Wednesday, March 31, 2010

7598: IPG Seeks Pimp.

IPG posted a job listing on, seeking a Diversity Management Director. Or a pimp, as Sanford Moore would insist. Most ridiculous is the final prerequisite: Successful championship of diversity and inclusion issues in corporate, non-profit and/or volunteer contexts. Why, someone with such credentials would fit in perfectly on Madison Avenue.

Director, Diversity Management

About the Job


The Director, Diversity Management, will serve in a lead consulting role for multiple business units with a variety of cultures and approaches to diversity and inclusion. He or she will be responsible for the day-to-day management and evaluation of assigned services and programs developed in conjunction with advertising agencies within the Interpublic Group; will lead department branding strategy, managing all aspects of internal and external communications, including look and feel; maintain quality standards for events, publications, newsletters, websites; support continuity and turn-key communications for employee resource groups; and collaborate with corporate communications and guide development of communications of multiple Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

The Director will be an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and promote implementation of corporate programs/change initiatives. She or he must be able to relate with agency and corporate leadership and present compelling cases for program mandates. They must be comfortable with ambiguity, flexible, adaptable and able to change course quickly, capable of distilling information in “real time”, and possess deep creative, strategic and tactical presentation skills.

Key Responsibilities:

• Development, execution and management of multiple concurrent projects
•Management of programs across a wide geography, including proposals, planning, budgeting and tracking of results and outcomes
• Supervise program staff and provide leadership for agency management
• Develop branding strategy, manage all aspects of internal and external communications for events, publications, and websites; support continuity and turn-key communications for ERGs
• Prepare and deliver presentations; facilitate meetings and training
• Conceptualize, support and design strategies for building external reputation and leveraging the full range of programs to maximize results
• Consulting and guiding ERGs on programming and events
• Required to travel as needed, approximately 20% maximum
• Managing metrics-related reports and projects such as climate studies and quantitative analysis
• Vendor management


• Strong leadership, communication, operational and presentation skills
• Proven ability as a strategic and tactical leader
• A minimum of 10 years experience with strategic initiatives requiring advanced communications and complex project management skills
• Bachelor's Degree in a related area (graduate degree preferred)
• Experience implementing and analyzing quantitative measurement systems
• Adaptive learning skills, a natural curiosity and the ability to find solutions to new, unique problems
• Creative, effective story telling skills (distilling complicated information into simple concepts) for developing narratives for meetings, conferences, presentations, collateral materials, press releases, etc.
• Experience with branding and crafting of a range of polished materials and persuasive messages for a range of channels is essential
• Experience facilitating change
• Successful championship of diversity and inclusion issues in corporate, non-profit and/or volunteer contexts

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

7597: Some Ad Shops Maintain Exclusivity.

From Adweek…

Some Shops Miss Diversity Targets

By Andrew McMains

As a group, the 15 New York agencies whose minority hiring practices have been monitored by the New York City Commission on Human Rights since 2007 have exceeded expectations each year. Individually, however, some shops fell short of certain hiring goals, including four in the final year of the program last year.

Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam, Interpublic Group’s Avrett Free Ginsberg and the direct marketing arm of WPP’s G2 last year failed to hire enough minorities either in management or professional roles such as copywriter, according to figures that the commission provided to Adweek.

The commission defined “minorities” broadly as blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans, and each agency set its own goals in the management and professional ranks and listed them as a percentage of total hires in each category. G2’s direct arm, for example, projected that 25 percent of its professional hires in 2009 would constitute minorities, but in the end, only 15 percent did.

Likewise, none of Saatchi’s management hires were minorities, even though the agency projected 16 percent. Avrett also fell short in the management category (none hired v. 10 percent projected) and the percentage of Y&R’s professional hires (26 percent) narrowly trailed the agency’s goal of 30 percent.

None of the four shops, however, failed to meet both its management and professional goals. In fact, despite having fallen short in one category, each shop actually exceeded its goal in the other. For example, a third of Avrett’s hires in the professional ranks were minorities, comfortably exceeding the agency’s goal of 25 percent.

Of course, in a year marked by client spending cutbacks, hiring freezes and layoffs were common, and all but the most successful shops made relatively few hires. That said, in theory, hitting such percentages was easier, given the relatively small base of hires.

