The State of Black Media w/ Black Enterprise (w/ Alfred Edmond Jr.)

Zach sits down with Alfred Edmond Jr., SVP/Executive Editor-at-Large at Black Enterprise, to talk about Black media, historical trends, and the future of Black journalism and storytelling. Check the show notes to sign up for Black Men Xcel!

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TRANSCRIPT

(00:59): What’s up y’all it’s Zach from Living Corporate. And you know, it’s officially the fall. Yo, it’s the fall y’all. I hope that as we continue to shift and change and embrace change, that we recognize that change is constant. And it’s a beautiful thing. You know, I’ve been thinking about identity and these systems that we navigate in. And by these systems, I mean these exploitative, capitalistic, white supremacist, and patriarchal environments and systems that is corporate America. And I think about what it means to survive in these systems. And what is identity like, who are in these systems? And can we truly be all of who we fully are in these systems? I’ve been thinking about that a lot. It’s interesting how me pivoting away from consulting, which is like corporate American, all those things just sped up. Like it is really tough.

(02:08): But you know, the past almost six months, it’s really been a blessing. I’ve had so much more time to just think. To really consider how I feel because my every waking moment is not about production. Yes I’m still in corporate America. Yes. I’m still plugged into this larger machine, but I’m excited about the work that I’m actually doing. I’m excited about the impact I’m able to create. I’m excited about the teams that I’m working with. I’m excited about the leadership that I’m working with. It’s exciting, and frankly, fulfilling time. I think there’s always going to be the tension of engaging in capitalist systems. And until I decide, or if I decide, or when I decide to do something fundamentally different, there’s always gonna be that tension, but I’m genuinely thankful about the new environment I’m in. That’s allowed me just to think about who I am, and how I survive, and how I exist in these, in these places.

(03:06): And, you know, I’ve been thinking about the fact that, really, I honor God the most by being who he designed me to be. And so, for me, that means honoring my boundaries, honoring my principles, honoring my values, advocating for myself, speaking truth to power. And where I can, advocating for those around me as much as possible. And I’m excited about this new season of just who I am, who I’m seeing myself to be. I tweeted earlier a few days ago, I tweeted about the fact that corporate America, for black folks, can be just so damnably exhausting because you have to put on some mask or put on some version of you that insulates you from harm. You have to play some sort of game. And y’all, I’m just exhausted from playing the game.

(04:08): This is probably like my fifth or sixth time saying that on Living Corporate for the past two years. But, I remember when I was like 24, 25, I really was playing game. Like I was tapped dancing y’all. Like really trying to make sure that I did the right things. I was very self-deprecating. I would shrink myself and I would seek to be accepted in all spaces. And guess what? y’all? I was a contractor at the time, and they cut my contract anyway. And they knew I just got married, and they knew I just closed on a house. And it was something about that moment, of losing my job, at a job I world was working crazy hard at, and they knew I was working hard. I was doing all the right things. I was saying all the right things. I was outperforming full-time employees. I was basically begging for a full-time job. I was doing the best I could, and I still got cut. I still lost my job.

(05:11): Now, thankfully I found a new job before I had my last day at that job, and we went on, and life went on. But I’m just saying like, it was scary y’all. It was scary. I was young. I was young, just closing on a house. In fact, hold on, now that I think about it. Nah, y’all I was 23. I was 23 years old, because it was only like a handful of months after we closed the house, after we got married. After my wife and I got married. And you know, ever since then, I said, you know what? If this is the result of me trying to assimilate and do everything they ask me to do. And being the most respectable, sanitized, neutered version of myself, if this is what this gets me, I’m gonna go ahead and be myself everywhere I go. And from that day forward, I strove and I continue to strive to be a more authentic version of myself every day.

(06:09): And it’s a journey y’all, but I say all that to say, there’s so many people I meet, and not everybody. Cuz I truly have met some genuinely liberated black folks in corporate America in their fifties, but they’re rare. Truly, more than often, I meet people who are like my parents’ age. Who have been playing the game so long they literally don’t recognize themselves. They literally cannot engage authentically about just the world in which we live. Like there’s a veneer of inauthenticity that they just can’t seem to peel away. And that’s scary to me. And I said [inaudible 00:06:48] that’s like a unique type of hell to me. That’s really, really scary to me. That’s not who I want to be. That’s not what I want. That is not what I want.

(06:58): And so, I just hope that for everyone listening to this that you strive to go home and my hope is that you can recognize the reflection in the mirror, when you wrap up your day. And frankly, when you wake up, do you recognize who you see? Like, that’s my hope. That’s my hope for y’all, that’s my hope for me. And I don’t believe you do that without honoring who God made you to be. And I don’t think I’m unique in that, I’m honoring who God made me to be by recognizing my own values, my own principles, my own boundaries. And defining those boundaries and those principles, and making sure that folks know, what I stand for and that my actions reflect the things that I stand for.

(07:51): It’s easy. You make little concessions along the way, again, and you look up and you like, who, where, how did I, where am I? Who am I?. It’s a real thing. And I don’t want to shame anybody for what they’re trying to have to do to survive. I’m not trying to shame anybody for that. It would be inappropriate for me to blame the victims of these systems, and not really critically interrogate the systems. So this is not me shaming anybody. This is me pleading and hoping that you seek to honor yourself by being who you are created to be.

(08:28): All of that being said, I’m really excited about today’s podcast. We are able to speak with Alfred Edmonds. Who’s a senior vice president, the senior vice president of Black Enterprise. You know, it’s funny, the further and further Living Corporate grows and goes, we have increasing opportunities to meet the people who inspired us. That’s really cool. Like to me, that’s a sign of success. Like that in itself, is a sign of growth. The fact that, I remember as a child going to the hair salon, and cuz it was me and my mom growing up. So my mom would take me to the hair salon on Saturdays and I’d just be sitting there and I had my little toy. I might have a Gameboy or something. But you know, you sit there in a little chair and you would see the magazine rack. And in that magazine rack, you would see Ebony, you would see Jet, you would fo-sho see Jet. Like do not play, you would see jet magazine. Every, every time. And you’d also see Black Enterprise.

(09:31): And, I remember just always going to that Black Enterprise, because there was always some picture of somebody dressed really well, looking really good. And they just looked successful. It was super cool. And I was like, man, what does it take to even be associated with this Black Enterprise? And I remember when we talked about Living Corporate and what did we wanted it to be. And it was like, I really wanted to be like this generation’s Black Enterprise. Like I wanted to be something flat, and accessible, and authentic, and real, like there are inspirations out there. And Black Enterprise was a heavy inspiration for what Living Corporate started as, and what it continues to be. And so, really excited about my conversation with Mr. Edmonds. And I’m really looking forward to y’all checking out this discussion. Make sure y’all check out the links in the show notes. Y’all will learn more about what he has going on, but we’ll talk about that after the recording, after the interview. Before we have our discussion with Alfred Edmonds, Senior VP of Black Enterprise, we’re gonna tap in with Tristan. See you in a minute.

