Name: Tiffany D. Cross
Location: Washington, D.C.
How We Know Her: The Clark Atlanta University alum is the founder of The Beat DC, a daily newsletter that reports on political affairs with an emphasis on diverse perspectives and coverage.
Why We Chose Her: The Beat DC’s circulation has increased 5000% since its launch in 2016, all thanks to Cross’ strategy and vision.
What’s Next: Growth. Cross is hyper-focused on expanding the brand’s reach.
If you find yourself at the crossroads of being torn between race and politics, you just may want to get acquainted with Tiffany D. Cross. The founder and managing editor of The Beat DC described her daily newsletter and news website as a national platform intersecting politics, policy and people of color. Starting such an endeavor and seeing it become successful more than qualifies Cross to be named to this year’s Creative Class.
“The reason I created [The Beat DC] is because there are a lot of political rags that highlight leaders that frequently leave out our voices,” she said. For example, Cross pointed to how CNN credited a group of white freshmen Congresswomen with being what it called the leading voices supporting the president being impeached. However, Cross said, anyone paying attention would have known that Black women and women of color pioneered the calls for impeachment.
“It’s exhausting,” Cross said. “You will start to feel invisible.”
Cross said she began The Beat DC in 2016 after working in news and media for about 20 years.
“I felt empowered that I had the experience to create something like this,” she said. “I took a leap of faith and created it.”
Initially, The Beat DC was supposed to be just for local folks inside the Beltway but she quickly realized she had a national audience. She said it took working 18-20 hour days, but that was much more gratifying than putting in the same work for a larger media company where a person of color may find themselves being “the only,” as she put it.
“These are things that prepared me for the struggle,” Cross said before explaining how so many people who look like her struggled through many parts of their careers and didn’t have the luxury or privilege of well-off parents helping them navigate different corporate spaces.
“I had to learn by osmosis,” she said. “I didn’t let anyone define me.”
That’s when she said she “had to start trusting my own voice” to make serious inroads in the profession of her choice.
“I actually earned a seat at the table… I pulled up a chair and seated myself there because through decades of experience I earned it,” she said.
And that seat was very important to her, especially in the larger context of Black women, who she said are routinely disrespected in the workplace.
“It was important for me to create a space editorially where people would not feel … intimidated,” she said.
It was also important for her to be her authentic self with The Beat DC, too.
“We are of the culture. We’re not guests of the culture,” she said.
“When we speak our truth, it can make many people feel uncomfortable,” she added. “And I got really comfortable making people feel uncomfortable because I will always speak my truth because I know there are millions of other Black people out there who understand exactly where I’m coming from and exactly what I’m saying. And I’m always talking to them.”