Still, some of the agencies that fell short of their goals cited the recession as a factor, noting that all hiring was down as a result. Avrett, for one, did not hire any managers at all last year, explained CEO Frank Ginsberg.

And while Saatchi made some management hires, including a new chief marketing officer, “the economic turmoil of the past 18 months put significant restraints on all core activity, including recruitment,” an agency representative said. “While we are encouraged by the progress we achieved with mid-level and junior professional appointments across all disciplines (27 percent of these hires were minorities, compared to the shop’s goal of 23 percent), the overall 2009 results are not what we would have accomplished in a healthy advertising economy.”

The rep added that Saatchi is “firmly committed to a diverse workforce and we will continue to enrich the many efforts currently under way to complete this goal.”

Among those efforts is a partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival that’s designed to identify and attract talent in production. Saatchi also works with a minority recruiter to help source talent in the mid-level to senior ranks.

As of late Friday, Y&R and G2 had offered no explanation for their hiring shortfalls. Y&R North American CEO Tom Sebok could not be reached, and a G2 representative had no comment.

The other agencies that the commission monitored were Havas units Arnold and Euro RSCG; Omnicom Group’s BBDO, DDB, Merkley + Partners and PHD; Interpublic units Draftfcb and Gotham; Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group; and WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather and the interactive arm of G2.

Despite their individual shortcomings, the group of 15 agencies collectively exceeded expectations last year. More than a quarter of their total hires -- 27 percent—were minorities, well above the 19 percent goal they set for themselves. (The commission approved the shops’ individual and collective goals, but the shops themselves set them.)

The agencies agreed to the commission’s oversight in late 2006, after the panel launched an investigation into minority hiring, retention and promotion practices in the advertising industry. Each shop signed a three-year “memorandum of understanding” that enabled the commission to track such practices. In return, the panel terminated a probe that began in 2004.

The agency agreements expired at the end of last year and are not renewable, although the commission has the power to launch new investigations.

“You can see that progress has been made,” said Betsy Herzog, director of communications at the commission. Herzog added, however, that commission chair Patricia Gatling and the agency’s commissioners are “still analyzing the data” and “we don’t have any conclusions yet.”

Monday, March 29, 2010

7596: Diversity Dollars Or Dimes?

From Advertising Age…

Too Few Diversity Dollars on Madison Avenue

Progress Is Being Made, but ‘Shoestring’ Budgets Spread Out Over Uncoordinated Efforts Hold Back Improvement

By Kunur Patel

NEW YORK ( -- The ad industry has grown a little more comfortable talking about a diversity problem as old as the industry itself, but is it putting its money where its mouth is? The good news: Money is flowing into diversity efforts. The bad news: Critics describe it more as a trickle—and one so spread out it dissipates before it can make a long-lasting impact.

The efforts look like a lot on paper and include roundtables with clients on the intricacies of minority markets, executive councils, training, recruitment, partnerships with minority universities and programs from most of the leading trade organizations.

“I’m happy you’re interested in what we’re doing, not what we’re not doing,” said Sandra Sims-Williams, chair for Publicis Groupe’s diversity council. Publicis Groupe sends dozens of employee women of color, as well as some clients, to a conference to develop leadership skills. Add to those commitments executives’ time and providing space for diversity programs.

But recruiting programs and professional-development courses have been around since the 1960s. And still, civil-rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri has rustled up enough instances of discrimination to file charges with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a step toward a class-action suit against the ad industry.

So why are the programs falling? It might have to do with money.

Coming up short
In December, Howard University, in partnership with the 4A’s, launched a program to train midlevel minority managers to make lateral moves into agencies. The program is under way with 27 students—the second class was held at Grey, New York, last week and another class is slated at JWT. But all this is happening on almost half the planned budget.

The 4A’s made a commitment to contribute $250,000 annually for five years to Howard’s Center for Excellence in Advertising, which the university and trade organization co-founded to increase the number of African-Americans at agencies, as long as Howard could raise $750,000. Last year, the program came up short of that goal with $300,000, of which Dan Wieden alone gave $100,000. The remainder doesn’t seem like too much for the Big Four holding companies to pony up, although their 4A’s membership fees make up some of the 4A’s contribution.

That’s not to ignore that 2009 was an undeniably tough year for agencies and trade organizations. One example: The One Club ended its relationship with Julius Dunn’s Adversity program designed to educate minority youth about careers in creative departments. One Club President Kevin Swanepoel attributes that split to tough economic times, though says other diversity programs are under way.

