AP photo captions suck

It’s an odd little peeve of mine, but I am constantly mystified by the captions on Associated Press photos that feature young black celebrity males. First, let’s look at a list of recent corrections to news photos posted to Yahoo. The usual stuff, fixing spelling errors and sports scores. But take a look at this photo of Bono leading a Chicago event around his usual causes of forgiving debt and fighting AIDS in Africa. He’s joined by Ashley Judd and Chris Tucker. Only the photo caption gets all the names right except Tucker’s, who is identified as Chris Rock.

I know, I know. It’s totally understandable. Though Rock has never done a Jackie Chan film, and Tucker has that super-high voice and has never done HBO, maybe you can mix up these two comedians. But think back to a few weeks ago when singer D’Angelo was arrested. Now, D’Angelo’s real name is Michael Archer, and that was on the police report and easy to verify. Yet, when Yahoo’s AP news feed posted a photo to accompany the wire story, they ran a picture of DeAngelo Wilson. Wilson is an actor, not a singer; His first name is spelled differently; He’s from Ohio, not Virginia; He’s taller, got no facial hair, and also hasn’t sold a few million albums, but he did appear in Eminem’s "8 Mile"

Could it just be coincidence? Yeah, I guess. But it’s all over the place. Most photo corrections are spelling fixes, but then you get things like Scottie Pippen being misidentified. At the very least, it’s a sign of a remarkable lack of cultural literacy amongst this group of photojournalists.