Black Owned Media is Here To Stay, says Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute (BOMESI)

By Devon Jones and Ron Calhoun

The mind-expanding Black-Owned Media Weekend hosted by the Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute and sponsored by HP Inc. and Build in Tulsa, took place in Tulsa, OK June 16 – June 19.

Black-Owned Media has been essential to combating discrimination and ensuring equity and equality in Black communities in the United States for many years. These platforms have served Black Americans since the early 1800s with the first black publication Freedom’s Journal. Freedom’s Journal was the first African American owned and operated newspaper in the United States. A weekly four-column publication printed every Friday, Freedom’s Journal was founded by free-born African Americans John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish on March 16, 1827, in New York City, New York.

Black Media has also endured racism and discrimination in the media industry, including obstacles around advertising, arbitrary platform requirements, and limited engagement by large corporations. Black-owned media platforms have been restricted and cut off from key resources, unlike their white counterparts. These platforms are vital to connecting Black Americans to important information and resources.

One of the answers to ensure the success and long-term sustainability of these platforms is the Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute (BOMESI).

BOMESI, Founded by Devon Christopher Johnson and Rohnesha Byng.

Founded by Rohnesha Byng and Devon Christopher Johnson in 2020, BOMESI’s mission is “to unite and advance Black-owned media businesses, educate the public on the importance of these platforms, and provide resources to support and sustain. Black-owned media outlets have been a beacon for Black communities for over 190 years.” By creating a platform to unite Black-Owned Media platforms across the country, BOMESI has provided platforms, both big and small, access to much-needed resources to generate revenue and achieve sustainability as organizations.

Why is this important? Black Owned media platforms have served as arbiters of truth during times of misinformation and distortion. With heightened concerns over the country’s direction, these platforms have been key voices of and for the communities they serve. As a member of this collective, The Cleveland Observer is here to service the community and provide much-needed resources and information. It’s clear that democracy is under attack and platforms like ours are key to holding leaders accountable.

Pictured is the backdrop to the Black Owned Media Weekend hosted by the Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute, BOMESI.  The home of the first Black Wall Street, formally known as Greenwood, is a vital part of American history. On May 31 -July 1, the Tulsa Race massacre occurred in the neighborhood and community of Greenwood located in North Tulsa. Some estimate that 1,400 white men attacked residents, businesses, and buildings seeking to kill every black person and burn every building in sight.

With BOMESI’s theme being Owning Our Story, this historic four-day celebration kicked off with a welcome reception at the Hotel Indigo and conference sessions at the Agora Event Center. Attendees gained valuable insight and strategies from an impressive line-up of presenters to double their bottom line, optimize their sales strategy, develop their audience and SEO, and update their technology stack.

Speakers included:

  • Keith Clinkscales, media entrepreneur, founder of The Shadow League, former CEO of REVOLT
  • Lindsey Day, cofounder, EIC CRWN Magazine
  • Grouchy Greg, Co-founder of AllHipHop
  • Felicia Palmer, cofounder of SOHH
  • Nehemiah D. Frank, founder & editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times
  • Marques E. Zak, Head of Multicultural Marketing, American Express
  • Karolina Anna Tuszewicka, Head of Digital Media Activation, HP Inc.

Day 1:

Panel Session #1
Connecting Legacy + Next Gen Black-Owned Media
Moderator: Charreah K. Jackson, media consultant

Panel:

Alfred A. Edmond Jr. SVP/Executive Editor-at-Large BLACK ENTERPRISE; Nehemiah D. Frank, founder & CEO of The Black Wall Street Times; Lindsey Farrar, Publisher, CRWNMAG

Panel Session #2
Allies Like Us Panel
Moderator: Brittany Willis ‘Protégé to Pro’ podcast

Panel:

Marques E. Zak, Head of Multicultural Marketing, American Express Richard Fowler, Contributor Fox News. Contributing Writer Forbes, Richard Media Company Co-Founder Darian Symoné Harvin, Beauty Editor at Large, LATimes Imag

 

Panel Session #3 
Fireside Chat

Felicia Palmer, SOHH.COM Grouchy Greg, Founder, AllHipHop.com

 

Resource Presentation: Taboola

FOR PEOPLE
It can be news, topical information or advice, a new product or service, or something entertaining. The content we expose through the Taboola discovery platform is what’s interesting and new.

FOR ADVERTISERS
Taboola helps promote your brand at the moments your audience is most receptive to new messages, products, and services.

FOR DIGITAL PROPERTIES
For publishers, mobile carriers, and other digital properties, Taboola is a powerful engine that provides what’s relevant, interesting, and new to your audience. The result: new engagement and monetization opportunities.

Black Wall Street Tour

Enjoyed Juneteenth Festival

Day 2:

Resource Presentation: HP + KARGO

Hewlett Packard (HP) – Commitment to diversity

Kargo – Kargo’s top commitment is helping publishers bring more attention to their intellectual assets. We create ad experiences that serve your audience and respect your brand. Using a brand’s assets, Kargo’s award-winning design team turns them into beautiful mobile-first creative ads that drive lift in awareness, engagement, visitation, store visits, and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), a must-have metric for digital marketers everywhere. The proof is in the performance.

Workshops

  • Audience Development and SEO
  • Updating Your Tech Stack: Essentials For Growth + Sustainability
  • Doubling Your Bottom-line: optimizing your sales strategy

Dresser Mansion 

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Dresser Mansion is one of only ten houses in Tulsa with such a historic designation. Dinner, cocktails, and networking were enjoyed as we closed the conference reception in style.

Awesome Experience – First class!