Black-owned media pressurize big companies to meet their commitments


After George Floyd’s murder, some big companies – like Target, General Mills, Nestle and DoorDash – made commitments to invest in black-owned media companies. Now these companies are under pressure to keep their promises.

On Thursday, the St. Paul’s Center for Economic Inclusion hosted an online discussion to discuss racial wealth gaps in the media.

Some of the leaders said they wanted faster action from business and more local investment.

While the deadline for those pledges has not yet passed, the companies that made the pledges have not specified when, exactly, the millions of dollars pledged in ad purchases will be awarded – or whether they will be awarded locally.

Black media creators like Sheletta Brundidge fear these promises will come true.

Brundidge is the founder of the SHElettaMakesMeLaugh.com podcasting platform. The Emmy-winning comedian, radio host, TV presenter and columnist spoke with host Cathy Wurzer about her concerns.

Brundidge launched her own platform because she has continued to be ignored for opportunities in mainstream media, which she believes are not as diverse as the audiences she serves.

Historically, companies made promises to communities of color and then never took action, hoping the communities would simply forget, Brundidge said.

Brundidge wants to use promised investments to “get the next generation [of Black media makers] ready.”

She said the black-owned media reported the truth about George Floyd’s murder to the mainstream media and that the growth of black-owned media was essential to telling the stories of the black community.

Brundidge is skeptical of claims that companies will invest in black-owned outlets.

Target Corp., one of the companies Brundidge and other black media makers have criticized, released the statement through their spokesperson Joshua Thomas in response:

“Target has a long history of partnering with various media organizations to reach our guests, and we believe we can do more to support fairness and prosperity, especially with black-owned publishers.

Earlier this year, as part of our REACH commitments, we shared our intention to spend at least 5% of our annual media budget with black-owned media, starting in 2022.

In the meantime, we have continued to deepen our relationship with black creators and influencers, and have significantly increased our spend with various media for 2021, most notably with our vacation campaign, which represents our biggest investment in advertising dollars for the year.

We are fully committed to meeting our spend target, and we will continue to explore opportunities for our brand to create and maintain lasting and positive impact with various publishers.

When MPR News asked for specific numbers, Thomas replied that Target “does not share a dollar amount at this time. We have committed 5% of our total advertising budget, starting in 2022. “

Use the audio player above to listen to the entire conversation.

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