The Marcus Graham Project launched a pilot boot camp last summer for seven black men between the ages of 18 and 34 to build skills in advertising and is also gearing up to raise money for a second boot camp, social networks aimed at mentorships and various other initiatives. Funding meetings with the Big Four holding companies haven’t happened yet, but they’ll need to soon.

“All these programs have been done on a shoestring budget,” said Lincoln Stephens, founder of the Marcus Graham Project. “Right now we’re in a crucial phase. We have interest from the audience we serve, but in order to grow, we need the right sponsorships from agencies and corporations that see a value in what we’re doing.”

One reason Mr. Stephens has faith he’ll find funding for his effort is he’s gone out and proved his approach before seeking money from the majors. “I’ve done amazing things with no money,” said Mr. Stephens. “I’d like to demonstrate to people what we can do if we had a budget.”

Funding such groups isn’t the only way holding companies and agencies are using money to tackle the diversity problem. At Interpublic, failure to meet diversity objectives on hiring, promotions and retention means cuts in executive incentive pay—and that’s meant real money lost for a number of execs.

And the holding company, while it supports other causes, sees more value in fighting the battle on its own turf. “Our agencies and IPG support the industry’s many worthwhile initiatives, especially the long-term pipeline programs, but this is a fight that will be won on the agency level, where the actual hiring, retention and promotion opportunities exist. We invest substantially in our internal programs, because they make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of our people,” said Heide Gardner, chief diversity and inclusion officer at IPG.

At Omnicom, BBDO’s minority-education fund has meant 220 internship and scholarships totaling $885,000 since 2000, and DDB’s diversity scholarship fund granted $250,000 to 50 students.

But scholarships can only go so far, especially when split up over time and large numbers of students. Consider: One quarter at Miami Ad School for art director or copywriting is $4,350 in tuition—or $34,800 in total tuition for the two-year diploma program. Of course, there are cheaper programs to be had at city and state universities, many of which have solid undergraduate programs.

Not enough change
“People genuinely want a program like ours to succeed. Build it, and we’ll come,” said Adrianne C. Smith, executive director, Center for Excellence in Advertising at Howard University. “The more successful we are, the more the agencies want to help,” she added. “We have support, but they don’t want to do the heavy lifting alone.”

Yet between the scholarships and mentoring and award shows, agency C-suites and the upper levels of creative departments don’t reflect anything but the good old (white) boys club.

Can money be the only thing to blame?

“We are short on the money,” said Publicis Groupe’s Ms. Sims-Williams. “But even when I look at our clients that have much more money flowing into diversity, it doesn’t always work.”

What Ms. Sims-Williams—and many others—see a need for is some sort of cohesion—or at least a comprehensive approach to the various programs available. “A solution is bringing these collective groups together to develop a full strategy,” she said.

“I don’t think throwing more money at [diversity] is the solution,” said Nancy Hill, CEO of the 4A’s. “I think it takes coordinated efforts, so that anyone that raises their hand and is talented gets mentored all the way through into agencies.”

Ultimately, the money “doesn’t matter unless somebody knows how to put the pieces together,” said Ms. Hill.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

7595: Def Crime-Stopping Jam.

From The New York Daily News…

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons returns to where he once sold drugs to launch ‘peacekeeping’ campaign

By Daniel P. Tucker
Daily News Writer

Hip-hop icon Russell Simmons joined leaders of a grass-roots movement in Brooklyn and Queens Saturday to kick off a “peacekeeping” campaign in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods.

The Peace Keepers Movement, which started in Houston, tries to stop violence and crime by encouraging a strong presence of men from the community in unstable neighborhoods.

“For me, this is significant because I grew up here,” Simmons said at a rally in Queens Village.

“Not too far from here, I sold drugs,” he said. “I’ve had to change, and I’ve had leaders show me the way.”

Peace Keepers founder Dennis Muhammad says crime in the community can’t be solved with “an influx of police and more prisons.”

“We believe that men must be the role models for young men who kill each other senselessly,” he said at a separate rally in Brownsville.

Shawn Livingston, 23, who lives in Brownsville, agreed.

“To me, it’s a positive thing,” he said.