Zach (13:44): Alfred. What’s going on, man?

Alfred (13:45): Oh, it’s all good. Everything is going really, really well. Yo, I only have two kinds of days, either it’s excellent or amazing. Excellent. It’s just a regular day. We just have to be excellent. So, if you have those tough days, then you have to be amazing. So it’s all good though.

Zach (14:01): You know, I’m gonna tell you straight up. Like, inside baseball, man, I’m really, really excited to have you on Living Corporate. As I look at not only your profile, but the work that you’re have been doing, and leading at Black Enterprise for the last 13 years, I was like, oh, this is exactly the type of person. This is the person I wanna talk to. I’d love to understand a bit about your journey. Right now, again, you’ve been at Black Enterprise for 13 years, but you’ve had a career before that. Like talk to me about like your journey a bit and how you got into media.

Alfred (14:43): All right. Well, let me say, first of all my LinkedIn is confusing. It looks like I’ve been at Black Enterprise for 13 years, but actually, I joined Black Enterprise on March 4th, 1987. So it’s going on 30. I’m losing count now, like 32 years, something like that.

Zach (15:04): Oh, congratulations.

Alfred (15:05): Thank you so much. And, it’s just a wonderful journey. Not something I could have planned. I say that is nothing but God. I cooperated, but I didn’t plan it like this.

Zach (15:16): A hundred percent. Yeah.

Alfred (15:17): Yeah. So, lemme start out a little bit. My real media journey began as an undergraduate at Rutgers College Rutgers University, my Alma mater. I was born and raised on the Jersey shore. Went to the large state university of New Jersey. And my degree, I actually studied note journalism. I did not know that was the path I was gonna be on, even though I was gifted at writing and communicating practically from childhood. But I was gifted as an artist by preschool, that was very apparent. And long story, longer, I ended up majoring in art. My degree is in studio art with a minor in economics. I’ve never thought I’d ever use. Like my original minor was psychology. When I graduated from college, it was during a recession. And my college counsellor advised me to change either my major or my minor to be more employable when I came out. And so I kept art as my major, changed my minor to economics. And that’s how, but who knew I was gonna end up at a business publication, five years later. But anyway, graduated from Rutgers., The beginning of my career was while a student Rutgers, I was part of the black student leadership, black student movement at Rutgers. The entire part-time movement at the time, trying to get Nelson Mandela out of prison. [inaudible 00:16:36] how long ago that was. And as a result, and I’m skipping a lot of little turning points along the way.

Zach (16:43): Sure.

Alfred (16:43): I became the editor-in-chief of the Black Voice [inaudible 00:16:45], which was the weekly black, Latino student newspaper on campus. And a really powerful voice for students of color at Rutgers University-wide. And that year running that publication, which I got dragged kicking and screaming to do, by the way. I didn’t want to do it.

Zach (17:06): Why? Why didn’t you wanna do it?

Alfred (17:08): Because it wasn’t the path I was on. I was an art major. Okay now, I’ll tell you the story that many Rutgers people know, because I’ve told them many times over the years as an alum. So I started writing for the paper because I just liked writing poetry, in the poetry section. I was also one of the undergrads as a freshman and sophomore, that was very critical of the upper class black student leadership, in terms of how they were handling it. So I was part of a upstart generation kids, who were like, we should be doing differently. They’re not really effective. And one of the people who I criticized, Ron Washington, went on to become a fantastic attorney. Challenged me in a staff meeting at the paper that I just kind of went to, just to be going, to take over as a campus editor. And back then, the newspaper had, there’s Rutgers campus, Cook campus, there’s Bush campus, there’s multiple campuses and as the editor, I sit on these campuses. And he basically put me on like up creek, was like, you talking all this smack, what do you wanna do? And of course, I couldn’t do [inaudible 00:18:07] know.

Zach (18:08): Yeah.

Alfred (18:09): So I accepted it, panicked it, ran home, begged all my friends to write for me.

Zach (18:14): Wow.

Alfred (18:14): And my plan as just to get through the year without embarrassing myself. And then, I was gonna go back home and [over-talk 00:18:21] my art classes.

Zach (18:22): Okay. That’s a good goal.

Alfred (18:23): Okay, I did. I saved face, got through the year. So, apparently, I did a little bit too well, because, my editor, she came to me and said, I need you to take over the paper. And of course I was like, hell to the no, I ain’t doing it. And her and this sister, Laura Gaines, it was Tanya Coats, that’s her married name. I can’t remember. Tanya Davis was her maiden name. Tanya and Laura spent the whole summer, basically, beating me up to make me take this role. And finally, I caved in, became editor-in-chief, under the condition that another student who’s like a brother to me, now, godfather to one of my kids.

(19:01): Matthew Scott, would be my number two editor. Not realizing that I was playing right into her hands, because she already had him in mind to take over for me, when I got it done. So this is the first time somebody actually had a succession plan. That’s the first time I ever saw something like that. Tanya Davis is a brilliant woman, to this day, I say that. And I credit my career, because if she hadn’t beat me up and bullied me into taking this role, long story short, after that year, running the paper, that’s all I wanted to do. I’m like this is what I want to do for a living, run a publication, talented people.

Zach (19:32): Wow.

Alfred (19:32): Producing something important. You know Zach, it’s like football. Football’s my favorite team sport. So it’s like, no matter how well you did the last game, it doesn’t mean anything for the next game. Same thing with publishing, anything with media, no matter how great this podcast is, the next episode has gotta start from scratch and be great too.

Zach (19:50): Hey, hundred percent.

Alfred (19:50): So, that all appealed to me. So you’ve got [inaudible 00:19:53] kicking and screaming. By the end of that year, I was like this, this feeling that I have, I’ve gotta duplicate that feeling. And finished school. Again, I had no journalism courses. I didn’t study journalism at all. I couldn’t change my major in time. I was three fifths of my way through my graduate curriculum. But I got all the off campus experience I could. I became a columnist for the daily newspaper at Rutgers. I got a job off campus laying out, of course, layout doesn’t mean anything today, in today’s digital publishing. But back then, you physically laid out and typeset papers and things like that.

(20:28): I got all the off, outta classroom experience I could. And that’s when built my resume around and got my first newspaper job. First, near my hometown of Long Branch, New Jersey and at the Asbury Park Press. Ultimately, got a job at a black newspaper in Brooklyn, that was then called, Big Red News. Now, it’s the New York Beacon. Ran the Beacon, or Big Red for two and a half years, fresh outta college. Now, right there’s another long story of that happened. But, by the time I was 24, I was a known journalist in New York, out of Brooklyn. Went from there to the Daily Challenge, the only black daily in New York City, that was Brooklyn based. Went there, I got my first magazine job as number two editor at only age 26, A Modern Black Men, that kind of put me on the map nationally.

