Category: Media/Internet

Spotify to Host Sound Up Bootcamp for Aspiring Female Broadcasters of Color

(Image: Shutterstock)

by Sequoia Blodgett via blackenterprise.com

With successful podcasts going mainstream like 2 Dope Queens, a show that was recently picked up by HBO, Spotify sees a clear market opportunity when it comes to this new space for content creation. Even with the success of the show, a recent study showed that only 22% of podcasts are hosted by women, and the number’s even smaller when it comes to women of color. Spotify wants to change that.

The company is hosting Sound Up Bootcamp, a weeklong intensive program for aspiring female podcasters of color. The event will take place June 25–29, 2018, at Spotify’s New York City offices and Spotify is hand-selecting 10 attendees who will learn about the art of podcast creation, from initial ideation to editing, producing, and marketing from experts in the field.

Spotify is covering all expenses from the five-day workshop, which will include panels, and activities around podcasting, led by experts and professionals. Travel to New York City, six nights of hotel, and breakfast and lunch each day are all included.

According to a recent release, attendees will have the chance to pitch their podcast ideas to a panel of experts and professionals on the final day and the top three pitches will have the pilot process funded, up to $10,000. All expenses for the week will be paid by Spotify.

Training for the week will be led by radio and podcast veterans Rekha Murthy and Graham Griffith. According to Spotify, the two hold combined experience of decades working with the industry’s top shows in both radio and podcasting. They want to help discover new voices, and aid podcasters in reaching new, large, and loyal fan bases.

Spotify is specifically targeting anyone who self-identifies as a woman of color, is passionate about podcasting, and has a great idea. They do not require prior experience, in fact, they are leaning toward first-time and amateur podcasters. “We’re looking for the best ideas,” they said in a statement. Attendees are required to participate in all five full days of programming, as well as after-hours events on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, including mixers and dinners.

All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 10, 2018.

The post Spotify is Looking for New Female Podcasters of Color appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Acquires Weather Channel

Byron Allen (photo via thereelnetwork.com)

by Cynthia Littleton via Variety.com

Adding another pillar to his growing TV and film portfolio, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has reached a deal to acquire cable’s Weather Channel in a transaction valued at about $300 million.

Entertainment Studios is buying the Weather Group, parent company of the cabler and the Local Now streaming service, from Comcast and private equity giants Blackstone and Bain. That group purchased Weather Channel for $3.5 billion in July 2008. The digital operations of Weather Channel were acquired in 2015 by IBM in a deal pegged at around $2 billion.

“The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives,” said Allen, who is chairman-CEO of Entertainment Studios. “We welcome the Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division. The acquisition of the Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets around the world.”

The Weather Channel, which made its on-air bow in 1982, is one of cable’s most well-known brands but its linear prospects have been challenged by the ubiquitous availability of weather-related data via digital sources. Nonetheless it’s a big step for Allen’s company, which already operates eight linear TV channels including Pets.TV, Comedy.TV and Cars.TV that target niche audiences. Weather Channel will be the most widely distributed outlet in Allen’s portfolio.

“We are excited to join Entertainment Studios, and we are especially proud to be part of one of the largest emerging global media companies,” said Dave Shull, CEO of Weather Channel. “Byron Allen’s purchase of our innovative and forward-thinking organization will increase the value we bring to our viewers, distributors, and advertisers.”

Allen’s Entertainment Studios has also been moving aggressively in the independent film arena in recent years with the launch of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures. Last year the fledgling distributor saw respectable box office returns last year from the thriller “47 Meters Down” and the Western “Hostiles.” Allen Group is the sole owner of Entertainment Studios.

Source: http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/byron-allen-weather-channel-acquire-entertainment-studios-1202733511/

Emmy Award-Winning Actor/Writer/Producer Lena Waithe Covers April Issue Of ‘Vanity Fair’

by Danielle Jennings via hellobeautiful.com

The last year has been a whirlwind for actress/writer/producer/creator Lena Waithe. After making history by being the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (for the Netflix hit Master of None,) creating the new Showtime hit series The Chi and co-starring in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Ready Player One. Waithe is living her best life and now she can add Vanity Fair cover girl to the list.

