Revolt CEO Detavio Samuels and Hollywood Unlocked‘s Jason Lee have both advocated for black media throughout their careers to create change, a voice and representation for black journalists, entrepreneurs and creatives.
“There has been progress, but not enough,” said Detavio.
After leaving Urban One, Detavio shared that he wanted to give up on black-owned media as he battled to get brands to realize and see the power of black culture.
“Over the last two years, there has been progress. Unfortunately, it took the unfortunate death of George Floyd for brands to start making commitments,” said Samuels.
However, Samuels says brands are not delivering on their promises financially.
“There’s not going to be enough progress until the amount of capital flowing into black media matches the size of our dreams. We’re talking tens of billions of dollars,” he said.
Jason Lee shares similar sentiments.
“The culture is not for sale, and a lot of people think that they can just co-opt it by making promises and not following through,” said Lee.
As the creator of Hollywood Unlocked, Lee also shared his feelings on the treatment of black journalists on red carpets.
“One of the things that I addressed early on was the unfair treatment of black journalists on red carpets. They are only given 2 seconds to ask one question, while Hollywood Reporter, which is looked at as mainstream, would get all of the time in the world,” said Lee.
Lee also shared his thoughts on celebrities who refuse to make themselves accessible to black media.
“We’re seeing more conversations around celebrities that look like us; stop to black media first. I was surprised that we would talk about people every day but couldn’t get to them,” he said.
Respect became a topic of debate as Lee and Samuels weighed in on journalists being called bloggers and the lack of respect some black outlets may receive compared to their mainstream counterparts.
“The credibility of the work that we do is minimized and marginalized. It’s not the first time some people who don’t look like us have put us in a box. We just have to keep fighting our way out of it.”
Lee shared that he never went to college and received his GED in high school but was still able to become successful.
“I built a $50 million brand, so you got to put some respect on the journey that I’ve been on,” said Lee.
Samuels shared his viewpoint. “It’s in their best interest to minimize us so they can keep and maintain power.”
Samuels believes black celebrities and the black community can alter people’s respect for black media outlets.
“It’s for black celebrities to give us respect. A lot of times were the first to catch black celebrities while they’re on their way up. As they start to ascend, they no longer want to come speak to a Baller Alert on the carpet or a Hollywood Unlocked on the carpet,” said Samuels.
Detavio Talks Revolt & Its Many Voices
Why was it important to have so many voices be heard on your platform, including Drink Champs, Caresha Please and the Jason Lee Show?
Detavio: I want to talk about this notion of seeing people that the world typically would ignore. A lot of what we are trying to do over here is shine a light on things that we call mainstream and things that the world may not view as important. We are the sauce, we are the juice. Another thing that we are trying to showcase is that there is no black community. We are not a black community. We are black communities. To be able to build a portfolio that showcases so many of these different communities is important to us.
Jason Lee Talks Building Great Relationships & The Jason Lee Show
How did you build such great relationships, and how does it feel to have your guests come on the show and speak so highly of you?
Jason Lee: There’s a lot of relationships that I have and can call up. Cardi B is one. She understands the assignment, and she understands community and culture and also just being a good friend.
Who can we look forward to on the show? Who do you want to come up next?
Jason Lee: I’ve spent a year building a relationship with the White House. Building a relationship with Kamala Harris. We’ve had private conversations and private meetings. She was scheduled to come to the show, but something happened. They will be beating down our door in a year and a half because they want the black vote.