by Kim Osorio
started 9/10 finished 9/16
I stopped reading Source magazine about 5 or 6 years ago. I started to notice that there were a lot more half-naked women and all of the fashion coverage was geared towards men. Now I understand that hip-hop is widely considered to be male-oriented, but there are also quite dedicated female fans as well. The stories were starting to suffer and the music reviews were unreliable. After reading Straight from the Source, I finally know what was going on.
If you follow hip-hop news, then you know some of the background info already. At the time that Osorio joined the staff, the magazine was owned by founder Dave Mays and his not-so-silent partner Ray “Benzino” Scott. Over the years, as the Source gained more prominence in the industry, Benzino became less silent and began to use the magazine as a personal platform to promote his own rap career (that never happened, cuz he can’t rap). His very famous “beef” with Eminem, 50 Cent, and the entire Interscope family is legendary (read the book for more info).
As uncomfortable as I was reading the new directions that the magazine was taking, it was exponentially more uncomfortable for Kim Osorio working there as its Editor-In-Chief. Being a journalist and working in an environment that encouraged her to not be neutral, but to take sides. Being a woman and having your superiors constantly ask about your sex life. This book details her tenure with the magazine and the toll that it took on her personal life and her journalistic integrity. It ends her seeking (and winning) a sexual harassment lawsuit against the magazine.
I learned a lot from her story and disagree with a lot of the choices she made. She stayed with that company much longer than I thought she should have and some of her personal dealings with men were a little questionable. I have a strict no dating at the job policy (which is easy for me, because most of the men I work with are gay!) and if I were in her position I would consider rappers part of the job. It is just too easy for those situations to backfire on you. Just my opinion. The ending was a little abrupt and I would have liked to know more about her experiences during the sexual harassment trial and how she picked up the pieces after. Maybe there is another book in the works.