According to a July 2010 poll, 46% of African Americans mostly use their phones to access the Internet, 41% for e-mails, and 33% for Facebook. Despite the breadth of information accessible online, these numbers suggest that members of the Black community are more concerned with entertainment. World music artist David Minott aims to change that by calling millions of African Americans to action in an effort to show them how they’ve been underusing the power at their disposal.
With today marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Jamaican born-and-bred musician announced the launch of his “Our Silence Speaks Volumes: The Black Out” campaign. Over the course of the next two weeks, Minott will urge people of color to turn off their cell phones for 24 hours starting on the first day of Black History Month, Feb. 1. According to the US Bureau of Census, the black community has an excess of $800 billion in expendable income annually, but still lacks the power of ownership.
“The silence campaign speaks on what’s missing in the black community,” says Minott, who performs under the name David M. “Blacks are the largest users of tech, cell phones, text messaging, and have a strong Internet presence as a group.”
As part of the campaign, Minott penned “Lest We Forget,” which not only serves as its anthem but a poignant reminder of how far African Americans have come. “I was a part of Martin Luther King’s struggle and saw the beginning efforts of him trying to unite our people,” says the father of four. “Many years after, I saw history made with the first Black president and wanted to celebrate their combined accomplishments, so I wrote the song ‘Lest We Forget.’”
Trying to resonate with large audiences is part of the plan, but Minott asserts that the ultimate goal is “to stimulate the minds of young people to be aware of the contributions of fellow African-Americans.” But what about the day after? Does the extremely fickle nature of the online community spell issues for Minott’s vision of empowering the Black community? “No, I want the young people here and abroad to have an understanding of the many contributions that people of color make globally,” he asserts. “We hope to attract others—in the upcoming years of promoting this campaign—who feel the same as we do about our history, our culture, and our contributions.”
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