A man sitting in front of an Apple laptop with his hands under his chin. Behind him are layouts of newspaper pages.
Arrick Wilson, a sophomore journalism major, serves as sports editor of the Commonwealth Times and started a magazine called The Black Creative. (Kevin Morley, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

Meet-a-Ram: Arrick Wilson, CT sports editor and founder of The Black Creative

Wearing many hats, this journalism major’s creative spirit and desire to show meaningful representation always shines through.

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Editor’s note: Meet-a-Ram is an occasional VCU News series about the students, faculty, staff and alumni who make Virginia Commonwealth University such a dynamic place to live, work and study.

Arrick Wilson is many things. He’s a sophomore majoring in journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, the sports editor for the Commonwealth Times, and founder of The Black Creative. While he wears many hats, Wilson’s love of creating and emphasis on representation always shines through.

We talked to Wilson about his current endeavors and goals for the future.

What got you into sports reporting?

I've always been a big fan of sports. My dad is probably my main source for that because dads, they sit around and watch sports. But my daddy was a hard worker – what he did when he came home was turn on ESPN. And so that's where I really got a lot of that sports journalism [interest].

After that, I didn’t grow out of sports, but I kind of let it go [and] I ventured out to other different things. But I came right back to it.

I just feel like a kid again sometimes when I'm talking about sports, because I used to run around the house emulating announcers. Both my brothers used to play basketball games and while they’re playing the game you can overhear me saying, “Oh he goes in … .” 

Sports has always been the biggest thing for me, and then I became a sports journalist.

What are the biggest challenges and highlights to working in the sports editor role at the CT?

Highlights are that I get to basically do what I've always wanted to do. And it's crazy because I started pretty young, so everybody else is older than me. When I'm in the newsroom, I gain a lot of insight from other journalism majors. And like I said, I'm gaining experience that I'll probably need later on in my career.

Probably the lowlights are that it's a job in the end. It's a job and it gets rough sometimes, especially when you've got a full schedule and then you have to figure out what the newspaper should cover for sports. And then there's plenty of sports at VCU, so you have to make priorities. Now, it gets a little rough sometimes, but I think I've had my time to just figure it out.

What do you most enjoy about covering sports? Are any sports your favorite to cover? Any types of stories you particularly love to write?

Well, my favorite sports are basketball and football. I've covered football before, but not for the CT, but the CT does basketball. I like to do game recaps a lot.

I like writing profiles because I think people believe that athletes aren't humans sometimes. And I'm a really big person on representation, so I feel like it's pretty cool when we give these athletes platforms for them to not only talk about themselves but talk about the situations they've been through because they're not getting a lot of that. They're usually getting told to just play their sport and stay in their lane. It's good to see when athletes have thoughts on certain things in their life and even their life stories. One of my favorite articles I've ever done was on Toibu “Toibi” Lawal, a basketball player at VCU who is from London. It was just getting to know him, and he has a cool story.

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a sports writer and photographer?

My biggest accomplishment as a sports writer was getting an award last year. I earned first place in sports column writing from the Virginia Press Association. It was pretty big for me because I was a freshman, and I was already doing the stuff I wanted to do.

For photography, it’s just taking pictures. I really enjoy capturing those glimpses of life with photography.

You also started a magazine called The Black Creative which is centered around Black artists and perspectives. What inspired you to create this publication?

I started it because I started getting more into photography, especially fashion photography and editorial photography. I was trying to look for examples of magazines from people that look like me. And I can probably count on my hand how many there were. Like I said, I'm a big person on representation because representation matters in all life forms. I basically was just thinking, “There's nothing really out there for me to view as an example, so why don't I just do it myself? I am a journalist. So what's really stopping me?” So that's what I did.

It's getting a little buzz, just a tiny buzz right now, but really, this is going to be centered around a lot of representation of Black people, creatives, artists who probably wouldn't get that same attention if it was for a different magazine.

What has been the most rewarding part about working on The Black Creative?

You put the work in on your own. You're over here countless nights just trying to figure out what you want to put out there. Just seeing the fruits is great, even if I'm seeing like little grapes. I'm seeing grapes with 100 likes on one post to 200 likes on another. Just letting other people see that there's people that look like me on this campus. That’s especially what I want to do with the series I created called “Young, Gifted and Black,” which is where I go around campus and I just take pictures of Black people at VCU. So, I think just doing that and seeing people actually like, “Oh yeah, this is cool,” or even just myself saying, “Oh, yeah, this is pretty freaking cool.”

What do you hope to do after graduation?

Honestly, I just want to be somewhere where I can create and do what I want. Whether that's a photographer or sports journalist at your local news station, whether it's just a beat writer, not even covering sports, but just somewhere where I feel comfortable in my area and creating. That's one of my big things, just creating somewhere. 

How would you describe yourself with one “un” word and why?

Unlimited, because I feel like I do so much. I'm a photographer. I'm a journalist. I'm an artist. I'm creative. I feel like there's no limits to what I can do, and there's no limits to what I will do.