(21:14): They cover stories on Miles Davis, the late mayor Tom Bradley, actor Clifton Davis. I mean, it was a great platform for me as a young journalist. And from there, I got hired at Black Enterprise as an associate editor of the new section, and worked of my way up from there. Ran the magazine for 13 years, ran the website for little under three years, became the first editor-in-chief of blackenterprise.com. The first chief content officer, when we obviously, we’ve evolved as a multimedia company. And today, I’m senior vice president and executive editor at large, which basically means I do whatever, Butch Graves, our CEO tells me to do. Because I can kinda play off positions.

Zach (21:54): What’s incredible, there’s so many directions. Let me start with this. You talk about the fact that you’re one of the first black men and oftentimes, I would imagine if not the first, certainly one of the few. But you’re in these positions of leadership in media. Talk to me about, what did that look like to…? It’s interesting Colin Powell recently passed, and the statement in the Washington Post obituary was, he had a knack for exuding authority while keeping others at ease. And I’m curious, did you, and have you, in your career, especially in operating in majority white spaces ever feel the need to balance that? The demonstration of authority through leadership, while also, managing the insecurities or fragility of those around you.

Alfred (22:55): Well, let me first say that, most of my job experience has been with predominantly black organizations. Again, I work with black magazines and black newspapers. Most of my experience in the larger industry though, as you know, was with white professionals. Because I mean, I was on the board of American Society Magazine Editors that never had more than two or three people of color at a time on that board. I interacted with, especially once I became editor-in-chief, a lot of my industry interactions, it was only me, the late editor of the merged magazine, George Curry, whoever’s editor at Essence at the time. There’s only a small universe of black leaders in the industry, so you were dealing with mostly white professionals. So, I answer that question in that context. That said, the bug that I got bitten by, as an undergraduate, when I tell you my experiences with the Black Voice, was not writing and editing. Again, that first year I was a writer and editor, I was overseeing a small campus editor team and I was good at it.

(23:57): I’m still good at it. But that’s not what got me, making me say, this is what I want to do for my life. What got me was this fascination with leadership, and coaching, and motivating people to do what you want them to do, when they had every reason not to do it, or they didn’t have an incentive to do it. So this is what I mean. And, everything important I learned about leaders with motivation, I learned running this college paper. Because think about it. Students aren’t paid, they have deadlines to meet. They have all kinds of reasons to do other than what they say they’re gonna do. From their girlfriends, parties. I gotta go home [over-talk 00:24:35].

Zach (24:36): Yes.

Alfred (24:36): And I’ve got to study for my exam. So you’re just saying, how do I motivate people to do, and in my case, I’m proud to say, my predecessor Tonya Davis, myself, my successor Matthew Scott, and his successor. Lisa James, we had four years of the Black Student paper on campus being the best student paper on campus period. Because it wasn’t just about getting the paper out, we wanted to be excellent. And I don’t have to tell you, we didn’t have the same resources as our mainstream counterparts on campus.

Zach (25:05): You don’t have to tell me that at all. A hundred percent.

Alfred (25:08): So, my thing was this whole challenge of how do you motivate these people week after week, after week, to not only get the paper out on time, but to do great work? And the first lesson I learned was, money’s not a motivator. Money’s a minimum a requirement for your job, but you can get compliance with pay, but you can’t get excellence with pay.

(25:32): So the long story of it is, what fascinated me was this idea of how do you get people to perform week, after week, after week? And you learn lessons about motivation. So I’ve always had this fascination, even when I was a kid, and I didn’t connect that dot until my career started. That I love playing basketball. I love playing sports in particular, football’s my favorite sport. But of course, basketball is the most successful, so you play basketball. Of course, but I’m not built for basketball at all. I’m like 5′ 6”, 5′ 7”. Well, back then, I was like 5′ 5”.

Zach (26:04): But you solid though?

Alfred (26:05): I wasn’t solid then. Back in the day. I mean, you know now, my hobby bodybuilding now, so I’m a lot more solid now. But back then, I was like 110 pounds, five foot five.

Zach (26:17): Okay.

Alfred (26:18): But I would play pick-up basketball, growing up in my neighborhood. And, since I knew I was a liability, and you know when you win, you stay on the court. So my thing was like, how can I pick the team where I could stay on the court? And I got really good at picking the team, based on skill sets. And I didn’t connect that dot until later. So I could stay on the court. Like, my goal was like, you just don’t be a liability. Do your best, not to be a liability, contribute where you can, but if you pick the right kind of team and put it together right, you can stay on the court all day. So, I had this fascination.

(26:50): And then, by the time I got a little older, and again, I was somebody who was, I came out of a football household. So we were an NFL household. And by the time I was like 13 or 14, I was, how is it that you have X number of teams, 30 something teams, and, you can reliably divide any league, but I’m just going to use the NFL, into three groups? There’s a group of teams that never win. There’s a group of teams that seem to always win. And then there’s this group in the middle that kind of, they get to the playoffs. They sometimes, they get to touch a championship, but they never build it.

Zach (27:27): Turnover. Yeah. Yeah.

Alfred (27:29): They’re in the middle. They’re not horrible, but they’re not the Yankees or they’re not the Patriots or, you know. And so my thing is, I was a little bit fascinated by what are those elements that you can have the exact same talent pool, but certain teams win, and certain teams lose, and certain teams are in the middle?

(27:50): And so, I’ve always had a fascination with coaching, and leisure, because that is the difference. How do you build a winning culture? How do you get people to do it, because they want to do it? How do you get them to run through a wall because they want to run through a wall? How do you get them to meet a deadline because they wanted me deadline. And all of that came together when I was running my college paper. When I subsequently ran the paper I ran in Brooklyn for two years. And then, ultimately came to Black Enterprise, and that’s what fascinates me.

(28:17): How do you get people to do excellent work? And how do you get em to do it as a team? Because it’s one thing to get an individual to [over-talk 00:28:23] excellent work. It’s another thing to get 9, 10, 15, 20, 30 people who all have different agendas, different motivations, different things they care about, different personalities to operate in such a way that they all line up to do something great. And then in media, it’s not doing something great one time, it’s like sports. There is a quote from, I think Dallas Cowboy old school, Dallas cowboy, who said if the Super Bowl is so important, why are we going to play it again next year? Meaning even when you win the Super Bowl, it’s only important when you win [over-talk 08:55].

Zach (28:56): You’re trying to get back.

Alfred (28:56): Then when you come back the next year, nobody cares. You’ve got to climb that mountain all over again.

Zach (29:00): Yeah. It’s a new year.

Alfred (29:01): Yeah.

Zach (29:02): A hundred percent.

Alfred (29:02): I am fascinated by this idea of how do you get people, and now it expands to everything. Whether it’s entrepreneurs, even your kids, how do you get them to want to excel, when they have every reason not to? Like, this is hard, I’m tired, it’s boring, I don’t wanna do this. I could be doing something else. How do you get them? So when you talk about Colin Powell, who was a brilliant, obviously, a brilliant leader. His brilliance was in how do you get men? And now, you’re talking about in war, where their lives are on the line. How do you get them to run toward the bullets? How do you get them to run toward the enemy? How do you get them to? And that’s what fascinates me. That’s what drives me today, as a mentor, as a coach, as a manager, that’s what leadership is about. Getting people to want to do it, when they have every reason not to.

