All Articles Tagged "african american media"
Christina Norman’s stock went up when she was first hired by Oprah Winfrey to head her cable network OWN. Soon thereafter, however, Norman’s name became even more popular in industry circles when news broke that she was asked to leave OWN in the face of dismal ratings.
Norman followed up her CEO gig with a surprising position: that of executive editor of Huffington Post’s Black Voices. For many, it seemed like a step down for the woman who was once the president of MTV and credited with turning VH1 around. But she has proved to be a secret weapon for HuffPo and its monstrous momentum as a top content site. “At the heart of it, I’m a content person. I just needed to wrap my head around content for an online audience,” Norman told AdWeek.
Since joining the team in October, BlackVoices has registered some strong numbers according to AdWeek. “Daily visitors have surged by 73 percent to 318,000, while monthly pagesviews have spiked by 19 percent. And much like the mothership, BlackVoices has embraced being a social publisher, with referrals from social networks climbing by 42 percent.”
Since BlackVoices is such a stronghold in the online Black news sphere, it is primed to grab up the dollars dedicated to African-American marketing and advertising. And that’s where Norman’s impact is most felt.
Sometimes I think Black folks are in a no win situation. We are damned if we do and we are damned if we don’t.
Take for instance, Debra Lee. Man, the last couple of years have been very bad for her. After taking over the helm in 2005 as H.N.I.C from Robert Johnson, who sold the company and the integrity of BET to Viacom, Lee has been charged with taking all the original programming and transforming it into a steady diet of offensive stereotypes and cheap entertainment for the TV watching audience. And after successfully producing one of the worst Michael Jackson tributes ever during the even more shame-worthy BET awards, Lee topped herself by following through with the premieres of Frankie and Nette and the Tiny and Toya shows.
The backlash came swift. Letters and blog posts were written, anti-B.E.T songs were produced and boycotts were organized. Folks around the blogosphere expressed their disdain for BET and its usage of hyper sexualized, misogynistic, materialism under the flagship of Black entertainment. They pleaded with Lee to do us a solid and start producing more relevant programming, which presents Black folks in a more positive light.
Hearing the concerns, Lee and BET havebeen trying to get its act together, albeit slowly. Recently it has taken a new approach to improve the brand by researching what their viewers wanted to see. Of course, the answer was more family-oriented programming. In the last decade or so, the black family has been largely missing from prime time and more than anything, viewers wanted to bring back the golden era of black television which is best represented byThe Cosby Show. So being good stewards to the Black community, BET created a lineup of more family-oriented shows such as “Reed Between the Lines” and “Let’s Stay Together.”
And so far it appears to be working as “Let’s Stay Together,” a romantic comedy involving a contemporary relationships that debuted in January, has averaged around 3 million viewers, helping the network score its biggest ratings in history. And the premiere of “Reed between the Lines,” a new show starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Tracee Ellis Ross doing their best Cosby Show impersonation, has pulled in solid numbers since its debut. It seems that things are starting to turn around for the station, and more importantly Lee, who has certainly taken a beating in the Black press. Not so fast.
Despite BET’s noble attempt to change the face of Black entertainment, its wildly popular sister-network VH1 continues to capture the attention of Black America. It first started out with shows like Flavor of Love and I Love New York and has now expanded into Basketball Wives, Basketball Wives LA and Love & Hip Hop. Both Wives shows and Love & Hip-Hop have been a ratings bonanza for the station. The network released stats showing that the season finale of Basketball Wives LA drew over 4 million viewers. And the second season premier of “Love & Hip Hop” scored equally high in the 18-49 demographic, making it the most watched episode out of the two seasons. In short, the tawdry agenda of seeing black folks backbiting and backstabbing, which is taboo on B.E.T, has become perfectly acceptable must-see TV on VH1.
