I was just MORE than fed up with MadameNoire at this point?

As y’all can see, I love illustrating. For almost all the articles I’ve written for MadameNoire.com, I spend hours creating digital art to create a fun, beautiful reading experience for the readers. The only resource we had were stock photos, and we all know how much stock photos SUCK.

Example of a stock photo:

stockphotos

 

So I started creating illustrations like these for my articles:

 

The editor, Beth, loved the time and effort I put into these digital drawings:

brandestupid

 

Considering all the sweat blood and tears I put into these illustrations, I finally worked up the courage to ask Beth for compensation with this drawing:

SomeMore1

Here’s the answer I got:

MNoire

“I’ll try to get an answer to you by the end of this month,” Beth said. Blah blah blah, new boss, blah blah budget changes. Yeah, um, let me ask you … do you think she ever got back to me by the end of that month?

thinkaboutit

Exactly.

And that is why writing for Madame Noire is a f***ing nightmare and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

(Whew, if you read all this, you’re literally my favorite reader!) 🙂

 

 

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Why Writing for MadameNoire Was a F***ing Nightmare

  1. Tishamonet says:

    Thanks for the great article I love your writing. I have sent several emails to madamenoire in hopes of becoming a writer for them but to no avail. And after what you’ve went through I definitely don’t want to write for them now. You saved me lol

    Like

  2. Latonya P. says:

    Hi! I’m a Black freelance writer who found your piece on Twitter. Thank you so much for sharing your story, especially with crap like #EbonyOwes affecting Black freelancers. I’ve never considered writing for Madame Noire, but your story has persuaded me to avoid pitching them entirely. I also loved your digital drawings.

    I’m an entertainment pop culture writer. My site is new, but feel free to stop by and check it out.

    Like

    • Kimberly Gedeon says:

      Thanks LaTonya. I appreciate it so much. It really sucks, but it was very cathartic to just let it all out on my blog. I’ll be sure to check out your blog, sis! It looks great!

      Like

  3. mon1987 says:

    When I saw this post I was like omg! I’ve been catching up on madame noir! This is the same shit that happened with either ebony or essence. They weren’t paying their writers…. it’s a very shitty thing to do !!! It make black publications/businesses look crazy. (You wonder why people go on and write for other publications…… 🙄)

    I love your blatant honesty Kim. Somethings feel I could never do with staff I work with more importantly my administrative staff or most importantly my boss without getting fired by HR!

    It’s a damn shame!

    Kim keep writing! I love your blog. Keep linking sites so I can read more! You give black female writers a great name! Something to read!!! Take my stress away if only momentarily!

    Keep going Kim! Also article!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. google hack says:

    Great post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I am inspired!
    Extremely helpful info particularly the remaining section :
    ) I take care of such information much. I used to
    be seeking this certain info for a long time. Thanks and best
    of luck.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s