California State Assemblymember Isaac Bryan recognized Sampay’s bold contributions to Black media in Los Angeles.
By Jason Lewis
As Black History Month was closing and Women’s History Month was approaching, members of the California Legislative Black Caucus recognized unsung heroes from the districts that they serve. Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, whose district includes the Crenshaw area, honored local journalist Tina Sampay, who is known as “Slauson Girl” on social media. As the owner of her own media outlet, Sampay has taken on political and social issues that impact local Black people, and she promotes the positive aspects of the communities that she serves.
“It was an extreme honor to have my work recognized not just by my community, but also by the assemblyman,” Sampay said.
Black politicians and Black media outlet owners tend to be significantly older than both Bryan and Sampay, and younger adults tend to use more modern methods to connect to people. Like many young journalists, Sampay has veered away from traditional print and has focused on social media.
“He’s able to understand and appreciate the capacity of my work in more ways than our older Black folks in politics,” Sampay said.
While Sampay is using more modern methods, she does make it a point to respect and recognize the people in her industry who came before her.
“With us being younger folks, we are really standing on the shoulders of the older folks who paved the way to do the work,” she said. “So I always want to make it a point to honor those Black folks in media and politics who came before me. Because they knocked down doors and paved the way for us to do this work.”
Sampay’s online moniker came from the area where she grew up, which was near Slauson Avenue and South Broadway. She was in and out of foster care during her childhood, which is similar to Bryan’s upbringing, and it led to her attending multiple high schools. She attended Dorsey High School and Hamilton High School before graduating from Inglewood High School. She was still in foster care as she left for college.
“The foster lady dropped me off at the airport,” she said.
Sampay attended Humboldt State University in Northern California, where she majored in Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies with a minor in journalism. She was the vice president of the Black Student Union and a member of the debate team.
Sampay’s brand of media is very bold as she speaks her mind on political and social issues that impact Black people. That boldness came from her experiences in college.
“I was in a small White town, and there were only a few Black people,” she said. “But I found my voice by writing for the campus newspaper. That was my first instance of being bold as a Black writer. The confidence to do something like this came from me writing for my school’s newspaper.”
Sampay has not shied away from speaking her mind on controversial issues, even if it means that she ruffles some feathers.
“If you’re going to do it, you have to be all in,” she said. “I think the boldness comes from the experiences that I’ve had using journalism to advocate for Black people. There’s a lot of pushback even now with Blacks speaking on our issues, but it’s better now after George Floyd. But doing this before it was popular took a level of boldness. I think that Black people should not be gaslighted into silence.”
Before leaving college Sampay had already made the decision that she wanted to own her own media outlet and focus specifically on “hyper-local news coverage for South Central being that it’s a marginalized community in the larger L.A. landscape,” she said.
As Sampay was building her media outlet, she freelanced with several Black-owned publications, including L.A. Focus, BET, and TheGrio, and her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Standard Newspaper.
Sampay’s work can be found on her website, www.slausongirl.com, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. She also has a podcast.