Whether written, broadcast, or spoken – the media is a powerful force that often shapes the minds our society. It subconsciously impacts the psychological development of black children, while influencing everyday decisions of black men & women.
Today, the black-owned media space is almost nonexistent due to “corporate takeover” or partnership with mostly white-owned companies. This adversely affects the perception of black people since often times we are misrepresented.
In the words of Dr. Boyce Watkins, “no matter how well-intended a partnership might be on the surface, the truth is that when the hard decisions are being made and that white editor comes into your office to tell you that your article is too radical, you have no choice but to stand down.”
If the decline of black-owned media continues there’s no telling what the future may hold for the perception of African Americans. Check out this list of companies that are no longer or never was black owned but identifies with the black community.
#1. Essence Magazine
In 2013, Essence magazine editor Constance White was fired as corporate overseer. According to White, Essence was being pushed in a direction that she felt was designed to dumb down the black woman in America, focusing more on fashion and beauty tips than more serious issues of the day. It’s safe to say that Essence magazine now represents the black woman that white people would like for them to become.
#2. Ebony Magazine
In 2011, Ebony magazine was bought out by JP Morgan Chase. The announcement marked the end of a 69-year period in which the company was family-owned. Last year, Ebony received backlash for using a cracked photo of the Huxtables (a black family) in an effort to demean Bill Cosby over sexual assault allegations.
#3. XXL Magazine
XXL magazine, owned by Townsquare Media, is touted as the new voice of the hip-hop generation.
#4. Huff Post: Black Voices
Huff Post: Black Voices, originally known as Blackvoices.com, is owned by Arianna Huffington. This website has writers from different race addressing issues within the black community. Huffington, a pale skinned white woman, came under fire in 2012 when she said Michelle Obama wasn’t black enough. Here’s a look at their board of editors in 2016.
TheRoot.com was sold to Univision in 2015. Univision prides itself in being an American media company serving Hispanic America. Univision’s roots can be traced back to 1955 when Raul Cortez started KCOR-TV, a Spanish-language independent station in San Antonio, Texas, which eventually changed the station’s call letters to KUAL-TV in 1958.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, BET not being black owned isn’t really news. The network was founded by an African American, Robert Johnson, in the ’80s, but in 2003, the company was sold to Viacom, which also owns MTV and VH1. The sale made Johnson one of the first black billionaires.