Black-Owned Media Organizations Are Taking on Ford and Stellantis After Commitment from General Motors to Do More Business

Byron Allen, owner of Allen Media Group, in his Los Angeles office in 2018. Allen is pushing General Motors and other corporations to offer economic inclusion to Black-owned companies. (Michele Thomas Photography LLC)

After winning commitments from General Motors to do more business, leaders of some Black-owned media organizations now are driving their campaign toward Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis.

Media mogul Byron Allen, who owns The Weather Channel among dozens of other TV properties, has asked the two other members of the Detroit Three automakers to discuss increasing their advertising spending with Black-owned media companies.

Separately, Ben Chavis, CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents 230 Black-owned newspapers, said he is seeking meetings with automakers, including Ford, about spending more with the media the NNPA represents. Chavis is a longtime civil rights activist who in 1993 became the youngest person to serve as executive director and CEO of the NAACP. Chavis was appointed national director of the Million Man March and helped organize the march in the nation’s capital in 2000.

Both Ford and Stellantis say they’re open to working with the diverse owners of media companies. A Ford spokesman told the Free Press it “looks forward” to meeting with both men. No meeting has been set yet.

While Chavis is flexible in his wants, Allen has his own demands.

“I want to know from other automakers, ‘Will you allocate a minimum of 8% of your marketing budget — and match GM — to Black-owned media?’ ” Allen told the Free Press. “That’s what I say to the rest of the auto industry.”

Another letter?

Allen and Chavis share a cause, but go about getting to the table using different tactics.

On Thursday, Allen sued McDonald’s Corporation, alleging racial discrimination and asking for $10 billion. The suit filed in California accuses the company of intentional stereotyping and refusing to spend any significant amount of ad money with his company and Black-owned media, while spending multiple millions to run ads with similar media properties that were white-owned.

McDonald’s did not provide an immediate comment to the lawsuit or its allegations.

Some see Allen’s tactics as him wanting to line his own pockets. But he says he wants to carry on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s push for economic justice. That includes a redistribution of wealth in America to allow African Americans a better shot at financial equality.

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SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, Jamie L. LaReau

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