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African-American Publishers ask Bailed-out Companies for Reciprocity

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NNPA Targets General Motors and others for Lack of Spending in Black Community

African Americans represent a buying power of $913 billion annually, 62 percent of total consumer buying power. However, the very corporations and institutions they support do not believe in reciprocity. Danny Bakewell, newly-elected chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) which represents 200 black community newspapers, today announced that his organization would be addressing the disparities between the revenue large corporations generate from black consumers, compared to the advertising invested in black-owned media. NNPA is particularly interested in corporations such as General Motors (GM), who received $50 billion dollars in federal bailout money this year.

The 10 Congressional Black Caucus Members of Congress who sit on the House Financial Services Committee are, from left, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (Mo.), Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.), Rep. Mel Watt (N.C.), Rep. Al Green (Texas), Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.), Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rep. David Scott (Ga.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.), Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), and Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr. (Mo.).In October, the National Alliance of Market Developers and Target Market News produced a study for the NNPA that showed African-American consumers will spend $2.8 billion on new GM cars in this year alone, representing nearly twenty-five percent of GM’s market shares. GM is one of the top five advertisers in the world yet the corporation spent only $29.9 million on advertising in Black media in 2008. This figure represents a meager 2.4 percent of GM’s $3 billion advertising and marketing budget.

This is just one example of government bailed-out institutions taking advantage of black tax payers. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are two others.

“This is not only unjust; this is tantamount to a crime. Companies are happily taking money out of the black community but not investing back,” says Bakewell. “African-American media companies are small businesses and declining advertising revenue has forced many to lay off employees and, in some cases, close their doors. And we know how desperate our community is for jobs.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Financial Services Committee Members have also released a statement (Dec. 2) acknowledging the extreme economic crisis in the African–American community, and in particular the decline of minority-owned small businesses. In the past decade there has been a 40 percent reduction in the number of African-American-owned media outlets. Civil Rights leaders including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, have pledged to work with NNPA to apply pressure on those institutions.

“Now that the government has stepped in, the Obama administration must enforce the laws of equal opportunity, contract compliance and fairness. These are government-run companies. And this is an imperative,” said Rev. Jackson. “These institutions simply cannot continue to take African Americans and this country’s small businesses for granted.”

“I am making this my top issue as chairman of NNPA,” said Bakewell. “We need real change and fast action now. Even if we have to take our 200-plus publishers to the board meetings of every corporation who is guilty, we will. This is an unethical and immoral public issue.”


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