Category Archives: Journalism

Huria Search – Search the Global Black Community

Editors Note: As of March 2016, after a 5 year run, Huria Search’s run as a standalone site has ended.  The Search engine and the related content has been folded into


Introducing Huria Search:  Search independent websites that deliver meaningful content written by or about, the global Black community.

As the webmaster of, I’ve been an active observer of web-based content, of interest to my visitors, for almost 15 years.  I share what I find in my eNewsletter, website, social media and by word of mouth.  Despite vast improvements in the capability of technology, and the advent of social media, the ability to find quality, conscious, content written for the or about the Black community has become much more difficult.

As the largest Black oriented websites became absorbed into large corporate entities, there has been a trend toward the creation of content heavily focused on scandal, particularly celebrity scandal.  For example, here are just a few titles of articles recently published and promoted by large corporate, Black oriented, websites:

  • 83-Year-Old Caught TRICKIN’
  • Amber Rose After Kanye West Apology: “He Was An A$$hole”
  • Jessica Simpson Announces Pregnancy Beyonce Style
  • Kim Kardashian Wedding: E! Reveals The Truth Behind The Scenes
  • Justin Bieber Fans React On Twitter To Paternal Suit Allegations
  • Reggae Star Vybz Kartel Denied Bail In Murder Case
  • Top 5 Most Notable Sexual Harassment Cases

The primary goal of a publicly traded company is to maximize shareholder wealth.  As a result, the type of content generated is designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience.  Any consideration for variety, the promotion of negative stereotypes and imagery, or a potential adverse impact on Black people is purely incidental.

I don’t mean to suggest that this type of content should not be produced at all.  The problem is that search results tend to favor large corporations, and as a result, their type of content dominates.  Large corporate entities can buy sponsored links, pay professionals to perform search engine optimization and utilize other tricks to game search engine results to skew in their favor.

Over the past year I’ve observed an accelerated trend in search results favoring large corporate sites.  The impact of this trend is that content generated by smaller websites, regardless of quality, is pushed so far down in the search results that it is never discovered.

I blogged about this recently after seeing how search engine results for a popular African American author has changed over time (read the blog post).

Search results matter because this is how most sites attract new visitors.  There is a direct correlation between search engine ranking and website traffic.  This condition raises the barriers of entry for new independent websites interested in producing serious content and jeopardizes the survival of sites that already do.  I discussed this issue in a recent interview (read interview)

Huria Search was born out of an effort to combat this condition.

Huria Search uses a customized and curated version of the Google search engine.  I believe you will find the results of a “Huria search” a refreshing improvement over conventional search engine results when looking for content generated for or about the global Black community (read more about why Huria Search was created). was launched, November 5th 2011.  If you believe in Huria Search’s goals, please share this message and the Huria Search website with others.

It is up to us, as individuals, to promote and support what we believe is important.  I hope Huria Search will become a tool to help us do that.  If you see ways to make the Huria Search site better please let me know.  Comment below or send me an email at is not a revenue generating site — you’ll find no advertisements or sponsored links.  Our goal is to promote and support independent websites to contribute to the global Black community in a meaningful way.

Troy Johnson

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Find information on authors and books

Tavis Smiley is no good for Black folks!

Actually, I believe the exact opposite, strongly.

I used the provocative title to draw attention to this blog post.  My hope is that you’ll continue to read the rest of what I’ve written and be moved to support the Brother’s efforts.

I freely admit that I was not always a Tavis Smiley fan.    When presidential candidate, Barack Obama declined to participate in Smiley’s 2008 State of the Union meeting; Tavis openly criticized Obama.  I felt Smiley’s reaction was a mistake; perhaps driven by pettiness or even jealously.   My opinion was reinforced earlier this year when an angry Al Sharpton criticized Tavis for misquoting him regarding Obama’s need for a Black agenda.

In retrospect, I don’t believe Tavis was being petty.  Tavis was simply not going to give Obama a pass because he was Black.  Many Black leaders apparently felt it was more important to get the man into office first, then deal with our issues later.  Well later has come and still too few Black leaders are willing to criticize the President.  Tavis continues to hold the President accountable with it comes to Black folks.  To do this publicly, as a Black man, takes courage, and for that Smiley has my respect and admiration.

But the real meat of Tavis’ impact comes from his institution building.

Tavis Smiley has been in the media for over 20 years; from his political commentary on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, to BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley (the one saving grace of BET if you ask me), to Tavis Smiley on PBS (over 1,000 broadcasts), to Tavis’ new radio program on PRI Smiley & West (download the podcast from iTunes), Smiley’s record of addressing important issues in our community and bringing important people to the fore front is prodigious and sorely needed.

As a book seller I’m most familiar with Tavis’ Publishing company SmileyBooks.  SmileyBooks led by publishing icon Cheryl Woodruff is a co-publishing venture with Hay House.  Tavis has written or edited over a dozen books himself, which is impressive enough, but the legacy he provides by publishing others carries greater importance.

Here are just a few of the titles released by SmilelyBooks:

Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through By Iyanla Vanzant
Iyanla is an best selling author going back to 1998.  The story of Vanzant’s personal journey toward peace from personal struggles and tragedy will resonate with many people.  Iyanla’s down to earth and humorous style is makes her books even more appealing.

Black Business Secrets: 500 Tips, Strategies, and Resources for the African-American Entrepreneur by Dante Lee
Dante has a business savvy which is rare for someone his age.  His business skill is matched by his consciousness which is quite rare for any business person.  Old and young can learn from this dynamic young Brother’s book.

Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
Given the tremendous impact that media and marketing has on all of us; the issues addressed in this book make it required reading for Black folks.  Burrell founded Burrell Communications, one of the first Black owned advertising agencies.  Heed Burrell’s warning — he knows first hand.

Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, a Memoir by Cornel West
In 2009 Dr. West explained to why he wrote his memoir, “…when the prostate cancer hit 8 years ago. I thought and thought about it and decided maybe I could tell my story to help somebody, so they could see how the power of love and education in my life had transformed me from a gangster with raw rage.”

I hope you are inspired to buy and read some of these or other titles from SmileyBooks.

The video below was shot during the launch party for SmileyBooks in 2007.   Since it was a completely positive event in the Black community it did not get much coverage from the major media

Ellis Cose: An Author You Should Know

Author Ellis Cose (l) with childhood buddy Verdeen White of Earth White and Fire

Ellis Cose’s most recent book, Bone to Pick [2005], is a wide-ranging look at a number of societies—the United States, Ghana, South Africa, East Timor, and Peru among them—and their ways of coping with cruelty and pain.

Aso check out Cose’s very compelling interviews with Tony Brown and C-SPAN: