All Articles Tagged "urban"

Forget-Me-Nots! Favorite Moments And Episodes From “Living Single”

December 2nd, 2012 - By Drenna Armstrong
Share to Twitter Email This

"LS"

Let’s be clear: This show was the original Girlfriends and definitely lent a hand, even if indirectly, into the creation of Sex and the City.  Maxine, Khadijah, Synclaire and Regine kept up such different lives – with the help of their male neighbors, Kyle and Overton – and often had us wondering which one we related to the most.  Here, we choose some of our best moments and episodes – no order, just fun times.  Did yours make the list?

Chicago’s Urban Prep Does it Again; Every Senior College Bound

April 2nd, 2012 - By MN Editor
Share to Twitter Email This

From EurWeb.com

For the third consecutive year, every single senior at Urban Prep Academy, the only all-black, all-male charter high school in Chicago, has been accepted to college, school officials announced.

The academy also said that 83 percent of its first graduating class in 2010 has re-enrolled in a second year of college, a rebuttal to critics of the school who have charged that students aren’t always ready for college, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Critics have also suggested that Urban Prep squeezes out students with academic and discipline problems who other schools have to work with. Urban Prep officials acknowledge that this year’s senior class of 85 was almost twice that size when the boys started out as freshmen.

But Urban Prep CEO Tim King, in a meeting Thursday with the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board, vigorously denied that troubled students are forced out or encouraged to leave.

For more information on how these young brothers did it, visit EurWeb.com.

 

More on Madame Noire!

Is Diddy Launching a New BET?

January 24th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
Share to Twitter Email This

Reports say Sean “Diddy” Combs is expanding his empire with plans to launch a music-themed cable network reminiscent of the old MTV but for an African American audience. So basically a new BET, right?

The channel, called Revolt, is expected to launch 12/12/12 and is being promoted as a music and music news channel with an urban skew, and sources say the venture which former MTV programming chief Andy Schuon is involved with is well funded. Comcast will provide distribution as part of its commitment to the FCC to help launch minority owned networks. The company plans to launch 10 channels over the next eight years, including eight Hispanic or African American owned ones.

A Comcast rep didn’t confirm Diddy’s involvement but he said the company hopes to make an announcement soon. Previously, Comcast did announce plans to launch an African American-owned channel by January of 2013 so Revolt could definitely be it. Time Warner is also expected to get in on the distribution which means Revolt could land in 18 millions homes when it launches.

It will be interesting to see what the Bad Boy can do with TV.

What do you think about Diddy and this new Revolt channel? Could it be good for African American media?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

More on Madame Noire!

‘Urban’ Label Misses a Large Swath of Black Consumers

October 11th, 2010 - By TheEditor
Share to Twitter Email This

(AdAge.com) — Mention the word “urban” and marketers see a young black man with headphones, fresh sneakers and a slick cellphone, bobbing his head to a hip-hop soundtrack down a graffiti’d city street. That’s the hackneyed image of the African-American consumer portrayed in many campaigns. Marketers that assume “urban” represents the entire African-American population are missing out on other key consumer segments. Segments such as the black single mother, the black gay or lesbian, and the black lower-income earner have been overlooked by marketers and lumped together under the misleading “urban” umbrella. “There is no monolithic blackness,” said Lynne d Johnson, a senior VP at the Advertising Research Foundation. But “if you are not the Ebony or Essence reader, you are underrepresented. There are other segments within the African-American demographic that are not those or hip-hop.”

Read More…

Music Industry: How Rappers Boost Street Cred

June 16th, 2010 - By TheEditor
Share to Twitter Email This

(Business Week) –On the cover of a DVD called Hot Ice, Curtis Jackson, the Grammy-winning rapper known as 50 Cent, points an automatic weapon at the camera. He does not look happy, despite the bikini-clad model behind him. During an interview shown on the video, Jackson describes a recent run-in with a rival rapper: “I hit him. But I hit him ’cause what he was sayin’ was tellin’ me to hit him.” Later he details how he took the rival rapper’s jewelry. Boasts Jackson, who owns boxer Mike Tyson’s former Connecticut estate and has a net worth estimated at up to $100 million: “He ended up giving me two watches in order to get the chain back.”

Read More…

Corporate Snapshot: Interactive One

March 26th, 2010 - By TheEditor
Share to Twitter Email This

TAP recently ran a story on Radio One founder and CEO Cathy Hughes, who has been in the spotlight as of late because of the controversy surrounding the Performance Rights Act and the financial pressures experienced by the broadcast industry due to the recession.

Despite its namesake, it’s important to note that this publicly-traded company has more to show for itself than just radio. With over 53 stations in 16 markets, it is a dominant force in the broadcast industry but as a lesser known fact, it includes a digital division, Interactive One, and also has a 50% stake in the cable station TV One.

Although Interactive One was formed two and a half years ago, it made itself known in 2008 when it acquired Blackplanet.com (as part of Community Connect Inc) for $38 million. “It was a strategic deal for us,” said Tom Newman, President of Interactive One. “It was and still remains the largest black social networking site.”

The strategy behind the deal was to merge BlackPlanet.com’s user activity and engagement with Radio One’s marketing muscle and sales capacities. comScore estimates that the 11 year-old BlackPlanet site attracts 2 million unique monthly visitors; however, Interactive’s internal numbers reflect higher metrics according to Newman.

“Comscore undercounts the black audience,” he said. “They put that we have two million unique monthly visitors on blackplanet.com.  Our internal numbers say we have a much higher number. We’re trying to work with these companies to help them be more representative and help us more accurately reflect our audience.” Althouch comScore estimates that Interactive One sites collectively attract 4 million monthly unique visitors, the internal numbers from Omniture indicate 8 million monthly unique visitors and 8 billion annual pageviews, according to the director of strategic marketing Maria Weaver Watson.

Giant Magazine now exists online as GiantLife.com

Blackplanet is central to the division’s portfolio of digital properties which include GiantLife, Hello Beautiful, NewsOne, The UrbanDaily, and Elevat8. These properties cover everything from news and politics (NewsOne) to spirituality (Elev8) and the variation is part of Interactive’s methodology to conquer every niche of its targeted audience. “We believe that the market of African Americans online,which is somewhere over 20 million users right now, is a very diverse audience and we have to have a diverse set of products and sites to serve that audience. We have content sites that are targeted to different demographics.”

Interactive One has especially high hopes for its women’s lifestyle property, Hello Beautiful. “We think it has a lot of potential as it serves an underserved market online and we think there is a lot of running space there,” said Newman. “Even though the performances of all these sites have been great, that’s an example of a site we’re going to hope outperforms the others over the next year or so.”

Today, Interactive One contributes to less than ten percent of Radio One’s overall revenue but Newman is certain that it will continue to build upon its dominance. “Putting together Black Planet and Radio One assets, we think we’re clearly number one no matter what measurements we use,” he said. “We’ll have more and more sites continue to target different aspects of our audience.”

Radio One will release its 2009 fiscal year results and hold its annual conference call for investors on March 31st.

Interactive One has especially high hopes for its women’s lifestyle property, Hello Beautiful. “We think it has a lot of potential as it serves an underserved market online and we think there is a lot of running space there,” said Newman. “Even though the performances of all these sites have been great, that’s an example of a site we’re going to hope outperforms the others over the next year or so.”

Corporate Snapshot: Interactive One

March 26th, 2010 - By TheEditor
Share to Twitter Email This

TAP recently ran a story on Radio One founder and CEO Cathy Hughes, who has been in the spotlight as of late because of the controversy surrounding the Performance Rights Act and the financial pressures experienced by the broadcast industry due to the recession.

Despite its namesake, it’s important to note that this publicly-traded company has more to show for itself than just radio. With over 53 stations in 16 markets, it is a dominant force in the broadcast industry but as a lesser known fact, it includes a digital division, Interactive One, and also has a 50% stake in the cable station TV One.

Although Interactive One was formed two and a half years ago, it made itself known in 2008 when it acquired Blackplanet.com (as part of Community Connect Inc) for $38 million. “It was a strategic deal for us,” said Tom Newman, President of Interactive One. “It was and still remains the largest black social networking site.”

The strategy behind the deal was to merge BlackPlanet.com’s user activity and engagement with Radio One’s marketing muscle and sales capacities. comScore estimates that the 11 year-old BlackPlanet site attracts 2 million unique monthly visitors; however, Interactive’s internal numbers reflect higher metrics according to Newman.

“Comscore undercounts the black audience,” he said. “They put that we have two million unique monthly visitors on blackplanet.com.  Our internal numbers say we have a much higher number. We’re trying to work with these companies to help them be more representative and help us more accurately reflect our audience.” Althouch comScore estimates that Interactive One sites collectively attract 4 million monthly unique visitors, the internal numbers from Omniture indicate 8 million monthly unique visitors and 8 billion annual pageviews, according to the director of strategic marketing Maria Weaver Watson.

