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Black media need ownership – and control

raynard jacksonWith the continued consolidation going on within the media (radio, TV, newspapers), there is never-ending debate over the issue of ownership and diversity. But how do you define ownership? Is ownership the issue or editorial control or both?

As members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) like to remind me, black media is by definition black-owned and operated. The NNPA is composed of approximately 200 black newspapers in the United States and the Virgin Islands. They have a combined readership of nearly 20 million and the organization also has a digital presence in BlackPressUSA.com , which enables newspapers to provide real time news and information to its national constituency.

There is no question that these newspapers are wholly owned and operated by blacks, unlike media outlets such as The Grio, The Root, Essence magazine or Black Entertainment Television (BET). These outlets are merely white media masquerading as black-owned media. The Grio is owned by NBC, The Root is owned by the Washington Post, Essence is owned by Time, Inc., and BET is owned by Viacom.

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Lawmakers reconsider mandatory minimum prison terms

minimum 600WASHINGTON – Ordered to prison on wire fraud charges, Andrea James embraced her 12-year-old daughter and five-month-old son before saying goodbye for two years.

A rude awakening and a harsh reality check awaited James, a disgraced lawyer, as prison officials escorted her to her new home: a small cell block where she'd bunk with other women of the same skin color.

"No one really told me about the injustices until I became incarcerated," said James, 49. "What I encountered as a black woman walking into prison was heartbreaking because all I saw were black women, many of whom had never even received a parking ticket before but ran into a little trouble because they made a decision, a tough decision, on how they were going to feed their babies."


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Music & Sports: business side accented at DREAM Summit and Student Business Plan Competition

drummaignite 600The Drum Squad Foundation, Inc. recently collaborated with Shelby County Schools and surrounding counties to host the Third Annual DREAM (Drumma's Education, Arts, and Music) Summit and Student Business Plan Competition for more than one-hundred kids, parents, educators, and industry professionals

The April 26th event at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis marked the first-ever in Memphis following previous DREAM Summits held in Miami and Tampa.

Students, ages 12-17, attended and were exposed to the business side of the multi-billion dollar music and sports industries and how to become future business entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives in the fields. Many kids, particularly at- risk youth, dream of playing professional sports, but their chances of actually making it are quite dismal. The Foundation encourages youth to never give up on their dreams but to always have alternative career paths.

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The P.E.O.P.L.E. need your help!

ThePeople 600The Memphis Poetry Slam Team better known as The P.E.O.P.L.E. (Poets Embodying Only Perfected Live Entertainment) needs your help to send six amazing local poets to the Southern Fried Poetry Slam this June in Greenville, S.C.!

Our journeys have all come together to take Memphis back to a place where we have not gone in over a decade. We as a collective decided that we would join together to combat illiteracy through poetry. Now, the time is here! We are rehearsing, spending time away from families, editing our poems and preparing them to get ready for the regional stage. We are so excited to represent Memphis – the home of the blues – in South Carolina, but we need help to raise the money to get there before we have the blues.

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