You might as well get used to seeing and hearing about Lena Waithe for years to come, as the young Hollywood power player is breaking down boundaries and providing top-tier work with each project. As she covers the April 2018 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Waithe gets candid about her career, her future and being a queer POC.

Excerpts from Lena Waithe x Vanity Fair interview:

[On how life has changed since her Emmy win]: “How has the Emmy changed me? It got me all these meetings that I go in and say I’m too busy to work with you—you should have hollered at me. You can take my call when I call you about this black queer writer over here who’s got a dope pilot, or this person over here who’s got really cool ideas, or this actress who’s really amazing but nobody’s seen her.”

[On being a black writer in Hollywood]: “The hardest thing about being a black writer in this town is having to pitch your black story to white execs,” she says. “Also, most of the time when we go into rooms to pitch, there’s one token black executive that sometimes can be a friend and sometimes can be a foe. I wonder if they think it makes me more comfortable, if that makes me think that they’re a woke network or studio because they’ve got that one black exec. It feels patronizing. I’m not against a black exec. I want there to be more of them.”

[On being a black gay woman in Hollywood]: “Being black and gay, having dreadlocks, having a certain kind of swag, and dressing the way I do,” she explains, she is sometimes told by certain well-meaning admirers or fashion wannabes, “ ‘That’s dope, you’re cool.’ I don’t feel validated by that. . . . I don’t want to be White. I don’t want to be straight. I don’t want to blend in. . . . I try to wear queer designers who happen to be brown and makin’ shit.”

In addition to her other projects, Waithe also just got the greenlight for her TBS series Twenties which is loosely based on her early years in Los Angeles and tells the stories of three black women making their way in Hollywood.

Source: https://hellobeautiful.com/2987441/lena-waithe-covers-april-issue-of-vanity-fair/

New ‘Wakanda Forever’ Comic Book Series to Introduce the Dora Milaje to Rest of Marvel Universe

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Okoye (Danai Gurira)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

via thegrio.com

The Dora Milaje and their black girl magic are being turned into a comic book series thanks to the enormous success of the Black Panther movie. Now we’ll get a deeper look into the lives of the fierce women warriors holding things down in the world of Wakanda.

According to the Hollywood ReporterMarvel Entertainment has enlisted the help of Nigerian award winning writer Nnedi Okorafor to pen the tale of the all-female bodyguard who are the backbone of Wakanda and ferocious protectors of King T’Challa. Okorafor looks forward to bringing the story to life.

“I’m super excited about writing this storyline. Powerful disciplined African women with futuristic spears who faced their shortcomings and changed a nation? Oh heck yeah, I’m so there,” Okorafor told Vogue, which initially broke the news of the new series. “Fans of the Dora Milaje can look forward to seeing them out in the world beyond T’Challa and the Wakandan throne’s shadow. They’ll get to see the Dora Milaje come into their own, while teaming up with the unexpected.”

Okorafora says the storyline will center around the Dora Milaje’s life outside of the Wakanda Kingdom. Can you imagine the kiss-ass ladies kicking it in Manhattan? The story will venture  outside of Wakanda when a threat born in the African nation ends up surfacing in the New York City borough.

If you watched Black Panther then you were likely captivated by the strength and overall badass-ness of the all-women Wakandan army, Dora Milaje. What you may not know is that the five-women crew–led by Danai Gurira‘s character Okoye–is actually based on a real tribe of fighters known as the Dahomey Amazons.

There will be three stand-alone issues on newstatnds and in comic book stores: Wakanda Forever: Amazing Spider-Man, illustrated by Alberto Jimenez AlbuerquerqueWakanda Forever: X-Men and Wakanda Forever: Avengers.

The publisher, editor Will Moss said in a statement, “We’re lucky to have Nnedi on board for this — she’s an incredible novelist, and her recent Black Panther: Long Live the King digital series proved that she’s a great comic book writer too. She’s come up with a crazy-tough problem for the Dora Milaje to solve — but if anyone can, it’s these crazy-tough women.”

