BMAC And BOMESI Spotlight Black-Owned Media At Grammy Week Event

Photo Credit: Michael Melendy for Black Music Action Coalition

Photo Credit: Michael Melendy for Black Music Action Coalition


Feb. 4 2024, Published 8:15 p.m. ET

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The Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) and the Black Owned Media Equity & Sustainability Institute (BOMESI) joined forces during Grammy week at Live Nation’s headquarters in Beverly Hills to bring together industry leaders to launch a powerful partnership and call to action to center Black-owned media within the music/entertainment industry.

The industry mixer included a panel discussion on the importance of backing Black-owned media in today’s landscape. The panel featured Rhonesha Byng (Founder & CEO of Her Agenda and Co-Founder of BOMESI), James DuBose (Founder & CEO, In the Black Network), Tasha Hilton (Senior Director of Marketing, BET) and Grouchy Greg Watkins (Co-Founder, All Hip Hop). Moderated by Willie “Prophet” Stiggers (Co-Founder & CEO, Black Music Action Coalition), the conversation underscored the significance of supporting and elevating Black-owned media outlets and Black media executives, highlighting themes of ownership, advocacy, collaboration, and resilience.

Panelists emphasized that authentic empowerment originates from access to information and ownership, highlighting the necessity of controlling narratives and platforms to effectively counter marginalization.

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Photo Credit: BOMESI / Owen Duckett

“You don’t need to change the narrative if you own the narrative,” Rhonesha said. “We’re promoted, we’re on the screen, but without the power, without the ownership, we’re the first on the cutting room floor and it’s happening even still today. You see the articles about Issa Rae talking about her situation and the fact that her shows got cut and emphasizing her now desire to focus on ownership. Black-owned media needs to thrive. This is not to say to cut out white-owned Black targeted media because they play a role too, but it’s also about them spending with us so that money still flows in the community.”

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Collective bargaining and support for Black-owned businesses were heralded as potent tools for driving economic autonomy and sustainability for Black-owned media platforms. Panelists stressed the importance of holding corporations accountable for their commitments, particularly pledges made amidst the 2020 BLM movement, to diversity and inclusion.

“When corporations started to make pledges and commitment to spend more money with Black-owned media…we’re looking at them like, who is going to hold them accountable? How is this going to happen? Who is going to make sure that that spend is allocated across the ecosystem and not the same three to four players that we always see in the headlines in the spotlight? So we came together to form this organization to make sure that the dollars flowed more democratically,” Rhonesha said. 

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Photo Credit: Emmanuel Agbeble @apmworldmag

Collaboration and collective action amplify Black voices and enable better deals for historically marginalized media. Organizations like BMAC and BOMESI exist to create meaningful change through pooling resources and sharing knowledge.

“One of the things that impressed me with BOMESI was this system of collective bargaining, which I think works for BMAC. One of the reasons we were able and are able to move the needle the way we do is the collective bargaining with the fact that 65% of the highest votes in artists in the music industry are represented by our board, so it’s a different conversation when we are asking for certain things in terms of equity versus if I was doing it alone,” Prophet said. 

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Despite encountering challenges like underfunding and systemic biases, speakers at the event exemplified resilience and determination in overcoming these obstacles. They acknowledged that progress demands perseverance and partnership. 

“We can’t expect people that don’t know our culture or respect our culture to help us. So if we keep asking ‘mother may, I?’ or ‘father may I?’, they’re going to always keep us in that position,” James said. “If you look at what the traditional networks are doing, the word we got to start talking about in the community is how do we bundle? How do we really come together and make them chase us instead of us constantly having to chase them?”


Photo Credit: Emmanuel Agbeble @apmworldmag

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By: Lauren Mayo

Lauren is a journalist, on-air host, actress, and recovering tomboy. She writes everything entertainment, entrepreneurship, and wellness. She is a fan of Bob's Burgers, to-do lists, and kind people with big dreams. Lauren has contributed to Netflix, ESPN’s SEC Network, CBS Radio, ESPNU, ESPN3,, The Hype Magazine, Afterbuzz TV, Black Hollywood Live, HER AGENDA, and more. Connect with her on Instagram and TikTok @laurenoutloud

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