The Revolutionary Black Media Companies Shattering the Glass Ceiling

Asia's Tech News Daily

Last month, Telfar announced that its first duffle bag would be exclusively available through a QR code on its new 24/7 on-demand television service, Telfar TV. A satellite beaming the product over cellphones across the country—the QR code will flash for 60 seconds—allowed Telfar not only to introduce the new service, but also to reduce an exploitative secondhand market that could bot its way to dozens of bags and thousands of dollars with the tap of a key.

The Revolutionary Black Media Companies Shattering the Glass Ceiling
© Provided by The Daily Beast Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

However, the move to 24/7 TV is still a curious one for Telfar Clemens’ Brooklyn-based genderless clothing company. Telfar decided to pave its own brand-building path, eschewing the print route of fashion brands like Net-A-Porter or sponcon podcasts like Victoria’s Secret’s recently announced VS Voices, and instead partnered with distributors like Apple TV+, Roku, and Google Play to find its way into our homes.

But the model, specifically as an app and a TV channel, is one that Black media have increasingly turned to in the 2010s—a period that has been defined by curation and cultivation of digital communities that exist beyond social media. Telfar is the latest in a wave of channels, like Black Network Channel and smaller joints like Epitome Media Group and Black Power Media, leaping out of the abyss of white-owned television and seeking to create a new pantheon of Black independent companies filling the void left by white corporate interests in tech and digital media.

These companies are, in effect, flying in the face of developers stateside who promote the idea that Black brands must choose between an app or a linear TV channel. “Many people are like, why would you get into linear TV, that’s dead,” Jasmine LA Jones, CEO of Epitome Media Group tells The Daily Beast. “I’m like, ‘No, it’s not dead, you just gotta do both. I was talking to a developer not long ago and they were like, you have to have an on-demand or a livestream. And I’m like, ‘But why?’ And it’s usually tied to the technology capabilities that they have… You don’t have to do one or the other because people like to watch TV. They like to sit back and watch if it’s cool. Not if you put on Ridiculousness all day.”

Jones, who’s been in the media game for two decades working with a bevy of networks like BET, Bravo and Oxygen, and brands like Nintendo and JetBlue, founded Epitome in 2017 out of what she saw as a void in media for women with a global perspective. Back then, the topics they covered were “fashion, music, articles and opinions, and aggregate stuff from other sites and blogs we think our audience would really love,” she explains. “But more so now, we’ve grown from covering arts and media to wellness and the whole of a person.”

Fashion and beauty, it seems, have been a springboard for companies like Epitome and Telfar, who’ve both noticed that if a fashion head wants 24-hour access to shows, looks, and products, they have to scroll down social media or YouTube. There’s no one-stop shop.

Telfar, a spokesperson told The Daily Beast, rather quietly “began planning an exit from the fashion system in January 2019.” Before the onset of the pandemic, the fashion label gained a committed audience of hype beasts and hoi polloi who dug the everyday luxury aesthetic of the genderless brand. In collaboration with Ummah Chroma—a collective consisting of prodigious creatives like Terence Nance (creator of HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness), Jenn Nkiru (the Nigerian Brit whose work on The Carters’ Everything Is Love album won her the Voice of A Woman Prize at Cannes 2018), visual artist Marc Thomas, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and visionary cinematographer Bradford Young (Selma)—Telfar has begun to produce original programming that will soon be featured on the channel. But it’s the addition of user-generated content that serves as a potential game changer for the medium. “For user-generated content we send people bags and coins—but it’s impossible to repay the love because it’s not a debt to begin with,” a spokesperson said.

It’s fair to say, though, that some customers want to be paid for their work—or at the very least be able to use their content in multiple spaces for multiple income streams—which brings up the question of ownership. To fall into the same trap as social media companies like TikTok and Twitter, which claim ownership of the data we post, or traditional media and pay Black creators dust for their work, Telfar would be betraying its customer base. “What we are working toward,” they explain, “are legal terms and conditions that respect the nature of this community because what currently exists is not made for us.”

If they wish to set themselves apart, Black-owned businesses with little experience in media production at scale have to include a structure that either utilizes the already existing scaffolding for syndication or start getting creative about how Black people can own and profit from their work. Telfar TV is a bold move for an altogether rote fashion industry, but if Clemens and crew can utilize the relationships they’ve built with their customer base and help them see the bag, it could prove truly game-changing.

