Black Media Isn’t Waiting Around for TV Networks to Share Our Perspective
Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, February 24, 2022. As additional details trickled in, many wondered how the attack could affect Americans. And as some reports began pointing to the racial injustice going on for African international students trying to escape Ukraine, it may have propelled many black people to pause, question support for Ukraine, and think about where they are turning to for reliable news. As a Black American, it made me question the lens through which we receive information.
Scrolling down social media timelines, some viewed this crisis through the lens of humanity, while others looked at it through a political, economic, cultural, or racial lens. Although social media is a powerful medium to build presence and influence, it isn’t always the most reliable outlet to get authentic news. So, the question becomes, where are the people on social media getting their information? Pew Research Center data showed that 60% of black people still prefer receiving news from TV networks.
The Ukraine invasion, for me, highlights the value of digital media networks and the importance of news covered from the perspective of black people. Digital platforms such as Revolt TV’s Black News Weekly, Fox Soul’s the Black Report, and Roland Martin Unfiltered have been the voice for the black community. So, let’s take a deeper look into how black news is covered across these three digital spaces, their distinct audiences, and their black viewpoint on news and politics.
All three shows interactively provide local/global information. However, each platform uniquely customizes its content to cater to its distinct target audience.
Unapologetically Hip Hop
Revolt TV was founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs. CEO Detavio Samuels leads the company. Under Samuel’s leadership, Revolt TV aspires to shift the narrative around black people globally. The network is all about the culture and covers the news through this lens. Revolt TV reaches 50 million millennials and GenZers. Revolt TV differentiates itself by giving celebrities, influencers, content creators, and community leaders from that generation a platform as guests on its show, which provides Revolt TV with elevated credibility and authenticity when featured onscreen next to older generations.
Revolt TV recently launched RBN studios in Atlanta. The new season premiere of Revolt Black News Weekly aired on Thursday, February 24, 2022 with their latest global anchor Neima Abdulahi. The show will air weekly on Thursdays at 9 pm ET on Revolt. The show focuses on untapped, underreported, and misconceived stories relevant to Black culture and communities. Approximately 40% of black voters are millennials and GenZers, a large part of Revolt’s audience.
Our Voice / Our Truth
Fox Soul celebrates black culture and deals with real topics that impact the everyday lives of the black community with the coined phrase, “our voice and our truth.” The platform reaches an audience of over 61 million viewers. The company is led by James DuBose, who serves as General manager and Head of Programming. Fox Soul’s content strategy leads with a talk show format personalized for black women viewers. Therefore, we can assume that most of its Black Report viewers are black women between 18 and 45, who are an immensely powerful voting group.
Fox Soul’s Black Report is hosted by Romeo, Demi Lobo, Niele Anderson, and Seth Lemon. The show has a laser focus on black women, which could strongly impact this audience’s political views and thoughts shared on social media. According to USA Today, “About 90% of Black women voted for President-elect Joe Biden over Donald Trump, making them Democrats’ most loyal bloc.”
FOX SOUL’s Black Report airs every Monday through Friday at 6p ET on FOX SOUL which is available for live and on demand streaming on YouTube, Samsung TV+ (channel 1104), Roku, and more.
Bring the Funk
Roland Martin Unfiltered is a daily digital show focusing on issues important to the black community. The show streams on Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and IGTV. Martin has, by far, the largest platform, “averaging 20 to 30 million views a month.” The foundation of Martin’s show centers around political debates that are slanted towards far-left liberals and middle-of-the-road liberal Democrats. I believe his goal is to help his audience become more politically savvy based on his co-hosts, guests, and topics.
Martin’s audience is primarily “made up of Millennials, Gen Y, and Gen X’ers.” Martin states, “People who watch my show via streaming are usually between 18 and 55-years-of-age.”
Black American voters will pay close attention to how President Biden handles the crisis going on in Ukraine. They’re also likely to juxtapose resources set aside for Ukraine refugees against resources set aside for the Black American community. Digital black news platforms can be influential in the next election, primarily since the 65% of young voters who voted for Biden will determine if he gets a second term. According to CNBC, most of these young voters are focused on racial justice, systemic racism, defeating the coronavirus, jobs, economy and climate change.
While the most significant overlap in the audiences of the three platforms just mentioned is GenZers, these digital news networks create content for unique black audiences. In addition, each network focuses on shedding light on topics important to the black community that mainstream news outlets aren’t covering. As black-owned media companies continue building their own tables, we’ll undoubtedly see their influence on social media and how they shape black conversations and opinions.