Boycott Viacom is underway after network refuses to confront racist past, discriminates against Black-owned media
On July 14, 2020, the popular Black-owned media network BlackPressRadio called for an IMMEDIATE BOYCOTT of ViacomCBS and all of its verticals including BET, VH1, CMT, Logo, NickJr over their racist past, the degrading treatment of Black Photographers and Black Women and their long history of racism with Media Equality.
BlackPressRadio is also demanding that Viacom donate $50 MILLION to establish the Black Owned Media Fund to support 100% Black-owned media who are struggling as a result of racism in advertising and the effects of Coronavirus. The Black Owned Media Fund would also work to promote Media Equality in Sports with an emphasis on the NBA, NFL, Tennis and other sport.
“Over the past years, I’ve gotten hundreds of calls from Black-Owned Media, Black photographers and others who have been disrespected, discriminated against and flat out denied Media Equality from Viacom’s brands including BET for shows like Soul Train Music Awards, BET Awards and other events,” said DC Livers. “I have personally struggled sometimes in getting access – but even when BET does approve our credentials we’re kind of given a Ghetto Pass while Getty, Associated Press and other White-owned or mainstream focused media getting multiple credentials, all access, one-on-one interviews with the celebrities. In many ways, it’s a form of Economic Racism because having better access to the celebrities guarantees more advertising dollars, better marketing and more staff,” said Livers, who also owns BlkChk.com, a hot new startup that verifies 100% Black-owned companies.
On July 14, 2020, Viacom announced it was severing all ties with Nick Cannon over some of his comments that they didn’t like. ViacomCBS issued a rushed statement and cut all ties. In the past, Viacom has also refused to air some or all of Nipsey Hussle’s funeral because Louis Farrakhan was speaking. They’ve refused to air an interracial love show and continue to air television programming that degrades Black women.
“Nick is the host of a popular show called ‘Wild ‘N Out’ that heavily plays on Black culture for its ratings and success,” said Livers. “Are they canning the show or replacing him? This moment is not just about Nick Cannon. It’s about Black content. It’s about Black Culture. It’s about Black dollars. We can’t allow racist companies like Viacom to continue to profit off Black pain while making fake out ads saying how much they support Black Lives. This is about Intellectual Property rights and we have to put our foot down,” Livers said.
Livers is credited with starting the first online Black newspaper in 1997. She wrote a white paper on how the Digital Divide would effect Black-owned media in 1999 and created the Historical Black Press Foundation to put more Black media online. In 2004, Livers started podcasting. The following year she begin LIVE STREAMING, ironically at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. In 2006, she had 5 million people listening, downloading and live streaming her podcasts. A few months after that she joined a new startup in populating the Internet with content. That company was called YouTube.
“I opened my YouTube account in 2006, the year that YouTube started. People clowned me and they closed YouTube because anyone could upload to the platform. I mostly used it for storage but I began to notice that user generated content was a lot of fun. I decided to really hedge my bet and started heavily uploading to the platform. The rest is history,” said Livers who also owns several publications including The TEA! Magazine, Black Content Magazine and others.
Livers said that all networks should be making 45% of their marketing dollars be allocated for Black owned media because without Black content and Black audiences, there would be no traction for any network.
She’s 100 percent right.
On June 10, Netflix flexed the depth of its Black programming by showcasing Black content and talent. There were five Black executives who could buy content in 2015 but the amount of Black content on networks in 2020 is overpowering.
Shell will write off up to $22 billion worth of assets. The video streaming giant said in a blog post that its initial commitment will be as much as $100 million. The initiative comes nearly two weeks after Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin made news for similar actions.
In 2000, Viacom purchased Black Entertainment Television for a measly $3 Billion but the company was worth probably $30 Billion by Livers’ estimates.
In 2019, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris just entered into a multi-year deal to create a new. The deal with Netflix was reportedly worth $100 Million, much less than they gave a White creator. Netflix has been courting big names to produce content as of late using revenue it earned from Black content.
“It’s time to stop making racists rich,” Livers said. “Black culture, Black Lives and Black content make America great but we never seem to get paid what we’re worth. It ends today. We have no choice to demand that companies respect us, respect our media, respect our right to free speech even when they don’t like what we’re saying, as with Nick Cannon. Until Viacom makes this right, everything they think about doing with Black people is going to fail,” Livers said.