Editor in Chief of JET Magazine, Mitzi Miller (pictured left), apologized today for her off-the-cuff Facebook remarks about singer Fantasia’s (pictured right) struggle with illiteracy, reports Madame Noire.
“I apologize for the lack of sensitivity shown in my FaceBook post. It was a thoughtless comment made during a moment of frustration. It was unprofessional and not representative of the JET mission, which is to uplift. I regret letting my emotions get the best of me. I am truly apologetic.”
Mitzi Miller, Editor in Chief, JET
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As reported in Richard Prince’s Journal – isms blog on TheRoot.com, Fantasia voiced her anger and frustration over JET’s decision to use a 10-year old photo of her for the cover, considering it unprofessional and disrespectful:
“‘This saddens Me!!! It is clear that this picture is 10 Years Old and JET Magazine puts it on the Cover!! After I send them the NEW LOOK AND DIRECTION. . SAD!!! I WANT A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM JET. Now im not sure if the interview is correct. SEE!! America they and use me as they crash Dummy BUT NO MORE. IF I DONT STAND FOR SOMETHING ILL FALL FOR ANYTHING.”
After an initial silence, Miller responded to the criticism in a firm manner:
“JET magazine is honored to have Fantasia grace the cover of its March issue.
It is unfortunate that Fantasia is displeased with the cover selection, however JET stands by its decision. As standard editorial practice, JET consulted with Fantasia’s team, but reserves the right to select the image we deem as most appropriate for JET’s brand and reflective of the cover story sentiment.
“JET continues to root for Fantasia’s success and encourages her fans to pick up the new issue.”
While people debated whether that response was dismissive or pitch perfect, Miller took to her personal Facebook page to let people know how she really felt:
“The fact that I wasted an hour of my workday writing a press release to address an issue created by a person who cannot even read it is just… #whyiwannaBahousewife.”
*Needle scratch* Say what, now?
Note(s) to Ms. Miller: Facebook is not a journal. You are in a highly visible position. Word gets around.
Fantasia revealed her battle with illiteracy to millions of people in her 2005 memoir, Life is Not a Fairy Tale, which she dictated to a freelance writer. As reported at the time by USA Today:
The 21-year-old R&B singer says she’s signed record deals and contracts that she didn’t read and couldn’t understand. But the hardest part, she said, is not being able to read to Zion, her 4-year-old daughter.
To mock that battle because Fantasia dared to demand that she be presented in a manner that she deemed appropriate, as any other celebrity would, can only be described as condescending and elitist. Let’s be real, who would want a ten-year-old picture representing a cover story about shedding the past and coming into their future? It makes no sense. The very obvious subtext is that because Fantasia has struggled with illiteracy, she has no right to be “uppity.” And that kind of logic — or talented tenth rhetoric — is something that we should expect from racist publications, not one of our own.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Miller received high praise for featuring slain teen, Jordan Davis, on JET’s first cover of the year. Recalling their fearless, media activism when placing Emmett Till on the cover after he was brutally murdered in 1955, Miller made it clear that JET takes its responsibility to shed light on issues pivotal to the Black community very seriously.
Well, illiteracy is one of those issues. And it is unfortunate, knowing how dedicated Miller is to uplifting and empowering the Black community, that she finds herself on the wrong side of this incident.
To date, there have been no reports of disciplinary action to be taken against Miller — if any. Time will tell if the apology will be enough.