(Reuters Health) – Few media stories on cancer venture into issues of death, dying and end-of-life care — and outlets directed at African Americans are particularly unlikely to do so, a new study suggests. Historically, African Americans with advanced cancer have been more likely than whites to opt for aggressive treatment, and less likely to want hospice care. The goal of hospice care is to improve quality of life for terminally ill people, treating their pain and other physical and psychological symptoms. There’s also evidence that hospice care, which is usually provided at home, does not speed death — and in some cases, may help people live longer than aggressive cancer treatment would. But doctors often don’t bring up options for end-of-life care — even those caring for people with advanced cancer, said Jessica M. Fishman, the lead researcher on the new study.
(Huffington Post) — This week marks another historic milestone in black media, with the launch of Bounce TV, the nation’s first-ever, free broadcast television network marketed exclusively to African-American audiences. Founded by entertainment industry luminaries and businessmen Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III, Andrew “Bo” Young III, television executives Ryan Glover and Jonathan Katz and filmmakers Rob Hardy and Will Packer, the channel targets African Americans primarily between the ages of 25 and 54 with 24-hour programming that includes movies, live sporting events, documentaries and inspirational faith-based programs. ”It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities when we approached by Ambassador Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III and Ryan Glover. They had this idea and this concept that was past its germination stage,” said Packer, the network’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer. “They came to myself and Rob and said, ‘Listen, this is what we want to do. This has the potential to be historic. We want you guys to be apart of this launch, first African-American broadcast network. We want you to bring the same energy and perspective and the same marketing that you have brought to your projects that have been successful.’ And we said, ‘You know what, just the potential of a project like this, how could we say no? How could we not be apart of it?”
(Washington Post) — I loved television growing up. It was the first place I saw a great representation of African Americans in environments different from mine. I watched TV, and it made me feel something. How many products can make people think, feel, cry and take action? That was so powerful to me. So when I would hear people say that I should follow my passion, I knew I was passionate about being in a medium that can do all of that. After business school, I decided to go into brand management with Clorox and Coca-Cola to understand marketing and, more importantly, to understand how to influence a consumer’s behavior to drive business results.
(The founder of the migthy gossip site Mediatakeout.com is now applying his business savvy to a reality web series called “MediaTakeOut Presents: First Date.” Fred Mwangaguguhunga (his name is Kenyan) is working iwth Fisher Kligenstein Films to produce the “PG-rated” show. As one of the most popular gossip sites on the web, avaraging 300 million page views per month, expanding the MediaTakeOut brand was a no brainer, Mwangaguguhunga told BlackEnterprise.com.
Production on 52 episodes, which range from 6-10 minutes has already wrapped and will roll out weekly on the site. Mwangaguguhunga believes that the show will be successful not only because of MediaTakeOut’s built-in audience but also because the 18-25 year old demographic wants to consume more video content online.
“You look at all the demographics—the under-25 market is watching less physical TV on a television. They’re watching more on their computer, on YouTube, on Hulu, on iTunes,” he told Black Enterprise. “The question is which company is going to be best suited to take advantage of it. We’re coming in early and making aggressive steps to be that company.”
(EUR Web) — Steve Harvey and Endemol USA are developing what is being described as a “comedy show with talk show elements” that would feature the entertainer as host of a format that mixes his best-selling book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” and syndicated radio program, Steve Harvey Morning Show. With NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution on board, the show is set for a fall 2012 launch in syndication and will also feature Harvey as executive producer along with Rushion McDonald. Harvey, also host of the syndicated “Family Feud,” is aiming to bring his comedic sensibility to the show, which will focus on relationship topics, including parenting, workplace, body issues, co-workers and more, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
By Dreux Dougall
You might call these people visionary artists, as they are able to craft their media communications so well. You might call them thieves in the night, because they are able to steal your attention so quickly. But we call them “multimedia mavens”: the top African-American writers, TV personalities, activists, speakers, and techies that dominate their fields. In their mission to broadcast their work into your homes, onto your phones, and into your lives they have used social media, radio, publishing, television and more — truly, to use an old phrase, “any means necessary.” These 10 stars have rocketed to the top of the list of people you must watch in the coming years for their creative and intelligent use of multifarious media forms to uplift and entertain the masses. These are the Top 10 Black Multimedia Mavens to Watch.