The number of murders was up about 23% citywide during the first 11 weeks of the year compared to the same period in 2009.

Murders spiked about 15% in Brooklyn and about 29% in Queens.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

7594: Hasta La Vista, Home Depot.

From Advertising Age…

Home Depot Moves Hispanic Account to Richards/Lerma
Business Leaves Incumbent Vidal

By Laurel Wentz

NEW YORK ( -- Home Depot is moving its $37 million U.S. Hispanic account to Richards/Lerma, a little-known Hispanic capability fielded by Home Depot’s general market shop Richards Group, from incumbent Vidal Partnership. The account shift, a stunning upset for Hispanic ad agencies in general, is the clearest example yet of general market agencies’ growing attempts to persuade cost-conscious clients to consolidate their Hispanic accounts with their general market agency.

It was considered extremely surprising that Richards/Lerma even made it to the final round against incumbent Vidal, one of the top Hispanic ad agencies. Vidal is the No. 2 Hispanic agency by revenue and the biggest independent. Two other leading Hispanic shops, Alma DDB and Lapiz, owned by Leo Burnett, also pitched but were told earlier they hadn’t made it.

Frank Bifulco, Home Depot’s VP-chief marketing officer, said in a statement: “As part of our on-going process of periodic supplier reviews, we have spent the past few months in an intensive Hispanic agency capabilities review. We received dozens of inquiries from many of the top Hispanic agencies and considered numerous potential contenders. We were supported in this endeavor by search firm consultant, Select Resources International. We are pleased to announce that we have selected Richards/Lerma, in partnership with Initiative/Identity, as our agency of record, and look forward to building a productive relationship with our new partners. Further, we want to acknowledge and sincerely thank The Vidal Partnership for all of their efforts over the past six years.”

The decision is believed to have been controversial within Home Depot, with senior management making the final decision.

Richards/Lerma is headed by Pete Lerma, who is the principal at Click Here, Richards’ digital agency. Mr. Lerma had earlier declined in an e-mail to discuss Richards/Lerma, saying, “We don’t talk about ongoing new business efforts,” and gave a web address,, for further information on the agency. A link to a Spanish-language version of the site didn’t work, but the English-language site lists five people at Richards/Lerma—founder and principal Stan Richards; Mr. Lerma; Nancy Morkovsky, director of brand planning; Tony Diaz-Albertini, in brand management; and Jessyca Gonzalez, brand manager. Mr. Richards is believed to have attended the final Richards/Lerma pitch along with Mr. Lerma and Initiative Media.

The site also lists Richards clients that Richards/Lerma says it has done Hispanic work for, and links to YouTube where Mr. Lerma posted three Spanish-language commercials on June 22, 2009. The spots are for Fruit of the Loom, featuring the Fruit guys driving around in a lowrider car, the Salvation Army and Advance Auto Parts. Fruit of the Loom has a Hispanic agency of record, but it’s a different agency, Grupo Gallegos.

Home Depot has been conducting an exhaustive series of reviews of all it’s ad and marketing-services agencies mandated by a new procurement process.

The last review in this cycle of pitches is starting now, for African-American advertising. The incumbent, WPP-backed Uniworld, plans to defend the business. It’s unclear whether Richards will field a contender in that segment, too. A decade ago Mr. Richards and Terence Reynolds, an African-American creative at the agency, started subsidiary Shift Advertising, described as “dedicated to understanding cultural trends in the urban market” on the website, much of which appears to be still under construction.

By and large the reviews have been kind to incumbents until now, starting with Richards Group’s own re-appointment to the almost $600 million Home Depot business, the agency’s largest account, in December 2008. In the next review, media was consolidated at Initiative, which already controlled traditional media planning and buying duties, and picked up digital, newspaper and search, in April 2009.

Agencies said the review for Hispanic creative and media consisted of four separate stages—credentials, chemistry, concepts and creative. Among the finalists, Alma DDB made it through several rounds, and Lapiz, Leo Burnett’s Hispanic agency, was dropped after the final round of presentations the week of Feb. 22, leaving Vidal and Richards/Lerma, believed to be working with Initiative.

~ ~ ~

Contributing: Natalie Zmuda

Friday, March 26, 2010

7593: Lowell Thompson Writes On.

