Every month of the year is Black History Month because Black history is American history. Black slaves like Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner and many others who began revolutions and pushed through degrading labels with the bravery of a thousand soldiers are some of the founding fathers and mothers of the unyielding nature of Black Americans. There are far too many Black inventors and scientists to name who’ve created everyday household items, industrial machinery, toys, games and even mathematical equations to aid in the Apollo 11 spacecraft landing on the moon, among many other feats. Countless accomplishments attained over hundreds of years stand as symbols of persevering brilliance. And the mastery continues today, championed by Black athletes like Gabby Douglas, Usain Bolt and LeBron James; Black leaders in office like Kamala Harris and Barack Obama; and Black innovators gracing their college campuses with academic excellence like University of Miami’s Julian Crosby.
Crosby, a sophomore and Jacksonville, Florida native, has amassed multiple successes and titles as a Black male at a predominantly white institution. Over the course of his first two years at the U, Crosby has thrived in student government, as a President’s 100 ambassador and as an integral What Matters To U leader. Crosby is a Ronald A. Hammond full-ride academic scholar. He’s an associate producer and host on UMTV’s Black-led news station The Culture, where he also works in the control room and studio operations as the ground manager, runs floor cameras and lights, edits videos and formulates episodes. He’s also an on-air talent for a segment on The Culture called Hella Shade, UMTV’s social media chair and founder of the UM National Association of Black Journalists’s online publication Gravity Magazine. With a major in motion pictures and a minor in international studies, Crosby wishes to venture into creative screenwriting. His ultimate goal is to develop film and television pieces focusing on global politics and international issues.
Crosby holds a passion for comedic entertainment, as well. He is determined to create a piece of work that exhibits Black cultural messages like HBO’s “Insecure,” a popular Black entertainment television show that covers serious and important concepts about the social and racial issues that come with being Black in the U.S. “One day, I hope to become an executive producer, starting off as a staff writer and then producing a scripted comedy following the footsteps of Issa Rae with ‘Insecure,’” Crosby said. His respect for the show stems from its relatability and the fact that it isn’t overly corny while attempting to portray a social justice persona for its entirety like Kenya Barris’s “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish.” Therefore, while ensuring a positive story is told for the future of Black television rather than the traumatic experiences our ancestors lived and prevailed through, Crosby’s objective is to promote the good of Black history and livelihood and that it is more than just blood, tears and captivity. “I want to focus on entertainment about Black peace rather than trauma,” he said.
Crosby’s aspirations first sprouted when he was a child. Because his father served in the military, he and his family moved around and lived in many different places, which led him to experience contrasting environments and people. Thanks to his nomad-like upbringing, he learned to see people for what makes them unique and appreciate their uniqueness. He cherished those qualities rather than minimized them. “Meeting all these people made me want to create a safe space where everyone could feel comfortable,” Crosby said, and this feeling grew into his idea to found and create Gravity Magazine.
Like many minorities experience, studying at a PWI makes feeling at home and safe difficult. There are indeed school clubs, organizations, events and appreciation weeks, but compared to the overwhelmingly white college atmosphere, the Black voice is often intentionally or unintentionally shaded by the massive populace. Inspired by his observations, Crosby developed the school’s first Black-centric magazine. In light of the hard times UM’s Black students faced — upon the racist slandering of the UM College Republicans over Zoom, the UM students who attempted to organize a Trump rally on campus, the racist students who blatantly and ignorantly protested a Black-led demonstration for Black Lives Matter with their own Blue Lives Matter gathering and the many other injustices that took place throughout the summer uprising — Crosby saw that his community had feelings to express but no appropriate outlet to do so. Many Black students have experienced forced silences in classrooms, in offices or while talking to school officials when bringing up campus racial inequities, and a number of students have been targets of racist acts, both in person and online.
If it cannot be fathomed that Black Americans have built and continue to strengthen this nation without aid or privilege — through just pure talent, perseverance and intelligence — then there is still a lot of American history that needs to be taught. Everyone must recognize and remember the importance of Black history and this country’s future that Black people will generate. Many of UM’s Black students who you may call your classroom peers, roommates or friends all have culturally unique stories and journeys that carried them to UM. And when these varied people surpassed all obstacles, aced those exams and were successful in their admittance into one of the nation’s top 50 universities, you better believe they’ve made their mark. Gravity Magazine gives Black students at UM the opportunity to express themselves in the uniquely Black way that no other publication on campus has ever before.
“This summer made me realize that I didn’t want to wait for my turn. Black people have power in their voice, and I wanted to create something for us, by us,” Crosby said. “Gravity aims to write about Black love, people, culture, entertainment, everything Black.” In regards to Black self-love, he confessed to spending a lot of his youth “not fully accepting” the color of his skin: “I’m not positioned to want to celebrate myself because of this society.”
Black people need and deserve protection, respect and applause. Safe spaces are mandatory. Gravity not only offers a safe space but also commends and uplifts Black skin, cultures and people. For all young Black kids who feel out of place, ugly, undesirable, not good enough or too Black, Gravity’s community grants them an opportunity to express and heal from such toxic thoughts. This outlet was a well-needed one on UM’s campus in 2020.
With a head full of dreams, aspirations and goals on top of maintaining good grades as a full-time college student with honors, Crosby’s tasks sound dreadfully tedious, but to him they are necessary. “I fully commit my time to what I really want to commit to. At the end of the day, you have to choose what you really want to put your time into. What actually elevates you after college is what matters,” Crosby said. “I manage my time very well. Wednesdays are all about time management and finding ways to decompress. After that, I’m ready to get back to work.” And of course, the people who’ve helped and continue to stand by his side aren’t forgotten. “We receive feedback from professor Tsitsi Wakhisi in the School of Communication. She’s been a tremendous help. I’ve also gotten advice from Jada Graham, executive producer of UMTV’s The Culture, and Morgan Threatt, president of NABJ,” he said. “I credit all the people I work with. Gravity is made up of the most brilliant photographers, videographers and writers, and this magazine wouldn’t exist without their contributions. I’m indebted to all my friends, peers and colleagues.”
words_rachelle barrett design_olivia ginsberg photo_julian crosby