Zach (29:52): You know, it’s interesting you talk, especially in this context of media., So, Alfred, you don’t know this but, people that know me, as we were like building Living Corporate, I said, man, what does it look like to make a Black Enterprise an accessible, digitized Black Enterprise? That was one of the main questions I had in building Living Corporate. Right? What does it look like to take the profiles and spotlights of black and brown people, and have really frank conversations about the things that you’re just not going to talk about in majority-white media spaces. And you know, it’s interesting, because I think about Living Corporate, and I think about even, just like this current age and just black media, and the permutations that black media has gone through. And I’m curious to get your perspective. And I’m not trying to like be a fanboy, but I’m genuinely curious about what is your perception of media today, when you think about technology and how it’s changed over the three decades that you’ve been in the space?.

(31:07): And if I can push you a little bit further, because I’m gonna say this, and then, I’m gonna let you go. Is, as you think about Black Enterprise, where do you see Black Enterprise going? As we look at where media is today, and when I say, for the audience, when I say media is today, I’m talking about the fact that, the talk about content is much more, it’s flat, it’s more flatter, it’s more accessible. You have different mediums between podcasting, and webinars, and blogging, and even different paid and subscription platforms like, Patreon. And even Apple and other places are doing different types of paid subscription miles. I’m just curious, as you look at the entire landscape like I’d love to just hear you wax poetic on how you’re feeling about it. And where Black Enterprise has played and will continue to play a role?

Alfred (31:55): Well, I’m happy to say, let me first pay tribute to our founder. Our late founder, Earl Graves Sr., Who passed away, not of COVID, but he did pass away during the pandemic, on April 6th, 2020. And we were celebrating our 50th anniversary as a media company, as a then, magazine in 2020. We’re continuing to celebrate. We’re actually going to be doing a major tribute event, next year, paying tribute to our founder. And I want to say that because, the two things that will carry you through, and I think is caring black media brands that are thriving today, is culture and mission. Culture is how you do what you do, and mission is why you do what you do. And so, I say that in the context of Black Enterprise, that our mission has not changed from day one. It’s about empowering black people to advance professionally, entrepreneurially, and financially with the goal of building overall wealth. That’s the mission day one. And it’s important to focus on the mission.

(33:02): What I think that Black Enterprise has done well. And when I say done well, not hasn’t been easy. And this, I credit to our current CEO, Earl «Butch» Graves Junior, who’s the son of the founder. He’s been running the companies for the last 15 years. Is helping us to remember that the platform is not more important than the mission. So you already know I’ve been in the game long enough to remember when you physically pasted up newspapers.

Zach (33:29): Yes.

Alfred (33:29): I’ve got tools around here, that if I showed you what they were, you’d be like, what is that for? Why do you need an Xacto knife? Why do you need a Piper ruler? Why do you need to measure the type? That’s how long I’ve been in the game.

Zach (33:41): Amen.

Alfred (33:41): So now, today Black Enterprise is the number one, black digital media brand in the country with more than 8 million unique visitors a month. And our VP of digital is constantly assuring us that, it’ll probably be closer to 10 million by 2022.

Zach (34:00): Wooh.

Alfred (34:00): How do you go from being a magazine to, I’ve been at this company for 35 years, well actually, closer to 40 years. Then, because the marketplace demands it, you’ve got to shift. And as you and I both know, a lot of black media brands didn’t make it.

Zach (34:17): Right. A hundred percent.

Alfred (34:17): In my opinion, many of them didn’t make it, including at least one or two prominent ones, because they refuse to accept that the magazine industry is dying. Print was dying. And print wasn’t dying because somebody was killing it. Print was dying because new technologies created new methods of delivery. And to produce a great magazine was still possible, but it was no longer profitable. So, how I tell people that, at some point you’ve had to recognize that the best music in the world on vinyl, is not going to sell.

Zach (34:55): Points.

Alfred (34:56): It’s not because the music is not good anymore. It’s on vinyl.

Zach (34:58): That medium. Yes.

Alfred (34:58): And people are [over-talk 00:34:58] the CDs. And people graduated to MP3s, and now people graduate to streaming music. The music is still the same, and for Black Enterprise, and I’ll [inaudible 00:35:10] that to black media. Our mission, our respective missions for why black media exists, is still the same. But if you fall in love with one particular way of delivering the content, and that way of delivery is no longer accepted by consumers, or supported by the advertisers and sponsor that paid for all this. They paid for media sets, you know, etching on stones, somebody had to paid [inaudible 00:35:36].

Zach (35:38): Word.

(35:38): Then you’re going to struggle, and you’re gonna go out of business. And I’m not saying transition was easy. Butch Graves, in my opinion, and I’m getting at the current CEO, navigated a much more difficult path over these last 15 years. That his father navigated in 1970, when he launched the magazine. You would think it would have been harder back in the day.

Alfred (35:59): SoI don’t want to make it sound like any of this was easy or simple. And we were geniuses. [inaudible 00:36:02] People weren’t geniuses. A lot of it was like, can we just survive till tomorrow? Can we [inaudible 00:36:07] the payroll this month? Can we just survive? We have the right people. Culture change is hard. Changing people out, changing people’s minds about how things should be done is hard. You know, I’ve seen some brilliant journalists come and go in every platform, not just magazines. The other people who are out of television because they couldn’t accept the impact of social media. They couldn’t adapt to engaging on Instagram. They couldn’t adapt because they were like, no, we make vinyl records. We make the vinyl record. That’s right. And then, nobody wants vinyl records. I don’t care what you put on it. So, my thing is, I have a lot of positive optimism about black media, because I don’t think of black media as just Ebony, Essence, and Black Enterprise.

Zach (36:52): [inaudible]

Alfred (36:52): I think black media is podcast. I think it’s the [inaudible 00:36:56], I think there are people who do great work, also journalists who do sound work, that’s is challenged with everybody being made into a publisher, because there’s a lot of people are media sound, journalistically sound. So you’ve gotta to wade through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff, but there are a lot of people who do great work on all these platforms. And then, we’ve got streaming, you’ve got Fox Soul, which carries a lot of Black Enterprise content. You’ve got people doing things that still serve the mission of giving black people a voice in the media. It’s messier. It’s more fragmented than it was when you could count on basically three black magazines and a black newspaper in every town. You know, that’s back in the day, but it’s there.

(37:40): And people would read the fact that you’re doing what you’re doing, it’s just as important is the fact that Black Enterprise is still doing what it’s doing in year 51. And so, black media is not gone, it’s changed. You’ve got to look at what Roland Martin is doing. Roland, Martin and Filter. And another person like me who, went from newspapers to easily navigated that and leaned into, I don’t need to be working at a black newspaper. I mean, he ran one of the top black newspaper named, the Chicago Defender. I don’t need to do that. I don’t need to be on TV1 anymore. Nothing wrong with being on TV1. But you [inaudible 00:38:21]being as a black media entrepreneur from day one, that was Roland Martin’s heart from day one. I’ve known him since he first got out of college. He’s like, no, these platforms, we need to grab hold of them because these are the new «black newspapers». And we’ll be obsolete if we don’t graduate to that, but still stay true to the mission of what black media exists for under [inaudible 00:38:40].