Source: https://thegrio.com/2018/03/17/wakanda-forever-introduces-the-dora-milaje-to-the-rest-of-the-marvel-universe/

Tiffany Haddish’s Hilarious Groupon Story Lands Her Spokesperson Gig and Super Bowl Ad

Tiffany Haddish announces she is new spokesperson for Groupon (image via youtube.com)

by Natasha Bach via fortune.com

Tiffany Haddish’s love for Groupon is sending her to the Super Bowl. The Girls Trip actress went viral last summer, when she told Jimmy Kimmel a story about taking co-star Jada Pinkett-Smith and husband Will Smith on a Groupon swamp tour while filming in New Orleans (watch below).

The hilarious re-telling, which included the revelation that the Smiths had no idea what Groupon was, apparently spread quickly through the ranks of the discount e-commerce site. The company decided that they wanted to work with the actress and offered her a role as spokesperson. Now, she’ll be featured in a series of ads for the company, including its first Super Bowl commercial in seven years, which will air during the fourth quarter of the game.

According to Groupon’s head of marketing for North America, Jon Wild, when the company looked into Haddish, they not only found that the actress is a bonafide fan of its service, but that she is actually in the top 1% of most frequent purchasers. “She knows our product better than a lot of Groupon employees,” Wild said. “She could name what she’d done, the experience she had and how much she’d saved.”

That expertise not only landed Haddish the spokesperson gig, but also effectively made her an honorary employee. Groupon has also given Haddish her own section of the site, given her access to the employee app, and “put some Groupon bucks in her account.”

Source: http://fortune.com/2018/01/16/tiffany-haddish-super-bowl-ad-groupon/

Black-Owned Company Acquires Essence From Time Inc.

– Deal reestablishes ESSENCE as a 100% Black-owned independent company –

– Black female-led ESSENCE executive team to have ownership stake in the brand –

via businesswire.com

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Essence Ventures LLC, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce, today announced its acquisition of multi-platform media company Essence Communications Inc. from Time Inc. ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks will continue at the helm of the company and will also join its board of directors. In addition, the all Black female executive team of ESSENCE, including Ebanks, will have an equity stake in the business.

“This acquisition of ESSENCE represents the beginning of an exciting transformation of our iconic brand as it evolves to serve the needs and interests of multigenerational Black women around the world in an even more elevated and comprehensive way across print, digital, e-commerce and experiential platforms,” said Ebanks. “In addition, it represents a critical recognition, centering and elevation of the Black women running the business from solely a leadership position to a co-ownership position.”

Through the Essence Ventures’ investment and resulting incremental growth opportunities, ESSENCE will focus on expanding its digital businesses via distribution partnerships, compelling original content and targeted client-first strategies. In addition, the brand will expand its international growth by planting its rich content ecosystem, including the flagship magazine, digital properties and successful live event franchises, in more global markets with women who have shared interests and aspirations.

Continue reading “Black-Owned Company Acquires Essence From Time Inc.”

Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Video Directed by Ava DuVernay Enlists A-List Cast

Jay Z released his video for his single “Family Feud” last night exclusively on Tidal, although it was more than a standard music video premiere. Much like anything else he and Beyoncé create, it was a cultural event to punctuate 2017 with the most inclusive, woke A-list cast you will ever see in a music video.

Helmed by Ava DuVernay, the seven-minute-plus video is a short film, serves up some sci-fi, futuristic realness that can very well be a taste of what’s to come in the celebrated director’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Joining JayZ, Beyoncé and the heiress to their throne, Blue Ivy, includes an inspiring roster of actors from every part of the color spectrum: Michael B. Jordan, Trevante Rhodes, Thandie Newton, Jessica Chastain, Irene Bedard, Omari Hardwick, David Oyelowo, Emayatzy Corinealdi, America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds, Henry G. Sanders, and Storm Reid — who is the star of Wrinkle in Time. Rounding out the cast is the “founding mothers”, which feature Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, Janet Mock, Brie Larson, Constance Wu, Niecy Nash, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who, as the video shows, are different women from all walks of life who are enlisted to change the country’s constitution.

Even though there is a cinematic scope to the video, which was co-written by Jay-Z and DuVernay, it is highly personal for the Grammy-nominated rapper, who uses the track from his critically acclaimed 4:44 album to confess his sins to his wife and all-around queen of everything, Beyoncé. Where Beyoncé used her visual album, Lemonade as a platform for working through her personal issues with Jay-Z, he used 4:44 to respond and tell his side of the story. In other words, it’s an artistic way of saying, “Yea, I messed up.”