Lowell “RaceMan” Thompson, one of the original advertising crusaders for diversity, recently dropped a note. Thompson said he played a key role in conceiving and writing, “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority,” with adman Tom Burrell. According to Thompson, “The book is #1 in African-American non-fiction on Amazon and has been as high/low as #98 in ALL Amazon books.” You can find more of Thompson’s writings for sale right here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

7592: Regents Recognize Racism.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Regents apologize for racist incidents at UC San Diego
They propose changes in admissions policies that would boost enrollment of minorities across the system and promise to help create campus environments in which minority students feel more comfortable.

By Larry Gordon

Reporting from San Francisco - University of California leaders Wednesday apologized to black UC San Diego students for recent racial incidents at the campus and proposed changes in admissions policies aimed at boosting enrollment of minorities across the system.

UC President Mark G. Yudof and other UC regents acknowledged that the UC San Diego episodes, including an off-campus student party that mocked Black History Month, has brought attention to the low enrollment of African American students on the campus. About 1.6% of UC San Diego undergraduates are black, among the lowest such figures for any UC campus. The UC leaders promised to help create campus environments in which minority students feel more comfortable.

Speaking during a regents meeting at UC San Francisco, Yudof said he wanted all UC campuses to adopt an admissions process known as “holistic” review, in which applicants’ test scores and high school grades are considered in the context of their life experiences and personal accomplishments.

“I want a system that is less mechanical and takes a serious look at a range of talents and skills and history, and takes into account poverty,” Yudof said.

Holistic review is permitted at the university, but Yudof said he would like it to be required at all nine UC undergraduate campuses. UCLA and UC Berkeley now use the approach most extensively, while others, including UC San Diego, rely on a more rigid formula that allows less consideration of personal accomplishments and, Yudof said, may unfairly reject otherwise academically eligible low-income and minority students.

Such a change would need approval by the systemwide faculty senate, something that will be under discussion within a few months, officials said.

Last year, UC regents adopted sweeping changes in undergraduate admissions policies that were designed partly to boost the number of low-income and minority students without violating the state’s ban on racial affirmative action. Starting with freshmen entering in fall 2012, applicants will no longer need to take two SAT subject exams, although the main SAT test would still be required. The change also will widen the pool of students eligible to be considered for admission based on high school grades.

Seeking to show their concern about the racial incidents, regents Wednesday spent nearly two hours discussing the UC San Diego situation, which included the use of a derogatory term for blacks on a student television show, and other episodes elsewhere. At UC Davis, swastikas were spray-painted at several locations on the campus last month and one was carved on a Jewish student’s dorm door there; an anti-gay slogan was sprayed on a UC Davis gay and lesbian student center.

Regent Eddie Island extended an apology to all students who felt under attack. “We failed to provide a nurturing environment,” Island said.

But he also blamed UC’s admissions policies for artificially limiting the rolls of minority students. “It is the absence of inclusion that frees hatred, that frees bigotry, that allows it to go unchallenged. That’s our biggest problem,” he said.

Black student leaders from UC San Diego addressed the regents and said that the controversial party, a so-called Compton Cookout at which guests were invited to dress like ghetto residents, was just the tipping point after decades of blacks feeling marginalized on campus. David Ritcherson, a fourth-year international economics major who is co-chairman of the UC San Diego Black Student Union, said the regents probably wouldn’t be seeking to make amends now if “they didn’t get all this media attention, if the image wasn’t tainted.”

Ritcherson, however, said he welcomed the regents’ comments and the efforts they promised to combat bigotry. “It’s a good start,” he said.

In other business, the regents Wednesday took steps to protect the university from court challenges to student fee increases. A regents committee approved a statement that UC has a right to change its fees at any time and that the publication of fee levels does not constitute a contract or promise.

A Superior Court judge in San Francisco this month ordered UC to refund a total of $38 million to 2,900 professional degree students who enrolled in 2003 and were charged increases after being told their fees would not rise. UC probably will appeal that decision, a UC spokesman said. In 2007, UC lost a similar case involving $40 million that UC has since repaid.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

7591: Story Of O.

This online ad for Oxygen declares, “In advertising… all women are not created equal.” Yes, and the hot blond has a much better shot of landing a job in the business than the old woman in the background.

Monday, March 22, 2010

7590: Sugarcoating The News.