Zach (38:43): You know, it’s interesting, Alfred, like, we talk about like the future of media and you said something there. You talked about the fact that everybody can publish now. Like, WordPress is damn near free. So you know, it’s not a challenge. I’m curious when you talk about that journalistic rigor, or just like being media savvy, or understand, what do you think the future of that is, so that we can still have quality as we think about like the next 15 years?

Alfred (39:19): I think what’s going to happen is because what really determines what quality is accepted or not accepted is the consumers. And we’re still at an age right now, and I don’t know how long it’s going to last, maybe it’ll last forever, or maybe it’s always been this way. There’s only a certain percentage of the population that are really critical thinkers when it comes to media.The vast majority of people eat what they are fed. And I don’t think that’s more true now than it was when it was newspapers or magazine. I don’t think it’s more true. I just, everything happens faster because the viral nature of information and news, but I think you have a critical mass of people who just eat what they’re fed, and believe everything they’re told. And these are people that look at strangers on YouTube videos and take it as fact.

Zach (40:04): It’s scary.

Alfred (40:06): It’s scary, but it’s true. But those are the same people that, keep going to the tabloid at the supermarket stand that said aliens, that landed on the planet. And they’re like [inaudible 00:40:16] landed here? That’s true. So that element is always existed in us as humans. Humankind is then now, because of the nature of social media and the power of algorithms, the impact is so much bigger. That’s what we found out the hard way. We’re still finding out when you’re talking about do you vaccinate or don’t you vaccinate, or why? And this is the [inaudible 00:40:38] and the misinformation, and the disinformation now comes in huge tidal waves. And not everybody has the critical thinking, the objectivity to be able to say, I need to determine the source and make credible decisions about whether this is credible news information or not.

(40:56): So I’m not suggesting there’s no problem, I’m suggesting that the problem has always existed. And my belief is that, over time, the quality stuff will come out. Over time, the truth will still stand at the truth. The facts will still stand as the facts. There may be some people that will never ever believe it. And so, I think it’s still worth doing our best as professional journalists, trying to operate according to a standard about how you report things. What’s true. What’s not true. How do you verify what’s true. How do you admit that you can’t verify, that you don’t know? I studied statistics. I’m really big on following the numbers. When somebody said, they said something, I want to know who they are. Now you have people just believing because they heard it. They are like, oh a person said doctor said such and such. I heard it.

(41:50): In my family, I drive them crazy, because whatever they say that stuff, I’m like, well, who. Or where’d you get that from? I don’t know, I just read it somewhere. I say, don’t come at me with that. You want me to take it as the gospel truth, and you don’t know where it came from. You don’t know if the person you got it from, where they got it from. And so, it takes a tremendous amount of discipline, for even those of us in the media business, because we’re under pressure. We’re under pressure to get eyeballs, rushing to deliver bodies, and eyes to advertisers and the sponsors. We fight it too. We’ve always fought it. How much pressure? How aggressively are we going to report on a story that we haven’t totally checked out, because we didn’t want to get beat on the story. You know, that’s why you see a lot of legitimate [inaudible 00:42:34] getting burned because they was like, we gotta get there first, and then finding out but we’re actually wrong. And of course, as black people pay a high price for that, because it’s always on the front page when we get accused. And on the back page, when it’s like, oh, oops, no, actually.

Zach (42:52): A hundred percent. No, it wasn’t exactly.

Alfred (42:53): [inaudible 00:42:53] of it at all. And so, I spend a lot of time, and I’m not saying I always get it right either, wrestling with that. And I still stick with, and I mean, including even what I do on social media. Like I’m not going to reach from something, I’m not going to repost something, unless I’ve made a reasonable effort to say, is this really credible? Is this really true? Where did they get this from? Because, I know I have enough influence and a following. That if I post it, I’m going to reinforce the misinformation, just because it came from me. So, it’s a long way round of saying it ain’t easy, but we still got to fight for this idea that there’s a way to report credible information. And I think that over time, let me put it this way, because Black Enterprise, and again, we’re not immune to all these forces that I’ve; we didn’t get to 8 million unique without, you know, oh, we’ve got to get that, we’ve got to get that information out, got to go. So that we can deliver the impressions that our advertisers and sponsors want. We are subject to the same forces like everybody else.

(43:54): That said, and again, I credit our CEO, Butch Graves. I credit our current chief content officer, Derek T. Dingle, who is like a brother to me. He came up in the organization just the way I did. With the idea that, when all is said and done, both to both readers, viewers, sponsors and whoever it is, can look at the Black Enterprise name and said, well, Black Enterprise is credible. That’s still the most important thing we have in the marketplace. The minute people start thinking, well, you can’t really trust what Black Enterprise is putting out there. Then everything that we do that makes our business work, falls over. And I just think, in time, that’s what happens. It’s either you’re credible, and you can build a business around that. And you can walk around with your head held high and say yes, I work for you know, Living Corporate. And people say, yeah, Living Corporate’s the real deal, or people will say, yeah, at Living Corporate, it kind of don’t really smell right. But you’ve got to admit there’s a lot of media brands, and I don’t mean just black ones, that don’t quite smell right. But they still make money.

Zach (45:03): No, it’s, it’s true Alfred. And so, it’s interesting to that point about platforms, publishing companies, media companies, media platforms, however you want to phrase it. There is a lot of activity out there, and sometimes it does seem like there’s this, the push is for clicks and dollars, and not necessarily about like the actual inherent value of the stories being told.

Alfred (45:33): Not even sometimes. I mean, I won’t say the majority, but I’ll say a significant proportion. That’s that’s all it’s about. And again, but when you’re talking about publications, like those I talked about as supermarket tabloids. That was true for them too. They’re like, no, we want to write whatever, and publish whatever we can, that’s going to make people pick this thing up, you know, when they go past, when they’re shopping, [inaudible 00:45:58] pay for their food. Again, it’s just on steroids now, but it’s always been there.

Zach (46:04): I like the fact that you brought that historical context to it, because it is easy to think that like all of what we’re seeing right now is new but it’s not. Just technology has accelerated and expanded everything. But you’re a hundred percent right, yellow journalism has been a thing.

Alfred (46:26): And making money in multiple ways, off of denigrating and distorting the images of black people, has been a thing forever, in mainstream, supposedly respected media outlets.

Zach (46:38): Hundred percent.

Alfred (46:38): We’re still fighting that battle of how we’re portrayed. If we’re portrayed, how we’re portrayed, how we report it. And that battle’s not changed because, the predominant white maleness of newsrooms and television decision-makers, and now we know, even in the tech platforms, even the new technologies, the decision makers are still predominantly white, predominantly male. And now, we have another layer that we got to fight in media and elsewhere, algorithmic bias and racism.

