A media collective and accelerator focused on the advancement of Black-owned media properties

Group Black Launches First-of-Its-Kind Initiative to Bring Greater Black Ownership and Investment to Media

June 29, 2021

GroupM provides inaugural $75 million target media investment to champion Group Black’s effort to deepen pipeline of Black-owned media; Target commits media investment with Group Black as part of company’s commitment to creating a more equitable media landscape


Today, Group Black launched to bring investment, opportunity and advancement to Black ownership in the global media industry. Group Black is a first-of-its-kind media collective and accelerator, rooted in the advancement of Black-owned media properties.

 

The historic lack of Black ownership in the media space is a major challenge to a surge of recently-pledged support from advertisers, who actively want to participate and support Black-owned media and creators. The reality is the Black-owned media industry is nascent and under-funded, requiring more investment and acceleration to catalyze a robust and equitable ecosystem. Group Black was born to solve this problem.

 

Group Black takes a two-pronged approach to solve the need for immediate incubation and growth of Black owned-media: (i) building an ecosystem of Group Black Members, Group Black Brands and Group Black Creators, and (ii) initiating Group Black Ventures, an accelerator that infuses capital and expertise to build the next generation of Black-owned media brands. This approach celebrates and bolsters an array of diverse voices.

 

“Our mission is simple: dramatically transform the face of media ownership and investment. We started Group Black to infuse diversity into the next generation of creativity and storytelling, and create scaled solutions for brands. The promise and approach is both urgent and personal,” said Travis Montaque, Co-Founder, CEO and Director of Group Black. “We have the expertise to know what solutions will work, entrenched allies to support us, and a dogged belief that we must build a self-sustaining platform of Black media ownership for the industry to evolve. Our approach and allies have put us in a unique position to deploy significantly more dollars into existing and emerging Black-owned media companies than ever before.”


Group Black is minority-owned, operated, and controlled; the leadership team behind it includes a powerful roster of advocates, experts and organizations who believe that actionable, scalable change is urgent and feasible. Founding member companies include: 

  • Essence — the #1 media company serving Black women
  • Holler — the leading conversational media company
  • PlayVS — the leading amateur esports platform in the United States and Canada
  • Afropunk — a leading entertainment platform serving and protecting the LGBTQ+ community
  • The Shade Room –– the leading cross-social platform for trending news 
  • Baller Alert — America’s top urban news source and lifestyle brand for 18-49 year olds


Holler’s Travis Montaque will join as Co-Founder, CEO and Director and Richelieu Dennis will join as Co-Founder and Chairman. Together, this group of visionaries will build the organization, mentor entrepreneurs, continue to grow the Membership pool of Black-owned media companies both large and small and create new opportunities for brands and advertisers to achieve their brand goals via Black-owned and led media properties. Group Black Creators will kick off with a partnership with Triller to promote and showcase talent and content across social media platforms, streaming services and PPV - spearheaded by Triller’s Chief Growth Officer, Bonin Bough.


“Group Black is providing a real, tangible way for Black ownership to take root and thrive in an environment that has traditionally excluded or marginalized Black ownership,” said Richelieu Dennis, Co-Founder and Chairman of Group Black. “I’ve leveraged my career and businesses in the consumer products, finance and media universe to champion equity, diversity and wealth creation across industries. For change to persist, we can’t make subtle modifications to the existing universe; we need to carve out new space for voices to be heard, bolstered and amplified. Group Black’s approach of ingenuity and inclusion is the next chapter in “breaking the walls” of exclusion in the media industry.”

Group Black’s media buying power will begin with a target media investment of $75 million from GroupM which is part of Group Black’s effort to deploy at least $500 million in Black-owned media by the end of 2022. This partnership bolsters Group Black’s singular model and allows for immediate impact and action. GroupM continues to demonstrate intentionality and commitment to meaningful change on this front. Their recently launched Media Inclusion Initiative has led to an initial consortium of 20 industry-leading clients committing to spend 2+% of their annual media budgets in Black-owned media.

 

"GroupM is thrilled to support Group Black in its imperative mission to create a community of content through partnerships and acquisitions that will significantly increase the availability and access to Black-owned media and thus our ability to drive investment toward it," said Kirk McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, GroupM NA. “Group Black will help develop Black-owned media and creators, bringing much-needed diversity to a relatively homogeneous industry."


GroupM client Target plans to make media investments with Group Black as an initial launch partner. As part of the company’s plans to spend $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025, Target has committed to increase its spend with Black-owned media companies to 5% annually by 2022, while also increasing its engagement with Black content creators.

“Inclusivity is a core value for Target, and we’re committed to advancing racial equity across all areas of our business and within the communities we serve,” said Maurice Cooper, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Target. “Investing with Group Black allows Target to play a meaningful role in accelerating growth for Black-owned media companies and Black creators while helping create a thriving, equitable media environment.”


“We’re excited to be an inaugural Group Black member and, more broadly, help push forward the conversation around maintaining ownership and achieving scale in Black media,” said Delane Parnell, Founder & CEO of PlayVS. “Black companies deserve economic inclusion. We won’t settle on this.”
 

For more information on Group Black’s vision, team and commitments, in addition to ways to participate, please visit groupblack.co. The company will be making future announcements on expansion and impact in the coming weeks and months.

 

About Group Black:

Group Black is a media collective and accelerator rooted in the advancement of and investment in Black-owned media properties. The company is composed of Group Black Media and Group Black Ventures, signaling a bilateral approach to address the lack of Black media ownership. Group Black Media is built to nurture and enable the largest ecosystem of Black-owned media entities in the industry through its Member Companies, creators, and wholly owned Group Black Brands, while Group Black Ventures is designed to actively infuse capital to build the next generation of Black-owned media brands. Group Black is assembling a collection of the media industry’s biggest names to lead the largest push for Black-owned media investment ever envisioned. For more information, please visit groupblack.co.


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