After the murder of George Floyd, some big corporations — like Target, General Mills, Nestle and DoorDash — made pledges to invest in Black-owned media companies. Now those corporations are under pressure to make good on the promise.
On Thursday, the St. Paul-based Center for Economic Inclusion convened an online discussion to talk about racial wealth gaps in media.
Some of the leaders there said they want faster action from the corporations and more local investment.
While the deadline for those pledges hasn't passed yet, the companies who made those commitments haven't specified when, exactly, the millions of dollars they promised in ad buys would be awarded — or whether they'd be awarded locally.
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Black media makers like Sheletta Brundidge are concerned those promises won’t materialize.
Brundidge is the founder of the SHElettaMakesMeLaugh.com podcasting platform. The Emmy Award-winning comedian, radio host, television anchor and newspaper columnist talked with host Cathy Wurzer about her concerns.
Brundidge launched her own platform because she kept getting passed over for opportunities in mainstream media, which she says is not as diverse as the audiences it serves.
Historically, companies have made promises to communities of color, then never taken action, hoping the communities would just forget, Brundidge said.
Brundidge wants to use the promised investments to “get the next generation [of Black media makers] ready.”
She said that Black-owned media reported the truth of George Floyd’s murder before the mainstream media, and that the growth of Black-owned media is essential to telling the stories of the Black community.
Brundidge is skeptical of claims that corporations will make investments in Black-owned outlets.
Target Corp., one of the companies Brundidge and other Black media makers have criticized, issued this statement through their spokesperson, Joshua Thomas, in response:
“Target has a long history of partnering with diverse media organizations to reach our guests, and we believe there’s more we can do to support equity and prosperity, specifically with Black-owned publishers.
Earlier this year, as part of our REACH commitments, we shared our plans to spend at least 5% of our annual media budget with Black-owned media, beginning in 2022.
In the meantime, we have continued to deepen our relationship with Black creators and influencers, and have significantly increased our spending with diverse media for 2021, most notably with our holiday campaign, which represents our largest investment in advertising dollars for the year.
We are fully committed to realizing our spending goal, and we will continue to explore opportunities for our brand to create and sustain a lasting and positive impact with diverse publishers.”
When MPR News reached out to ask for specific figures, Thomas responded that Target is, “not sharing a dollar amount at this time. We have committed to 5% of our total advertising budget, beginning in 2022."
Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.