Black Media Still Matters

Why Black Media Still Matters

This is true in nearly every area of media. There are fewer black films in Hollywood and fewer marketing dollars and outlets for their distribution, which means fewer opportunities for black actors, producers, writers, directors, and others. Television shows with predominantly black casts, whether comedic or dramatic, are all but extinct–despite the existence of TV One and BET. Black-owned newspapers and radio stations struggle for profitability and against extinction. And during our most recent recession, African Americans were forced to consider that a number of their publications would no longer exist. Black magazine brands, including black enterprise, operate with a simple, unforgiving mandate: Adapt or die.

Why should any of this matter to you? Because perhaps more than any other Americans, we as black people need our own voice, to tell our own stories, not just as acts of creative expression or entrepreneurial pursuits, but as indispensible means of achieving and defending our rights and freedoms. The gains we’ve made and those yet to be made in areas such as voting rights, access to public education and accommodations, political power, economic resources, and equal protection under the law are all at risk if our ability to tell our stories, to speak for ourselves, is curbed. Simply put, it has never and will never be enough for us to be limited to providing the talent and serving as consumers of media, as is the case for much of today’s content featuring black people. We cannot effectively advocate on our own behalf without media outlets, distribution channels, and businesses that we own and control.

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