While the 24-hour, on-demand model is certainly a godsend for advertisers and product pushes like the latest Telfar drip, Jones also posits that it can be a space that shares more than sells. “With women in media, it’s so one-dimensional, either it’s just makeup or it’s just travel or it’s just influencer stuff,” she says exasperated. “But our community is different in that instead of just trying to sell you stuff, we’d rather share it with you. So that’s why we’re transitioning to a digital television network so we can cover more ground.”

Epitome accomplishes that by partnering directly with artists across the world—with an increasingly popular viewing audience in Africa—drawing up small licensing agreements, as well as using tech from other nations like Spain’s Viloud which, she says, “are far more advanced in user-friendly technology that’s easier to scale.” The benefits of the tech is that it’s “automated,” which allows her to use “local production houses in Brooklyn and L.A… just friends that I think are doing something great and ask them if I can use their films.”

This collaboration between artists and production companies is at the heart of the model that Telfar is experimenting with and Epitome seeks to build upon. The growth of Black-owned channels in the last decade seems to be a sort of widening of the lens. Consider spots like Black News Channel (BNC) and Black Power Media (BPM)—two companies whose political and cultural allegiances couldn’t be further apart from one another. The former, founded by a former Black Republican congressman and football player, J.C. Watts, and the latter a Black media conglomerate committed to the Black radical tradition of folks like Black Panther Kwame Ture and former President of Ghana, the pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah.

The Revolutionary Black Media Companies Shattering the Glass Ceiling
© Provided by The Daily Beast Jasmine LA Jones, CEO of Epitome Media Group Epitome Media Group

BNC’s programming follows a traditional cable model and centers around its morning show, Start Your Morning with Sharon and Mike, and evening show with Marc Lamont Hill, Black News Tonight. BNC is meant to act as a non-partisan peek into Black life, which means it runs the gamut from progressive politics to platforming very questionable personalities like “Dr.” Umar Johnson and sexual-assault apologists like Judge Joe Brown in the spirit of “good-natured” debate. Watts and BNC (who did not respond to requests for comment) seek to transcend the partisan divide by giving space to “thought leaders” and controversial opinions. On the other hand, Black Power Media has a strong anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist ideological posture that produces constant conversation, with ideas, theories, and practices. And while it hasn’t reached the point of 24/7 broadcasting, its YouTube channel is almost completely livestreamed. It’s very easy to imagine that Black Power Media could make the transition to 24/7 livestreams if the resources and programming allowed for it.

The distinction between BNC and BPM is not only in ideology and intent, but also in resources. BPM makes money from its Patreon, opting out of capitalist business models completely, including no advertisers and no product drops, while BNC—which is carried by Comcast Xfinity, Dish Network and DirecTV—and to a lesser extent Telfar and Epitome, rely on advertising dollars to make money. BNC has to answer to stockholders—primarily Shahid Khan, the billionaire owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars (BNC is based in Tallahassee, Florida) and co-owner of All Elite Wrestling—and struck a new deal with CBS Media Ventures to handle its advertising. Telfar answers to Telfar and its consumers. As Jones tells it, Epitome answers to, largely, its artists and audiences. “I don’t know what it is but we have a huge connection with Africa. There’s so many filmmakers and so much talent… it’s appealing to a younger generation.”

Who these channels and networks answer to is very important in finding where Black audiences might land. But it remains to be seen whether the adoption of the 24/7 model for Black media will steal eyes away from the socialites and grifters. The time for demanding reparations through a historically racist FCC has long passed. Black creators are building their own shit, and placing the blandness of traditional white media in its crosshairs.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Federal judge blocks Texas law that would have opened doors for right-wing lawsuits against social media

A federal judge on Wednesday night blocked a Texas law that would allow any state resident banned from a social media platform for their political views to sue the companies. ... Read more »

LA Angels re-sign closer Raisel Iglesias to $58 million deal

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Closer Raisel Iglesias agreed to a four-year, $58 million deal Wednesday night to stay with the Los Angeles Angels. Iglesias was outstanding in his first season ... Read more »