Zach (47:08): Let’s talk about it. So, that’s the next thing I want to ask you is, so Living Corporate is bootstrap, independent black-owned media. And I feel like the algorithms have to be my biggest gatekeeper and that’s common. Even there’s other platforms, shout out Mogul Millennial, and like there’s other platforms that are younger, bootstrapped organizations telling black stories. It seems like this algorithm, it seems almost like, I don’t want to say it’s like the boogeyman, but it does feel like this just monster. And I’m curious, what does it look like? How has Black Enterprise had to challenge, or push back against the algorithm and media? Because, it blows my mind when I see huge, I’ll use a simple example like YouTube. So YouTube might be somebody with like 2 million subscribers, but the algorithm has it sold that their videos might only have like 3,000 views. But you have 2 million subscribers. So I’m curious when it comes to like Black Enterprise, like what have, y’all what experience have y’all had in engaging algorithms on social media to get the marketing out there and what have been some of the lessons learned in that?

Alfred (48:30): Well, first of all, again, I’m give credit to another Graves, our third generation of Graves’ in the company, because our social media manager, Kristin Graves, which is the oldest daughter who as done a great job with our social media. Really undermanned, she could use help. But, for us, over the last several years, since she’s been with the company, I think it’s been like four or five years now, so this is not just yesterday, but that’s another story. When you’ve been at BE as long as I have, everybody seems like they just got here yesterday.

Zach (48:58): I hear you.

Alfred (48:58): But it’s not about the algorithm that’s affecting your particular media outlet. And I’m doing a lot of work on this because I do some work for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and a lot of algorithmic bias is affecting everything. And for your audience, is not sure what it’s about. Remember when tech first became so dominant, the idea was that it was going to level the playing field because technology is race neutral. What we’re finding out is that technology is not race neutral, because guess who’s doing the programming? Guess, who’s writing these algorithms, guess what data they’re basing it on? They’re basing it on corrupt data. They’re basing it on biased assumptions and they’re building these algorithms. So that’s why.

(49:43): And again, this is not new. We always complained about how Nielsen measured the ratings of black radio stations versus white radio stations. And how black audiences can get the same value from advertisers as white audiences did. Same thing with, no, Nielsen was television. I think. Arbitron was radio. Every measuring tool that measures audiences have biases against the value of black audiences. And what we’re finding it out it’s the same thing with algorithms that measure the value of the traffic that you could get, the credit potential. Who gets to see your views, who gets shown what? And then how can you translate that to numbers that you can take to your advertiser, and make sure your audience gets the same dollar for eyeball that a white audience might get.

(50:28): But again, this is a larger issue because algorithms are used to determine everything from sentencing and criminal cases; to who gets a mortgage or who doesn’t; to who’s a job and who does it. So once again, every time we were told, this time we’cve got it right, we’ve got all the bias out. And black people say, okay, okay, then we find out, oh man, sorry, we thought we got it all out. And it’s not all out. And this is to your original question, we as black media outlets have to constantly fight agencies. If we’ve got clients that believe in what we do, then the clients can be allies. But if they’re clients that don’t believe in what we do, then they’re not on our side. And we’re trying to make the case for why is that media platform that gets the same number of audience, whether it’s eyeballs or whatever, you’re paying them a hundred dollars per pound, but you only pay me 30?

(51:24): And the only thing is that that black audiences are undervalued, but it’s not undervalued. If you correct for every other measure, income, education, why is my black audience are getting paid less than my white counterpart. Who delivering a audience that may even be weaker in terms of income and education or whatever [inaudible 00:51:43]? But you’re automatically paying them a premium. And I wish I could say I had an easy answer, but the answer to that, we do is first of all, our CEO, Butch Graves is very vocal in talking to in particular, the advertising community and clients. Now he’s at a space where he can talk at upper levels. He rubbed shoulders with the heads of media organizations, the head of these top agencies.

(52:11): So it’s a blessing to us to be able to do that, but it’s not enough to be able to get in the room, right now. He has to say something. And he carries on the legacy of his father. His father said they didn’t invite me to the room because they ran out of smart white people. If you’re going to be in the room with a black person, your job is to make things better for black people, and then say something when it’s unfair. And now, we’ve got this new age of DEI, post George Floyd. Our CEO, Butch Graves, is being very vocal, and very bold about challenging the advertising community, challenging the agency community, to say, you’re saying the right things, but you’re still doing the things that are devaluing black media. Where’s this money being spent? How much are you spending? If you really value black audiences, why are you not paying a premium to reach those audiences? And I happen to think that’s going to have a trickle down effect, because he’s not just speaking for Black Enterprise. He’s speaking for all black media. If Living Corporate delivers an audience that’s equal to, a better than, a similar you know, podcast or webcast show and you’ve got the same profile. Why would you get a smaller sponsorship for advertising dollar?

Zach (53:22): A hundred percent.

Alfred (53:22): Whether it’s programmatic or whether it’s an actual partnership, than your counterpart. And, my experience, both the first person, the second person or third party experiences is that there’s a lot of, oh, oh, oh, does that? We didn’t really, you know. There’s no real good explanation.

Zach (53:40): They just get caught.

Alfred (53:40): Yes, they get caught. And then with the algorithms, now, it’s a new thing, this thing, algorithmic racism. And we’re not prepared as a society, yet to deal with it. But how do you undo the algorithms that drive Facebook and YouTube and determine which pieces of content give visibility and value, and which one’s a devalue or don’t even see the light of day? And you see that everywhere, but TikTok, when you see black creators on TikTok, who are driving the trends on TikTok, but not getting paid the money that [inaudible 00:54:15]. Black people made TikTok what it is.

Zach (54:19): Right. A hundred percent.

Alfred (54:19): Black Twitter, made Twitter what it is. I won’t say that for Facebook necessarily, but Twitter and TikTok.

Zach (54:25): For sure.

Alfred (54:25): And I would argue Instagram too, in my opinion.

Zach (54:29): A hundred percent.

Alfred (54:30): The kind of content you see and how it’s used. And black creators, remember, look, back in Motown days and record industry, black creators created all the great stuff, but they weren’t the ones making the money. So we’ve got to get focused on that.

Zach (54:45): No, you’re absolutely right. And you know, to that point around like black creators, that continues to like coming on these platforms, that continues to be a pattern. And then, I’ll take it a little bit further back and say, before there was TikTok, there was Vine.

Alfred (54:59): Yes!

Zach (54:59): And Vine. Same. It was really frankly, the same platform. And so, a lot of folks that we’re now seeing on like different shows and stuff, those white folks, those were Vine stars, or they came from that era.

Alfred (55:16): Yes.

Zach (55:16): But then a lot of those black folks who were really popping on Vine, they’re still here, but they’re on other platforms like All Def Digital. Or they do not have the same access to dollars and revenue that their white counterparts had. Despite the fact that they are the ones that really made that platform blow up.