Jay’s track serves as an atonement and one key lyric sets the tone for the short film: “nobody wins when the family feuds.” Of course, he is referring to his familial relationships, but it goes beyond that and applies it to feuding within the country and the world. There’s layers of meaning in the short that starts off with a poignant James Baldwin quote and goes into a Godfather-meets-Game of Thrones scene, moments of war, moments reflecting today’s volatile political climate, and a group of empowering females looking to build a utopian rather than dystopian future.

DuVernay took to Twitter to share her thoughts, inspiration and behind-the-scenes photos from the video.

To read more, go to:  Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Directed By Ava DuVernay Enlists A-List Cast | Deadline

R.I.P. Don Hogan Charles, 79, Lauded Photographer of Civil Rights Era

The photographer Don Hogan Charles in New York in the late 1960s. Among his better-known photographs was one taken in 1964 of Malcolm X holding a rifle as he peered out the window of his Queens home. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

by  via nytimes.com

Don Hogan Charles, who was the first black photographer to be hired by The New York Times, and who drew acclaim for his evocative shots of the civil rights movement and everyday life in New York, died on Dec. 15 in East Harlem. He was 79.

His niece Cherylann O’Garro, who announced the death, said his family did not yet know the cause.

In more than four decades at The Times, Mr. Charles photographed a wide range of subjects, from local hangouts to celebrities to fashion to the United Nations. But he may be best remembered for the work that earned him early acclaim: his photographs of key moments and figures of the civil rights era.

In 1964, he took a now-famous photograph, for Ebony magazine, of Malcolm X holding a rifle as he peered out of the window of his Queens home. In 1968, for The Times, he photographed Coretta Scott King, her gaze fixed in the distance, at the funeral of her husband, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. Charles resisted being racially pigeonholed but also considered it a duty to cover the movement, said Chester Higgins, who joined The Times in 1975 as one of its few other black photographers.

“He felt that his responsibility was to get the story right, that the white reporters and white photographers were very limited,” Mr. Higgins, who retired in 2015, said in a telephone interview.

Even in New York, historically black neighborhoods like Harlem, where Mr. Charles lived, were often covered with little nuance, said James Estrin, a longtime staff photographer for The Times and an editor of the photojournalism blog Lens. But Mr. Charles, through his photography, provided readers a fuller portrait of life throughout those parts of the city, Mr. Estrin said.

“Few people on staff had the slightest idea what a large amount of New York was like,” he added. “He brought this reservoir of knowledge and experience of New York City.”

Malcolm X (Credit: Don Hogan Charles)

Exacting and deeply private, Mr. Charles came off as standoffish to some. But to others, especially many women, he was a supportive mentor.

“He’s going to give you the bear attitude, but if you look past that he was something else,” said Michelle Agins, who met Mr. Charles while she was a freelance photographer in Chicago and he was working in The Times’s bureau there.

The two reconnected when she joined The Times as a staff photographer in 1989.

“When you’re a new kid at The New York Times and you needed a big brother, he was all of that,” she said. “He was definitely the guy to have on your team. He wouldn’t let other people bully you.”

Mr. Charles took Ms. Agins under his wing, and she was not alone. “I’ve had many women photographers tell me that he stood up for them,” Mr. Estrin said.

That may be because Mr. Charles knew the hardships that came with belonging to a group that was underrepresented in the workplace.

At one Thanksgiving dinner decades ago, Ms. O’Garro said, he tearfully described the pain he felt on arriving at a New York City store for an assignment, only to be asked to come in through a back entrance. She added that while covering the civil rights movement in the South, he would often check the tailpipe of his vehicle for explosives.

Despite those obstacles, Mr. Charles went on to have a long career at The Times, covering subjects including celebrities like John Lennon and Muhammad Ali and New York institutions like the United Nations. In 1996, four of his photographs were included in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art on a century of photography from The Times.

Daniel James Charles (he later went by Donald or Don) was born in New York City on Sept. 9, 1938. His parents, James Charles and the former Elizabeth Ann Hogan, were immigrants from the Caribbean, Ms. O’Garro said.

