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SXSW Interactive 2015

New Slaves: Creating influence, Not owning content

Black people are an influential & trend-setting culture. According Nielsen 67% of Whites & 62% of Latinos feel African-Americans set the trends in today's modern culture. Politics & prejudice aside, multiculturalism is the new normal. African-American culture drives trends nationally & abroad. The irony of that influence is that black artists, entertainers, & athletes do not get recognition. Miley twerking, Robin blurring lines, & Kanyé West's genius. We own the influence, but we don’t own the content, access, nor distribution channels.

Filmmaker Spike Lee is arguably the founding father of modern African-American influence. Speaking on gentrification on "Anderson Cooper 360," Spike noted he's not against new people moving into predominantly African-American areas "My problem is when you move into a neighborhood, have some respect for the history, the culture." Dubbed Christopher Columbus Syndrome, this spawned humorous sketches on College Humor, & articles on VICE, NPR & HuffPo.

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  1. Why don’t African-Americans own their content? What are the barriers to access and ownership and how do we topple them/remove them?
  2. How do you approach ownership as a black creative? Where are the venture capitalists and other investors who will support ownership of distribution channels?
  3. What part do advertising agencies play in this process, if any? They have the access to marketers, media budgets, and can create owned media drawing from the talent equity and brand equity of minority talent pools. Such as talent on social platforms like Vine, YouTube and Instagram.
  4. What are actionable next steps in order to help black creatives develop ownable content that is sustainable?
  5. With the exception of TV One and News One Now, as an example: even when we own the content, how can we take more responsibility for influencing more positive content? We say that we don’t want “reality” trashy programming proliferating the airwaves, but the numbers say different. Is this a creative problem or much larger?



Denitria Lewis, Founder, CuspData Corporation

Meta Information:

  • Tags: culture
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced
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