Novelist, Political Writer, Blogger & TV Pundit
“While I enjoy working in multiple platforms (blogs, books and television), I love the immediacy of writing online,” the multi-talented media maven told The Atlanta Post. “It’s a really great feeling when I highlight a particular issue in my columns and hear from people who say they wrote a letter to a member of Congress, or signed a petition or gave money to a cause because I highlighted it in my work. On days when I hear that I feel like I’ve done my job and maybe, just maybe helped contribute something positive to the world.” This is the mission of Keli Goff: to bring change to the world one blog post or television appearance at a time. Goff set her sights on being a political pundit and writer back in 2008, and has seen great success as the author of the best-seller “Party Crashing.” This ground-breaking tome chronicles the rise of Obama’s youth supporters and opened doors for her as an analyst on shows like “Anderson Cooper 360″ and “The Dylan Ratigan Show.” Her biggest accomplishment so far? Finishing her exciting first novel, “The GQ Candidate,” extending her media reach into the field of fiction.
(HBCU) — The fledgling HBCU Network and members of the Congressional Black Caucus will meet in Washington later this month to generate interest in what will be the first television network dedicated solely to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The brainchild of HBCU alum and former BET executive Curtis Symonds, the Atlanta-based HBCU Network will be a “full-fledged 24/7, 365 days a year sports, edutainment and lifestyle network.” “The time has more than come for something like this,” said Symonds. “Right now, Hampton has the largest NASA program in the country, and North Carolina A&T has one of the best engineering departments in the country. How many of our children know things like that? That’s what this channel will be all about — putting all our varying shades on display, while casting us in our best lights.”
One of reasons cited for why African Americans choose not to pursue a career in technology is that they rarely see people who look like them involved in computing. I can certainly identify with the research. In a career that spans 25 years as a software engineer, I can count on one hand the number of African Americans I have worked with during that time.
While it is true that African Americans are severely under represented in computing, there are role models in technology that can help our young people to identify with these fields. The African American community must do a better job of not only showing our young people current role models, but we must also do better at informing our young people that Africans as well as African Americans have played a role in the evolution of the computing industry. This is key to closing the digital divide, and traditional Black media can play a significant role in bringing this information to our communities.
As a black man who believes in supporting Black-owned businesses I have patronized all forms of traditional Black media most of my adult life to include networks such as BET and TVOne, print magazines such as Ebony and Essence, as well as local, national, and satellite radio. With the exception of XM Radio’s The Mario Armstrong Show, which focuses on helping folks to embrace a digital lifestyle, and Black Enterprise magazine there is scant mention of the of technology and its importance in the lives of African Americans.
I do not believe in complaining about a problem, I believe in taking action. I wrote to newspapers as well as magazines and suggested that space be allocated to provide this critical information to the black community. I offered to provide the information free of charge as a service to the community and I made the case that at this point in our history, making sure our people embrace technology as we move forward in the 21st century is CRUCIAL to our survival – of this, there is no doubt.
Most of the organizations that I wrote simply did not respond. A few others responded with a “thanks, but no thanks”, and a couple offered me the opportunity to bridge the gap. This is simply not good enough. What is the reason for the resistance? How do we expect our young people to view technology as important if we are not discussing it in our media? Why do most of these outlets not consider the topic of technology just as important as finance, spirituality, or health?
Most often when there is a mention of technology in Black media it is coming from a consumer perspective. National publications may make mention of a great new iPhone app that you can purchase, but there is no mention of the 2 sisters at Spelman College who won the AT&T sponsored mobile application development competition or that Morehouse College hosted a National Business Plan competition that was focused on students submitting smart phone application ideas. And even when they were mentioned in a few outlets, there is not another such story for weeks or months. We need a steady diet.
Those 2 sisters and the young men who participated in the competition at Morehouse could provide wonderful role models for our youth. We have the role models, what is lacking is the distribution of this information to our communities. What is lacking is the coverage of these technology-centric stories. Who better to fill this void than our beloved traditional black media.
Kai Dupé is a doctoral student at Pepperdine University where he is conducting research on Why African American Males Are Underrepresented in Computing. Kai can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his website at www.