Mediocre Monday MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Pepsico announced plans to cut sugar and salt from its products by 25 percent. Which means the unemployment rate for sugar and salt manufacturers will likely rise by 25 percent.

• Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer admitted to yelling “baby killer” during a floor speech by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak. Maybe Neugebauer can record a duet with Rep. Joe “You lie!” Wilson.

• A new study shows men are more likely to engage in dangerous “physical risk-taking” if an attractive woman is watching. There’s a reality TV game show idea here.

7589: Liodice Is No Letterman.

Advertising Age has been publishing Bob Liodice’s Top 10s, a series of lists compiled by the ANA President-CEO to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary. The latest installment is titled, “10 Legal Moves That Changed Advertising.” Not surprisingly, there are zero mentions of any legal actions designed to bring diversity to the industry. To be fair, the next legal action that successfully inspires inclusiveness on Madison Avenue will be the first. So one can’t fault Liodice for neglecting to note efforts that have ultimately turned out to be smokescreens, lies or outright failures. But it would be interesting to see Liodice attempt to create an entry titled, “10 Ways The ANA Has Fostered Diversity.” He’d probably get more laughs than a typical David Letterman Late Show Top Ten List.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

7588: WWII Vets Share Their Stories.

From The Times-Picayune…

Veterans Speak Out After Decades of Silence

By Sarah Carr, The Times-Picayune

Decades after the war was won, the two veterans battled historical ignorance, racial exclusion and the numbing power of silence.

World War II veterans Charles Norman Shay and William Holloman challenged those forces during a moving panel discussion Saturday in New Orleans on the final day of the National World War II Museum’s latest international conference on the conflict.

The two men, one an American Indian and the other African-American, described their wartime and life experiences in a session titled “People of Color in a White Man’s Army.”

Shay, a former combat medic who is now an elder in Maine’s Penobscot tribe, said he returned home to a country that would not let him vote and seemed oblivious to the fact that thousands of American Indians had served their country. He did not speak of his experiences in World War II for 60 years.

Holloman, a Tuskegee Airman and one of the first black pilots to serve in the Army Air Forces, fought for the right to fight for his country, as he put it.

Prisoner of war
Shay grew up during the Depression on the Penobscot reservation in Maine. When the war came, many of his peers — and all three of his brothers — served, some because of patriotism, others because of poverty. He trained to become a combat medic in England, not fully understanding the dangers of the job.

He was among the first Americans to wade ashore on D-Day, and he went on to fight throughout Europe, including at the Battle of the Bulge. German forces captured Shay in 1945, just weeks before the Allied victory. When freed, he somehow found a ship bound for Boston, where he pleasantly surprised his mother, a Navy shipyard worker whose last news of her son had been that he was missing in action.

“I do not remember much of what I saw or experienced,” said Shay who, like Holloman, is now in his mid-80s. He never spoke of the war with his fellow tribesmen or even his three brothers.

“Certainly, no one asked us to make a record of our experiences. So we just forgot,” he said. “And the country forgot as well.”

The forgetting stopped three years ago. Shay grew weary of the exclusion of Indians from the narrative of World War II — including the 60th anniversary celebrations of D-Day and a book on Maine veterans. He wondered: “Is it racism? Or is it ignorance?”

“In this last season of my life, I realized I have an obligation to educate the American public about our contributions and sacrifices for American freedom,” he said.

Entering the war late
Holloman, a native of St. Louis, was 17 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. He immediately tried to enlist. “They told me to go home until I grew up,” he said.

Holloman entered the war late, not long after Congress forced the Army Air Forces to form an all-black combat unit. In his group of 22 pilots, the average age was 20. “We thought there was nothing like us, and that when Adolf Hitler heard about us, he quit,” Holloman said of the war’s last days.

As some of the U.S. military’s first African-American pilots, the young men also felt intense pressure to perform. “We were very careful of our conduct,” Holloman said. “We were brainwashed to the point of not making mistakes.”

Holloman went on to serve as the first black helicopter pilot in the Air Force, and to fly in Korea and later in Vietnam.

He, too, would later encounter histories, books and popular opinion that ignored or twisted the role minorities played in fighting the war.

“Historians, I believe, write history for themselves,” he said, adding that “this country was built on the backs of the Native Americans and black slaves.”

But Shay and Holloman said they encountered little to no discrimination while in the military. When traveling as a captain in the late 1940s, “people treated me like I was white because I was a captain,” Holloman said.