Giant Magazine now exists online as GiantLife.com

Blackplanet is central to the division’s portfolio of digital properties which include GiantLife, Hello Beautiful, NewsOne, The UrbanDaily, and Elevat8. These properties cover everything from news and politics (NewsOne) to spirituality (Elev8) and the variation is part of Interactive’s methodology to conquer every niche of its targeted audience. “We believe that the market of African Americans online,which is somewhere over 20 million users right now, is a very diverse audience and we have to have a diverse set of products and sites to serve that audience. We have content sites that are targeted to different demographics.”

Interactive One has especially high hopes for its women’s lifestyle property, Hello Beautiful. “We think it has a lot of potential as it serves an underserved market online and we think there is a lot of running space there,” said Newman. “Even though the performances of all these sites have been great, that’s an example of a site we’re going to hope outperforms the others over the next year or so.”

Today, Interactive One contributes to less than ten percent of Radio One’s overall revenue but Newman is certain that it will continue to build upon its dominance. “Putting together Black Planet and Radio One assets, we think we’re clearly number one no matter what measurements we use,” he said. “We’ll have more and more sites continue to target different aspects of our audience.”

Radio One will release its 2009 fiscal year results and hold its annual conference call for investors on March 31st.

Interactive One has especially high hopes for its women’s lifestyle property, Hello Beautiful. “We think it has a lot of potential as it serves an underserved market online and we think there is a lot of running space there,” said Newman. “Even though the performances of all these sites have been great, that’s an example of a site we’re going to hope outperforms the others over the next year or so.”

Gambling On Urban Fashion’s New Mature Vibe (TAP)

March 3rd, 2010 - By TheEditor
Share to Twitter Email This

Orisue Fall 2009 Collection

by Caletha Crawford

It’s been a rough year for the apparel industry, as by and large consumers opted to reach deeper into their closets rather than their wallets when it came time to get dressed. Across the board, designers were forced to re-evaluate their offerings and prices in an attempt to woo this new skittish, bargain-hungry consumer. The churn of new trends slowed as brands decided the best course of action was to offer familiar looks with a twist in the hopes that shoppers would be more receptive to items that would mix well with their current wardrobes. Whether it worked or whether the sameness provided would-be shoppers with further reason to continue their miserly ways, is unclear.

One thing that is apparent is it was a much more interesting year for the urban market. This segment of the apparel industry made the biggest strides, as labels raced to keep up with their maturing customer base. Fueled by a more sophisticated consumer with ready access to fashion news and information thanks to the Internet, 2009 marked a new chapter for the urban segment. “The customer has grown up in the last year more than I’ve ever seen the customer grow in the past,” said Dohnn Ball, men’s assistant buyer at the Boston-based Karmaloop clothing store. “The manufacturers know that and they’re working hard.”

In many ways, the changes in urban fashion reflect the changes within the hip-hop community that birthed it: Gone are the iced out, flamboyant rappers of the 80s and 90s as are the in-your-face logos and head-to-toe color combinations that, for years, defined the category. Today even former bad boys have cleaned up their acts. Think Puff Daddy circa 1996 vs. Sean Combs of today. Fresh to death is the look. It’s clean and refined, and the brands that stacked the most chips in 2009 were the ones that recognized this movement.

Urban’s New Spin

This design evolution has broadened the urban aesthetic. “Street is not just coming from hip-hop. It’s about other things now,” said Andre Warren, vice president of merchandising for the Magic apparel trade show, who has a ring-side seat for the styles and brands that create buzz with retailers six months before they hit stores. “That market is maturing.” Rather than donning over-sized emblems and exaggerated shapes, now the market is moving in what Warren calls “a collegiate almost prep” direction reminiscent of Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren—with an edge. The look was demonstrated most notably by the influx of sweater vests and crests in 2009.

Sam Glaser, buyer for Life and Death Clothing of San Francisco and Las Vegas, says forget about head-to-toe matching and baggy jeans. The more refined look of today, which he calls “sophisticated urban” comprises “tighter fits, complex layering, eye-catching fabrics, specialty details such as technical features or metal hardware and color balance of details like logos and accessories.”The brands that adapted to this look with more structured, sophisticated silhouettes charted the best sales in 2009. “Our customers pay close attention to fit and respond to a luxury look,” said Ball. “They pay close attention to fashion houses out there. Before, a brand could survive on graphic tees. Within the last year, tees haven’t carried the business.”

