Ernest Owens
Year
2019
Chapter
Position
Ernest Media Empire, LLC, CEO

Ernest Owens is an award-winning journalist and columnist for Philadelphia Magazine and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. Ernest covers a variety of social issues regarding race, LGBTQ, and pop culture. As an openly black gay journalist, he has made headlines for speaking frankly about intersectional issues in society. In July 2016, he made a viral Tweet calling out superstar Justin Timberlake during the BET Awards. The tweet got a response from Timberlake that prompted a nationwide discussion on cultural appropriation. For the past two years, his extensive reporting on racism in the LGBTQ community has gotten national attention as he revealed acts of racial discrimination in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. His coverage was cited by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations as reviving a decades long issue in the community that finally led to local government intervention, an anti-discrimination bill being unanimously passed, and the city's pride rainbow flag to now include black and brown stripes to acknowledge racial inclusion.

At 27 years old, Ernest has already used his wide media platform to spread awareness on several important issues. He's a proud graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied communication and public service. He has championed LGBTQ issues statewide as the former Vice President of Equality Pennsylvania, public access advocacy on the board of Philadelphia Community Access Media, diversity in the newsroom as board governor of the Pen & Pencil Club, the nation’s oldest press club. His work has been featured on NBC News, NPR, CNN, MTV News, BET, and other media outlets. He’s a member of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, Online, News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Association of Black Journalists. His work has been awarded a Gold Circle Award by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, a Finalist Award from the Tribeca Film Festival, the 2016 Trailblazer of the Year Award from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and several others. He won the 2017 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism for his coverage on racial discrimination in the LGBTQ community and Movement of the Year by the Philly Geek Awards. He was named the 2017 Emerging Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.