One woman asked him: “Captain, someone told me that you are colored. Are you colored?”

And once Shay decided to speak out about his experiences, he rediscovered an unspoken understanding with his fellow veterans. “There is a unique feeling of shared history,” he said. “We did not need to exchange stories. We know more than words could ever express.”

7587: Long-Lasting Nonsense.

Eating one’s words with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A Denver nutritionist conducted an experiment with a McDonald’s Happy Meal, leaving the item out for an entire year to see what would happen. According to the nutritionist, the Happy Meal barely changed at all, and the food did not even decompose. This should really not be surprising, as Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac have maintained their youthful appearances for generations.

• A Walmart employee who used the store’s public address system to announce, “Attention, Walmart customers: All Black people, leave the store now,” was arrested and charged with harassment and bias intimidation. It turns out that the moron is a 16-year-old boy. No word if he was involved with the Walmart Black History Month movie promotion.

• U.S. Rep. John Lewis and members of the Congressional Black Caucus were greeted with obscenities and racial epithets by Tea Party protestors. “They were shouting, sort of harassing,” said Lewis. “But, it’s OK, I’ve faced this before. It reminded me of the ‘60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean. … It surprised me that people are so mean and we can’t engage in a civil dialogue and debate” Lewis has obviously not been to Walmart lately.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

7586: Walmart “Greeter” To Meet Police.

News sources report an arrest has been made in the Walmart “All Black People” incident. The moron will likely receive job offers from Madison Avenue advertising agencies.

Arrest Made in N.J. Walmart ‘All Black People’ Case


The Washington Township Police Department said on its Web site early Saturday that an arrest has been made in a “bias incident” at the retail store.

Washington Township, N.J. – Police say they have made an arrest in the case of a racial comment being made over the public-address system at a Walmart store in southern New Jersey.

The Washington Township Police Department said on its Web site early Saturday that an arrest has been made in a “bias incident” at the retail store. The posting says the police and Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office will announce the arrest at a midday news conference.

Washington Township Police declined to comment early Saturday.

A male voice came over the Walmart public address system Sunday evening and calmly announced: “Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now.” The announcement provoked an immediate apology from the store manager.

Officials for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said the announcement was “unacceptable.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

7585: X Killer, Ex-Convict.

From The New York Times…

Killer of Malcolm X Is Granted Parole

By Andy Newman and John Eligon

After being turned down for parole 16 times, Malcolm X’s only confessed assassin is about to gain his freedom.

Thomas Hagan has been held since moments after shots rang out in the Audubon Ballroom in 1965. He has been on work release for more than two decades, but he still spends two days a week locked up at the Lincoln Correctional Facility on West 110th Street in Manhattan.

On March 3, however, on his 17th try, Mr. Hagan was granted parole, the State Division of Parole said. His final release date is tentatively scheduled for April 28. The news was reported Thursday on The Village Voice’s Runnin’ Scared blog.

Mr. Hagan, who turned 69 in jail on Tuesday, was a militant member of the Nation of Islam on Feb. 21, 1965, when Malcolm X was shot while giving a speech at the Audubon, in Washington Heights. Mr. Hagan, then known as Talmadge X. Hayer, was captured by the crowd and shot at and beaten before being rescued by the police.

Two other men, Muhammad Abdul Aziz (then known as Norman 3X Butler) and Kahlil Islam (then Thomas 15X Johnson), were also charged with the murder. They maintained their innocence. Mr. Hagan did not, testifying at his trial in 1966 that he was responsible for the murder and that his co-defendants were innocent.

All three men were sentenced to 20 years to life.

Mr. Hagan said in a 1977 affidavit that he and several accomplices (not Mr. Aziz or Mr. Islam) decided to kill Malcolm X because he was a “hypocrite” who had “gone against the leader of the Nation of Islam,” Elijah Muhammad. Mr. Hagan said that after one man shot Malcolm X in the chest with a shotgun, he and another man fired several more rounds at him.

Mr. Aziz was paroled in 1985, and in 1998 was named by Louis Farrakhan to be chief of security for the Harlem mosque that Malcolm X once headed. Mr. Islam was paroled in 1987.

Mr. Hagan, who earned a master’s degree while in prison, according to a 2008 profile in The New York Post, was placed on work release in 1988. In 2008, he was spending his free days with his wife and children in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and working in a fast food restaurant.