(55:36): And then, a hundred percent agreed on your point with the TikTok dancers, and comedians, and stuff. Black folks, are not the ones seeing the return on that. Another example I’m curious, as media continues to grow, I’m noticing that happens over and over. You said, Twitter, I’ll give you another one is Clubhouse. So Clubhouse started, and they had an opportunity, so they say. They had an opportunity [inaudible 00:56:00] and they weren’t really super interested in the black storytelling or experience, or really catering to black users. But really, when you look at the explosion of growth for Clubhouse, last summer, it was because of these black celebrities and black influencers too. So, even if they weren’t, you know, I would consider like Living Corporate, like a micro-influencer. So, they were bringing on those types of creators, which then helped galvanize traffic to their platform.

Alfred (56:34): They’re running a whole playbook, man. I mean, when you think of new television that works, I mean, you’re pretty young, but whether it’s WWB or the CW.

Zach (56:44): Yes.

Alfred (56:44): They always start out with a whole slate. We’re talking about Moesha.

Zach (56:46): It was all black. Yes.

Alfred (56:49): All black. They get their audience established and getting this audience established, establishes their credibility as an advertising and sponsorship outlet. Then, after year four or five, well, use year five, because it takes five years to get it to syndication. And then, get that, [inaudible 00:57:07] that. Then all of a sudden, there’s fewer until none, black people on those. Again, this is a compounding thing because where do you get your black sitcoms stars from when sitcoms was a thing? A lot of them were comedians. So even though we know that the baddest black comedians, generation after generation, usually if you’ve got the top 10, seven out of the 10 are black. Who gets the sitcoms? How many of them? We can name them on one hand. How many, okay comedians that were on sitcoms, where the superstar comedians might get a shot? Might get a shot.

Zach (57:49): A hundred percent.

Alfred (57:50): So it goes back to the thing we’ve been struggling against, our whole time in this country. Which is in this case, the commercial, which is where, what matters to me. The commercial undervaluation of black life, black contributions, we can profit from it, but we don’t necessarily want to pay for it.

Zach (58:13): The last thing I’ll say on this is, to that last part we probably don’t want to pay. It’s curious, and you alluded to it already, the murder of George Floyd. All of a sudden now, black storytelling is back in Vogue. And you talked about my age, I’m not going to call you old, but I know that you’ve seen the cycle play over and over. This isn’t the first time that being black is in style. And black stories are in style. But I will say, to affirm your point, it has been curious, like the level of attention that Living Corporate has received, and other black podcasts and media space has received since George Floyd’s murder, is notably higher and different than it was before.

(58:59): So like, before people say, oh, this is like, they will call like the idea of centering and amplifying black and brown folks at work or black perspectives, and the professional. They will call that niche. But now, they’re like, oh, this is really neat. It’s like, well, no, it was needed before.

Alfred (59:14): Right.

Zach (59:14): You just didn’t understand that. And then, at the same time, which is really insidious is despite the fact that there is a high understanding or some sudden recognition of the need, when the brands come. And I’m not gonna put nobody on blast because we’ve got some great partnerships. I mean clearly, like shout out Pfizer, LiveRamp, we’ve done great partnerships. But there’ve been some other brands that have engaged us, and you asked about a budget and they’re like, oh, we thought we’d do this for exposure.

Alfred (59:38): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me say a prop. First of all, it’s hard even when people are willing, or when there’s a social willingness it’s hard to change cultural and it’s hard to change thinking. So we all know in the media, we don’t have to drop a whole bunch of names, but we know those brands that have been at this game a long time, and actually know what they’re doing when you’re trying to reach out to black people. They really know, they’ve been at it. The Morgan Chase’s, the Nationwide, some of the car companies, but they’ve been at this for, and many of them 40 or 50 years. Now you have a whole new generation of companies coming to the game I would say they’re under 20 years old. To them, this is a revelation. Oh, wait, really there’s racism and, like we could do better at systemic racism? Oh, I’m a clutch [inaudible 01:00:28] my pearls. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my Gwaad! So, they’ve never done anything. And so they do one little thing, and they think they should get the NAACP Image Award because they don’t– So, I know what you’re talking about, man, but you know, it’s interesting. It is a thing.

(01:00:48): Here’s what makes it different. We’ve seen this movie before. What makes it different is one, I think we finally reached a critical mass of black people inside, let’s say corporate America. That makes it harder for them to run the game of they say the right thing on the front end. And then they kind of don’t really do anything on the backend. There’s more people inside the organizations. There’s not only more black people and people of color inside, I’ll use the term corporate America in general. There’s also more sensitized non-Black people inside the thing, well, what are we doing here? And when does this…? So that’s happened.

(01:01:27): The second thing that’s happened is that we are better able to hold large organizations accountable as black people. Whether it’s social media or traditional media, than our parents. And that’s the other good thing about the evolution of black media. We had some of it in the past. The Emmett Till disaster and atrocity could never had been brought to light without black newspapers and then Jet making that. So we’ve had situations where we’ve been able to leverage and move action because we were able to hold up a mirror. Now, corporations like, talking about, you’ve got Black Twitter. You’ve got, you know what I’m saying? They’re like they don’t want these troubles, oh, it’s immediate. So now, I think it’s a little harder, not impossible. It’s a little harder for a corporation to say, oh, we’re going to do this and then do something other than that, and not pay a price in the marketplace for it. And that’s another reason why, what you’re doing and what we do is important. Yeah. We’re doing it in part to uplift and encourage and advocate advancement for black people. But part of it is somebody has got to look at all these pledges that have been made in the past year and say–

Zach (01:02:38): Oh, that’s it. Oh yeah. So I’m going to say, that’s the thing, it’s accountability. It’s awareness. Because there’s, plenty of conversations that are fairly mealy mouthed right now. Alfred around diversity, equity, inclusion. And so, that’s not the differentiator, in my opinion. The differentiator is the frank, honest and accountable dialogues to make sure are doing what they say they going to do.

Alfred (01:03:01): I’m only looking at two page [inaudible 01:03:03]. The dialogue, like you said, the frank, just be honest with me, if you ain’t going to do it. Don’t give me the whole, we value all people and we’ve got to come together as diversity or whatever. Be honest. And the only thing I’m looking at is where the money’s going. That’s all the [inaudible 01:03:17]. Where’s the money going?

Zach (01:03:21): Amen.

Alfred (03:21): Now I can get sometimes every initiative is not going to work. When your initiative is not moving the needle economically in terms of advancement in corporations, in terms of money-based bet on black-owned businesses. In terms of the economic health of black communities. I don’t care that you gave free sneakers to, you know, the kind of stuff they do, you know that it’s performative and it looks really good.

Zach (01:03:47): Symbolic.

Alfred (01:03:47): Great press release, really symbolic but it’s not going to move the needle. And again, our main focus at Black Enterprise has always been, but it’s even more important now, is closing the racial wealth gap. Because, when all is said and done, that’s what it’s really about. It’s like, when do we get to the point of equality and parity in resources, opportunities and ownership in America? We’re decades away, if we’re fortunate, maybe centuries, but if you’re not moving the needle on that, I’m not necessarily impressed. And it’s not gonna happen in our lifetime, but it’s [inaudible 01:04:19] gonna happen.