After graduating from George Washington High School in Manhattan, he enrolled at the City College of New York as an engineering student before dropping out to pursue photography, although at the time it was just a hobby. He worked as a freelance photographer before joining The Times in 1964. He retired in 2007.

Mr. Charles never married and had no children. No immediate family members survive, though he was close with his three nieces and one nephew.

To read full, original article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/25/obituaries/don-hogan-charles-dead.html?_r=0

New Study Shows News Outlets Skew Towards Negative Portrayals of Black Families, Contrary to Government Data

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

via blavity.com

According to the Washington Post, a recent Color of Change and Family Story study found that the news media has had a significant hand in negatively skewing the perceptions of black families.

The study’s researchers reviewed over 800 local and national news pieces published or aired between January 2015 and December 2016, sampling major networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC as well as major print publications such as The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The study — conducted by  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign communications professor Travis L. Dixon — found that national news outlets were more likely to show black families as broken and dysfunctional while white families were depicted as possessing social stability.

These images are not only distorted, but contradict government data.

Dixon found that black families represented 59 percent of poor people portrayed in media, but actually only make up of 27 percent of Americans living in poverty. In contrast, white families only make up 17 percent of the poor representated in media, but make up 66 percent in reality. As far as criminal depictions go, black criminals represented 37 percent of the media’s criminals while only 26 percent of those arrested on criminal charges are black in real life. White criminals represented 28 percent the criminals portrayed in the media, but make up 77 percent of real life’s crime suspects.

The report argues that constant depictions of black people living in poor, welfare-dependent and broken homes due to absentee fathers has created a negative image of black families in general.

“This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems,” said Dixon.

Further, these depictions can affect black families on a systematic level. Dixon noted that the images can spark political rhetoric and the powerful buying into these narratives are what causes Congress to “gut social safety net programs,” bosses to implement harsher work and drug testing requirements and general disdain for welfare programs.

The study also notes that during the Great Depression, white families suffering from poverty were presented in the media as having run into “hard luck,” and that there were campaigns to “help them through tough times.”

However, over time, the media and political leaders have “worked to pathologize black families in the American imagination to justify slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, widespread economic inequity and urban disinvestment — as well as to gain and maintain political and social power,” argues Nicole Rodgers, founder of Family Story.

And this effort has borne terrible fruit, according to Color of Change’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, who said, “There are dire consequences for black people when these outlandish archetypes rule the day: abusive treatment by police, less attention from doctors, harsher sentences from judges.”

Overall, the report concluded that in order to make real change in the news industry, stricter sourcing requirements will have to be implemented, journalists must be encouraged to provide social and historical context and the editorial standards process should include people of color.

Source: https://blavity.com/color-change-study-news-outlets-promote-false-negative-portrayals-black-families-reality

“Insecure” Actor Jay Ellis to Serve as 2018 American Black Film Festival Celebrity Ambassador; Submissions Open Until February

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The 22nd American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will include an exciting lineup of film screenings, events and innovative programming, and will return to Miami from June 13-17, 2018.  The week will include several new experiences, including Smartphone movie screenings, a master class on film financing, music-focused sessions and new networking opportunities for festival attendees.  ABFF continues to be dedicated to introducing emerging content creators of African descent to the industry at large and is recognized as one of the leading film festivals in the world.

Actor Jay Ellis will serve as the 2018 ABFF Celebrity Ambassador. Annually, the festival showcases dynamic content by and about people of African descent from around the world and consists of five competitive categories: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Short Films, Web Series and Smartphone Originals. Submissions are now open and below is a list of film submission deadlines, Awards and direct submission links:

*Narrative Features:
Regular Submissions Deadline: February 15, 2018
Early Submissions Deadline: December 31, 2017

Audience Award–Best Narrative Feature (Prize TBD)
http://www.abff.com/submissions/narrative-features/

*Documentaries:
Early Submissions Deadline: December 31, 2017
Regular Submissions Deadline: February 15, 2018
Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary (Prize TBD)
http://www.abff.com/submissions/documentaries/
Continue reading ““Insecure” Actor Jay Ellis to Serve as 2018 American Black Film Festival Celebrity Ambassador; Submissions Open Until February”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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