Ball points to labels like Obey, which has graduated to fitted fleece jackets, sweaters and skinny jeans, as well as 10Deep and Cooks and Castle, which have remixed their selections to include cut-and-sew garments. Similarly, Glaser says an emerging generation of brands like Orisue and Joyrich have gained ground thanks to adapting to the new urban. While the shift has presented opportunity for up-and-coming lines, many urban stalwarts have been able to capitalize on the evolution as well. Tim Bess, men’s fashion director for the Doneger Group, a fashion retail consulting firm, points to brands like Sean John, Coogi and Rocawear, which he says offer trend-right merchandise. Bess says FUBU’s relaunch in the fall will have a similar aesthetic, while Glaser says upcoming collections from Karl Kani are also in this vein.

Crossover Appeal

In addition to making fashion sense, designing apparel with a wider appeal also makes good business sense. Just as hip-hop and rap stars have found their greatest success with tracks that pair them with R&B artists, fashion houses have found that folding in outside influences—found anywhere from the inner city tastemaker to high-end fashion gurus—have afforded them a wider customer base. Think Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Years ago, rappers were derided if they opted for poppier tracks; now songs that combine styles are the bread and butter for all manner of former thugs. Similarly, gaining new consumers is the best route to growth in urban fashion, though it’s not without its hazards in a market that puts a premium on authenticity. “On some level, brands might lose some credibility [when they become mainstream], but the upside is bigger for them in terms of market share and penetration and gaining credibility in different arenas,” said Warren.

Likewise, brands from mainstream America are on track to pick up steam in this new urban market, according to Bess. The preppy look as well as the woodsmen and lumberjack aesthetics permeating all of men’s wear has opened the door for Americana dressing that’s prime to foster the reemergence of lines like Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica—or at least brands that are able to emulate those designs. “These are iconic American heritage brands,” stated Bess. “You may not see the brand itself, but street is being inspired by them. I’m already seeing the urban kid wearing Ralph [Lauren] again, which is fabulous.”

Urban’s expanding market and influence also includes men’s wear, which is experiencing a trickle-up effect as the hip hop kids of yesterday grow into men with educations, jobs, relationships and mature tastes. In response to what he saw as an under-served market, fashion mogul Russell Simmons bowed men’s wear brands Argyle Culture and American Classics. “We see these brands as the evolution of the Phat Farm customer. Compared to when the brand started in `92, those young men are men now,” stated Myorr Janha, senior vice president of marketing and public relations for Rush Communications and Simmons Design Group. “After a certain point your tastes change.”

The timing for the lines, which both launched within the last two years, was perfect given that Simmons had long stated he wanted Phat Farm to be seen in the same vein as Ralph Lauren, the label that epitomizes cleaned up, preppy attire. With Argyle Culture, which is sold exclusively at Macy’s and Wal-Mart’s American Classics, Simmons continues that aesthetic for what he terms “urban graduates.” While any comparisons to Polo might be welcomed, Janha said the lines offer an edge in terms of their treatments and color play. He hopes the new year brings more lines into men’s wear which can strike a chord with former young customers who are looking for something a little different.

The Numbers Game

The recession this year obviously impacted the fashion market, increasing competition as consumers looked to mainstream labels for better pricing. In response, brands like Sean John, Akademiks and Encye have all lowered their prices, according to Bess. The pricing strategy of fashion labels and their reaction to consumer concerns played a big role in the success of fashion lines in 2009, according to Ball of Karmaloop. “A lot of brands have improved their retail price. The streetwear customer is more price conscious than ever,” he said. “He knows which brands offer the look for less.”

Fast fashion chains like Uniqlo, Topman and Forever 21’s Heritage line were all positioned to lure this customer, according to Bess. These stores, along with staple brands like Levi’s, are appealing to a customer who is less label conscious than in the past. “That kid is not brand loyal at all. It’s all about a look not a brand,” he said. “Fast fashion is really going to influence the urban and street kid because even if they don’t have a lot of money to spend, they can get a lot for their money.”

Russell Simmons' Argyle Culture Collection Spring 2009

No longer churning out flamboyant styling, the top designers stacked chips by sampling a wider range of looks for a broader appeal.
Look for price to continue to play a role in 2010, as labels deal with budget-conscious consumers with high expectations. Insiders predict it will be another year of shifting fortunes as retro brands re-emerge and more underground labels make their mark on a wider audience. One thing is for sure, things aren’t slowing down. “In young men’s, the trends are a lot faster than they used to be,” said Jahna. “So as a retailer, you have to be really quick and on top of your game to keep the younger customers in your stores.”

Get the MadameNoire
Newsletter
The best stories sent right to your inbox!
close [x]