Cops ID suspect in string of violent Bronx subway robberies

A ruthless bandit is wanted for a string of violent subway robberies in the Bronx, including one in which he slashed a straphanger in the neck to swipe his iPhone ... Read more »

Young makes key free throws, leads Hawks past Pacers 114-111

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Trae Young made two crucial free throws in the final seconds of the game to help the Atlanta Hawks fend off the Indiana Pacers 114-111 on Wednesday ... Read more »

Malik Hall helps No. 22 Michigan State beat Louisville 73-64

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Malik Hall scored eight of his 15 points in a 1:34 stretch early in the second half, helping No. 22 Michigan State build a big ... Read more »

Abdur-Rahim's 3 helps Georgia shock No. 18 Memphis 82-79

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s 3-pointer with less than 2 minutes remaining gave Georgia the lead, and the Bulldogs snapped their four-game losing streak by beating No. 18 Memphis ... Read more »

Anthony scores 23 as Magic rally by Nuggets, end 7-game skid

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Cole Anthony scored 24 points, Wendell Carter Jr. added 18 and the Orlando Magic rallied from an early 16-point deficit to beat the Denver Nuggets 108-103 ... Read more »

Mostafa, Coastal Carolina upset South Carolina 80-56

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Essam Mostafa had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Coastal Carolina pulled away in the second half to upset South Carolina 80-56 on Wednesday night. It ... Read more »

Washington State beats Arizona State 51-29 to open Pac-12

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Noah Williams scored 14 points and Washington State overcame an ugly first half to open Pac-12 play with a 51-29 win over Arizona State on Wednesday ... Read more »

Princeton women beat No. 22 FGCU behind Meyers' late jumper

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Abby Meyers scored 18 points and her basket with 20 seconds left helped Princeton to a 58-55 road win against No. 22 Florida Gulf Coast ... Read more »

'The Masked Singer' recap: Skunk is scent home in shocking Group A Finals elimination

Spoiler alert! The following contains details from the Dec. 1 episode of “The Masked Singer,” including the identity of the unmasked celebrity. Fans of the Skunk will think the results ... Read more »

Rhoden, Richmond carry No. 25 Pirates past Wagner 85-63

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jared Rhoden had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Kadary Richmond added 10 points, leading No. 25 Seton Hall to an 85-63 victory over Wagner on ... Read more »

1/6 panel votes to hold former DOJ official in contempt

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection voted Wednesday to pursue contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who refused to answer the committee’s ... Read more »

UC Davis women end No. 18 Oregon's homecourt win streak

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Sage Stobbart scored all 11 of her points in the second half and UC Davis ended No. 18 Oregon’s 44-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents ... Read more »

Ben Affleck spills on rekindling his relationship with Jennifer Lopez

Ever since Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez rekindled their romance, fans have been dying to know how it happened. And now Affleck has teased details of what their relationship is ... Read more »

Young Delaware County man held in rape investigation

Bracken Hensley MUNCIE, Ind. — A young Delaware County man was arrested this week after being accused of sexually assaulting two juveniles. Bracken Gage Hensley, 19, was preliminarily charged with ... Read more »

Merced man arrested on accusations of making child pornography and sexual abuse

A Merced man has been arrested on accusations of creating child pornography, according to authorities. Merced Police Department detectives served a search warrant at a home on West 21st Street ... Read more »

GivingTuesday: Record $2.7B raised during day of generosity

FILE – A pedestrian drops a dollar into a collection basket as Michelle Miranda of The Salvation Army looks on during the charitable organization’s drive-through donations event at the TCL ... Read more »

South Korea breaks daily virus record for 2nd straight day

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea broke its daily record for coronavirus infections for a second straight day on Thursday with more than 5,200 new cases, as pressure mounted ... Read more »

Michigan shooting: 15-year-old boy charged with terrorism and murder had meeting with teachers before rampage

Ethan Crumbley is accused of opening fire at his high school in Oxford Township, in a deadly attack that left eight others injured. Read more »

No. 6 Villanova tops Penn 71-56 at Palestra for Big 5 win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Collin Gillespie scored 26 points, Brandon Slater had 16 and No. 6 Villanova avoided a second straight court-storming at Penn with a 71-56 win Wednesday night. The ... Read more »

