The Source – A Reaction Story

Talk of Dave Mays and Benzino being fired from The Source magazine have
run rampant through the Hip-Hop community. For years Hip-Hop
enthusiasts have been sounding off about The Source’s content, the
ethics of certain staff members and whether the magazine has lost its
luster or not. Either way, everyone has an opinion and people are
speaking out.

“When I first heard that Dave Mays and Benzino had been fired, I had a
mixed reaction. I was initially really happy because even though I
wasn’t real hip to the magazine’s financial problems or the sexual
harassment charges [Benzino was facing], I didn’t like how the two of
them were hurting a lot of the magazine’s actual content,” said William
Ketchums, Hip-Hop journalist. “The personal background behind the whole
anti-Eminem campaign seemed to take away any validity from their
accusations against him, and their squabble with the editor-in-chief in
the Little Brother situation did the same.”

The notorious “Benzino-and-The-Source vs. Eminem” debacle is one that seems to have upset or at least annoyed readers who had faith in the magazine.

“Benzino really OD’d when it came to his beef with Eminem,” said Ki, a Hip-Hop fan from Harlem. “I liked reading The Source but it seemed like after he dedicated a whole issue to dissing Eminem, everything went straight to hell in terms of credibility. The content was still technically good, and I tried to stick with them [The Source] but Benzino and his craziness lost me.” Not placing the blame entirely on Benzino, Ki added, “I think Benzino gets a brunt of the blame mainly because he’s a bigger name. Really, anyone on that staff who allowed him to slander, misuse finances and harass people is just as guilty.”

With media comes great responsibility, including keeping an objective standpoint and having quality content. One young writer had a few suggestions.

“I just don’t think it was right for him [Benzino] as president and CEO to use The Source and his vehicle to launch his own personal vendetta against someone just because he didn’t like them. There is a time and a place for things like that. It’d be different if he was using his position at The Source to champion a worthy cause, like increasing awareness about domestic abuse or actively working to find solutions that would cut down inner- city violence, or showing Black people that there is another way to live and make money outside of hip hop and sports,” said Stephanie Vaughn, Hip-Hop journalist. She added “Not to say that if this was the case, he should switch all the gears and make it all about those things…it is a Hip-Hop mag of course, but I’m saying there are ways to make issues known, especially when you are in a position to speak to a large number of people who will listen to you.”

Who will the people listen to now? With a plethora of publications to choose from, all hope is not lost.

“It’s not like The Source is going to be missed,” said Ki. “Yeah they pioneered the movement and they’ve produced great talent, but the new Hip-Hop Bible is XXL. Plus, if XXL ain’t your speed, you can cop Elemental, Urb, The Ave, or whatever other magazine you can find at Fat Beats or somewhere like that.”

Despite a few missing staff personnel, The Source is not gone and they still have a fighting chance.  

“ I think the affiliation with Black Enterprise [as investors and heads of the board of directors] is a good thing, especially since Hip-Hop isn’t very much of a Black enterprise on a grand scale anymore. We don’t own Hip-Hop anymore…we do it, but we don’t own it. I hope the affiliation helps them step their game up and that they start using better standards to judge the quality of their output. I think The Source can recover, but it’s going to take a while to regain the lost respect and I think that’s their biggest challenge right now,” said Vaughn.

Hope of a Source magazine recovery is alive as Jeremy Miller, former COO of The Source (during it’s first tenure) has returned as the new president and CEO. He is quoted in a Jan. 20 article as saying,  “I am confident with new leadership, along with valued members of the current editorial department and staff that we will wholeheartedly bring our collective expertise, journalistic talent   and passion for Hip-Hop to the table to execute and distribute an exceptional Hip-Hop ‘bible’ for the readers.”

Keep hope alive.

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