Zach (01:04:21): I love it. I a hundred percent agree. Last thing I’ll ask is, last word from me and I’ll give you the last thing here is what are you excited about right now with Black Enterprise? What do you want folks to be checking out right now?

Alfred (01:04:34): Oh, I’m very excited because again, our digital brand digital platform is stronger than ever. The other thing is that what we were brilliant at before the pandemic is just doing our national live networking events. Most prominently Women of Power Summit, the Entrepreneurial Summit, and Black Men Excel, which is coming up. Our challenge in the pandemic year was not only how do we stay alive, but in this case, how do we convert those into virtual events that sponsors still want to support? That still serves our audience because that’s the way we get our audience connected to move the ball in their own lives and their own businesses. And we found out we were really, really good at doing virtual conferences. And so, the next big one, which you already know, I want you to be a part of, is our next Black Men Excel Summit, which would be virtual.

(01:05:23): We’ve been doing it for about, this is our, I think, our seventh one, but this will be our second virtual one. That’s on November 18th and November 19th. And simply put, it is the premier leadership and excellence development of leadership in excellence on black men. It’s about black men in corporate America, black men in leadership, black male excellence. It’s not, what are we going to do to save black men? Though, those events are important. This is, what we’re going to do to continue to elevate and highlight the excellence that black men have always delivered despite. It’s how can we equip you to be stronger, how can we equip you to be better? We do everything from mental wellness, to advancing in corporate America, to taking advantage of wealth and investing opportunities. So that’s happening November 17th to 18th, over two days. We got one-on-one conversations with Chance, the rapper, and our CEO Butch Graves. It’s going to be a great event. It’s always a great event every year. So that’s the big thing that’s coming up right away. But if you go to blackenterprise.com, you’ll see our whole schedule. We do virtual town halls that are all moderated by Bakari Sellers, the CNN analyst. [over-talk 01:06:31].

Zach (01:06:35): Yes. Shout out to Bakari Sellers.

Alfred (01:06:35): We’ve got Women of Power. The Women of Power proper, the live event is coming back in Las Vegas in February, that’ll be our first live event since the pandemic. But we’re doing town halls and virtual summits every month. You just have to go to blackenterprise.com and stay on top of that. But brothers, sisters, you’re welcome too. For brothers, you want to be a Black Men Excel, so go right now, you can register. It was like almost a thousand brothers already registered, and we haven’t even been pushing it like that yet, because we’ve got other events that we’re pushing. But Black Men Excel is the real deal and you definitely want to be there. And that’s November 18th and 19th and you can register right now.

Zach (01:07:12): Thank you so much. And y’all look,’ the links in the show notes so make sure you check it out. Black Men Excel, I will be there. Be in the building. It’s going to be a great time. I’m really excited. Last thing I’ll say is, Black Enterprise has always been an inspiration to me. I grew up, coming up, mostly just really me and my mom. And so, I recall being in the barbershop or actually being in the salon when I was a kid, and there’ll be a magazine rack. And on the magazine rack, there will be a copy of the latest Black Enterprise. And I would see some black man on the front with a nice suit, or a woman. And just see someone that looks like me in this clear position of authority and frankly, like success. And I want you to know that the legacy that Black Enterprises has had continues to be an inspiration for me, and thousands of other black folks and brown folks around the world. So thank you so much for your effort. Thank you for your labor. I thank you for your service. And you’re a friend of the show, and I know I’m gonna see you at Black Men Excel, but I hope I see you back on Living Corporate too.

Alfred (01:08:10): Oh,. no doubt, man, you’ve got it. And remember, we’re doing the same work. Living Corporate is just a big part of Black Enterprise’s legacy as anything. And we recognize that. So it’s about the true measure of success for a institution or person is the capacity to inspire and replicate yourself. And so, when we look at and see platforms like Living Corporate, and we know our founder, Earl Graves is smiling down because, we got to replicate our successes so that we can continue to move the needle toward what’s right, and good for us as a people. And what’s really right and good for the world. So, salute to you. I’m glad we had this connection. Won’t be our last conversation. Clearly, we need more that an an hour. We ran through that.

Zach (01:08:53): Clearly.

Alfred (01:08:54): Listen, thanks, man. I really appreciate being invited and I look forward to coming back.

Zach (01:08:59): All right now. Talk to you soon.

Alfred (01:09:00): My pleasure. Take care now.

Zach (01:09:10): And we are back. Yo, again, major shout out to Black Enterprise. Y’all heard about the event. It’s coming up really soon. I’m going to be a moderator. I will be there. I will be on the panel. I’ll be, you know what I’m saying, moving and shaking. Y’all gonna see me moving around, talking, making jokes. I might even bring out the soundboard, drop a couple of air horns or whatever. I don’t know. We’ll just have to see what’s going on. The point is I’m gonna be there. All right. So click the link in the show notes, make sure you sign up, and just learn more about Black Enterprise. You know, Black Enterprise is not some relic. Like they are still keeping up with the times. And I don’t know, man, this is an audio only podcast. We dropped some videos for our other content, but I’ll definitely almost blushed when he like associated Living Corporate and said like, we. When he spoke about us, he talked about Living Corporate as part of this collective. That was really inspirational to me. So again, shout out to Alfred, shout out to Black Enterprise.

(01:10:10): And listen, if you haven’t already, tell somebody about Living Corporate. The way that we continue to grow, the way we continue to be on these lists, the way we continue to get pub and recognition is straight up five star ratings on Apple Podcasts. It’s one of the ways, but that’s not the only way. But I’m saying, like for real, like just show us a little love. We really appreciate it. It’s free. It’ll take you, I don’t know, like 15 seconds to do it, if you have an iPhone, you know what I’m saying?

(01:10:38): And then look, if you don’t have an iPhone, I’m not saying don’t share the pocket. I’m saying, share. Like, you still have something to do too. Go to your little media player, press share, and then flip it on over. All right. All right y’all listen, you owe it to yourself. You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself every day. You owe it to yourself to be as authentic as possible, every day. Not for some performative award out here in these streets. You owe it to yourself. Like, you know, people dying everyday. Life is not promised. So you want to make sure that you’re going out as authentically as possible. When you, you know what I’m saying, in that casket, people ain’t going to talk about how good you made those PowerPoints, or how you showed up to work every day.

(01:11:30): People are gonna talk about the impact you had and how you made people feel. People gonna talk about your energy. They’re going to talk about your character. They’re going to talk about your integrity. They’re going to talk about again, like the impact that you left, the mark that you made. And I’m telling you, that mark probably ain’t got much to do with your little nine to five job. Straight up. I don’t care what you do. So do right by yourself, by doing right by yourself. Even if you have to be by yourself. Straight up. And that’s a bar. That’s a bar.

(01:12:06): All right, y’all, this has been Zach. I catch you next time. I love y’all. Peace.

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