Carlos Santana has heart procedure, cancels December shows

The Associated PressFILE – Carlos Santana performs at the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival on May 26, 2019, in Napa, Calif. The musician has successfully undergone a heart procedure and ... Read more »

DNA matches body to Alaska man last seen alive in 1979

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The remains of a man found on Fire Island just west of Anchorage in 1989 have been identified through DNA and genome sequencing, Alaska State Troopers said ... Read more »

California couple to plead guilty in U.S. college admissions scandal

By Nate Raymond BOSTON (Reuters) – A California doctor and his wife have agreed to plead guilty to participating in a sprawling U.S. college admissions fraud scheme by paying $25,000 ... Read more »

Marketer gets 30 months in fraud scheme involving Tricare

JACKSON, Miss. — A pharmacy marketer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud a military health care program and private insurance ... Read more »

Cubs give Stroman $71M, 3-year deal to improve rotation

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs landed one of the top remaining free agent starting pitchers, agreeing Wednesday to a $71 million, three-year contract with right-hander Marcus Stroman. Stroman gets ... Read more »

Rally against anti-Asian hate in London devolves into brawl as Hong Kong and Chinese protestors clash

A group of Hong Kongers clashed with Chinese protesters who were holding a rally against racism over the weekend in London. The Chinese side: Human rights group Min Quan Legal ... Read more »

US Supreme Court signals willingness to curtail abortion rights in America

The southern state is attempting to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that legalised the procedure nationwide. Read more »

Dye leads No. 11 Tennessee women past Tennessee Tech

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Alexus Dye had 20 points and nine rebounds, Tamari Key added 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, and No. 11 Tennessee beat Tennessee Tech 76-48 ... Read more »

Poll: As Supreme Court hears Mississippi case, just 24% of Americans want Roe v. Wade overturned

As the Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority seems poised to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, more than twice as many Americans (55 percent) ... Read more »

Ex-New Deal baseball coach indicted

The Lubbock County Courthouse. New Deal baseball coach Jason Ybarra on Thursday’s state championship game. A Lubbock County grand jury on Tuesday indicted the former New Deal head baseball coach ... Read more »

UN chief says aid and flights resuming to Ethiopia's Tigray

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. chief had a piece of good news Wednesday in the midst of Ethiopia’s year-long war against forces from the Tigray region: 157 trucks with ... Read more »

Trump tested COVID-positive pre-debate, ex-aide says in book

The Associated PressFILE – In this Dec. 31, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington. Trump’s first post-White House book ... Read more »

Girl, 4, critically injured in alleged child abuse case in Thousand Oaks

A 4-year-old girl remained in critical condition Wednesday after her father allegedly battered her at their Thousand Oaks home Monday, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. Prosecutors on Wednesday ... Read more »

Woman fatally shot in Arlington apartment on Monday identified; no arrests reported

The woman who was found fatally shot in an Arlington apartment on Monday has been identified as 24-year-old Jayde Marshay Bell-Louis, authorities said. The apartment complex, located in the 1600 ... Read more »

No. 11 Tennessee women use 18-5 3rd quarter to beat TTU

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Alexus Dye had 20 points and nine rebounds, Tamari Key added 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, and No. 11 Tennessee beat Tennessee Tech 76-48 ... Read more »

Slithering 'snake burglar' steals thousands from CA salon

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Police were looking for a man dubbed the “snake burglar” who wriggled his way through a Southern California business and fled with several thousands dollars. Surveillance ... Read more »

Prosecute shoplifters under existing laws, governor says

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday in no uncertain terms that he thinks shoplifters should be prosecuted under existing California laws, as he called out local officials ... Read more »

Today in History for December 2nd

Sen. Joseph McCarthy is censured; Scientists demonstrate the world’s first artificially-created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction; Enron files for Chapter 11 protection; Colombian drug lord is shot and killed. (Dec. 2) Read more »

Man testifies that Jussie Smollett paid him to "fake beat him up"

This story originally appeared on CBS Chicago. One of the two brothers who claim actor Jussie Smollett paid them to pull off a fake attack took the stand on Wednesday. ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic