Its been awhile since I’ve been on the corner. I apologize for being away.
Why have I been away. Honestly, trying to find my voice and find a purpose.
Much has happened since my last post. Ferguson. #ICan’tBreathe. Ukraine. Washington. “I know I won two of them”
“Hands Up”. Cardele James. The very pale Oscars.
But it was a personal thing which took me away from the keyboard. And he brought my back.
On July 3, 2014. I lost my champion. I lost my inspiration.
I lost my dad. And he’s been kicking me the ass since. “Write again, son. Write about something!”
I couldn’t find that something. His voice called to me everywhere.
“TALK!” He would yell. “SAY WHAT IS ON YOUR MIND! YOU HAVE AN OPINION! GIVE IT!”
Everyday. Without fail. As I was running my first marathon. As I was struggling with comprehending the loss.
As I saw the fires in Ferguson. The garbled voice through a chokehold in New York.
In my sleep. When I woke up. When I’d pray.
Then maybe a week or two ago, it came out in torrents. In anger. Just freewriting. No purpose. Just the anger. The frustration. The want for one more day with dad to debate.
Then Sunday, a my voice met a story when I was watching CNN.
I saw another person, using his voice and using it in a way most of us probably never heard it before.
Remember this dude? Remember way back on Television when you really didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me? This cat was on a show called “Real People.”
In the years since, Byron Allen went from “Real People” to becoming “Real” in the game. He has an entertainment corporation. Own a slew of small networks and has done well for himself even in these media times where being a small fish surrounded by the sharks that control most of the media in the world makes a smaller fish plankton real quick.
Congress is looking at the impending merger of cable giants Comcast and Time-Warner. It’s a merger all of us as subscribers to content and consumer should be keeping a “weather eye” on.
I’ve worked in media my entire adult life. One thing that I do not like about my industry is the consolidation of the industry under the control of a few large, well-capitalized interests. I do not like how the public airwaves have been privatized to the point where perhaps six conglomerates control 95% of what you see, hear, and read.
Apparently, Byron has a problem with that, too.. That is why his company along with a watchdog group a slapping Comcast with a $20 billion lawsuit claiming civil right violations and restraint of trade.
Oh by the way, he put Comcast host/activist/your favorite perm and mine Rev. Al Sharpton as a defendant.
This past Sunday on CNN, he went from “Real People” just “Real”, and called Sharpton out as a “black pawn in a white game”.
He also had some other choice words such as “You give him (Sharpton) $50,000 and a bucket of chicken and he’s good.”
Now this lawsuit has gotten some play. Obviously from CNN and the blogosphere…and from White Wing, oops I mean Right Wing media. Now that gives me some pause that Allen is doing interviews with outlets such as the Daily Caller, and other sites such as Breitbart and the American Standard. Groups that take any chance to hit the President (and/or Rev. Al) before or after the whistle and take any criticism of Obama, especially when it comes from people of color as an endorsement of their positions. Brother Byron, the enemy of your enemy isn’t always your friend. Chip# Just Sayin’.
Now the cynic in me see this and says, “Byron Allen is just trying to get his piece of the pie”. I don’t begrudge him that. Like he said on CNN, “I’m a businessman”. He’s doing what businessmen do. Find that edge, and that edge is the achilles heel of the deal. The FCC at least pays lip service to the concept of broadcasting “acting in the public interest”. That’s why Comcast is, as Allen stated, making those “token” deals.
But sir, you also have a bigger message in front of you and a bigger issue beyond “your cut”. I’d like to hear you touch on it.
Why allow a $45 billion merger of these two giants at all? Why more media consolidation? Why not see these companies as the electronic robber barons that they are and start hemming them in?
Mr. Allen, if you and your company really want to make a dent, trying to negotiate a margin of these big media deals is a plankton move. That’s not where you want to be on the food chain. Instead of breaking into their distribution stream, why not fight for the creation of more choices, more voices, more streams. You have an opportunity to energize and educate a populace that has a media victory, net neutrality, in their hands to look at the bigger picture. That picture is regaining the control of the airwaves “in the public interest” and allowing an opportunity for many voices in the marketplace, not voices dictated by a few large checkbooks.
The Sharks are circling, but organization around the bigger picture could yield killer whales we need as consumers, subscribers, and most importantly as citizens.