“I’ve been incarcerated for 40 years, and I’ve had a good record all around,” he told The Post. “I don’t see any reason for holding me.”

7584: Pink Slip Blue Light Special.

Kmart is offering discounts for its unemployed customers. Wonder if any castoffs from Kmart agency Draftfcb will take advantage of the deal.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

7583: From Slavery To Sainthood.

From The Chicago Tribune…

First black Catholic priest in U.S. up for sainthood
Cardinal will appoint commission to evaluate Rev. Augustus Tolton

By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune reporter

The Rev. Augustus Tolton, the nation’s first known black Roman Catholic priest, could become St. Augustus.

Cardinal Francis George announced Wednesday that he will appoint a commission to assemble facts about Tolton’s “heroic virtues” and introduce his cause for sainthood to Rome. He also invited anyone who can report spiritual or physical favors granted through prayer in Tolton’s name to submit their testimony to the archdiocese.

“We need his prayers and his help, especially to become a more united church,” George told the Catholic New World, the archdiocese’s newspaper.

Tolton’s rise to prominence began with his family’s escape from slavery in Missouri as the Civil War began. Baptized before crossing the Mississippi River to Quincy, Ill., Tolton and his siblings became members of the Catholic Church. Years later, the parish priest there encouraged him to join the priesthood.

Because no American seminary would admit a black man, Tolton traveled to Rome to be ordained.

His aspiration to become a missionary in Africa was thwarted when the Vatican sent him back to Quincy. There, he oversaw an integrated congregation, despite opposition from the town’s white priests.

The archbishop eventually assigned Tolton to Chicago to start a mission for African-Americans in the basement of another parish.

That mission became St. Monica’s on the South Side, the city’s first black parish, which was dedicated in 1894. Tolton raised money for the parish building and oversaw its design before dying of a heat stroke in 1897 at age 43. The parish consolidated with St. Elizabeth in 1924.

Vanessa White, director of the Tolton Center for African-American Catholics at Catholic Theological Union, said Tolton’s story resembles the lives of many saints in the Catholic Church.

“Many of them did not have an easy road, and neither did he,” said White, who will lead a pilgrimage from Chicago to Quincy in honor of Tolton April 30-May 2. “To think that every seminary in the U.S. was closed to him … but that did not stand in the way of him being able to fulfill his call.”

Tolton’s grand-niece Sabrina Penn, author of “A Place for My Children,” one of only two biographies about Tolton, said she was thrilled by the recognition.

“Hallelujah,” she said. “To be born into slavery and become a priest and have the honor to be called a saint is just awesome.”

7582: Census Messes With Negro Newspapers…?

From BNET…

The Census Ad Campaign and the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations for Black Newspapers

By Jim Edwards

Ad agencies Globalhue and DraftFCB and their client the Census Bureau are all frantically spinning their misguided decision to wring government propaganda posing as news from black newspapers, as noted by BNET on March 11. But that doesn’t let them off the hook. Their statements all make sad, possibly racist, assumptions about black-owned and black-targeted newspapers that would never arise if we were talking about mainstream media.

I’m not a fan of George W. Bush’s phrase, “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” but this case looks like a textbook example.

The backstory: Globalhue (whose CEO Don Coleman is pictured) told black publishers in a letter that if they did not provide six news articles about the census in their papers then advertising buys would be “canceled immediately.” That placed those newspapers in a position of providing tax-funded government propaganda posing as news, without disclosure to readers, in return for ad buys — something that would never happen at The New York Times or USA Today.

The statements by the two companies and the Census Bureau — published here in full after the jump — all confirm that the scheme existed, but they attempt to justify it by saying that it was voluntary, “a standard industry practice,” and that all newspapers were treated the same way.

Some of this just isn’t true. Globalhue’s statement says that the National Newspaper Publisher Association — which represents black publishers — was in on the scheme, and that in addition to six news articles the papers would also provide two editorials. In that sense, the scheme was worse than I first reported.

Second, it is simply not “standard” that newspapers supply coverage in return for ad buys — not at mainstream (or “white,” if you want that decoded) newspapers and news organizations.

Third, the notion that the scheme was voluntary stands in stark contrast to the letter sent by Globalhue to NNPA, which said:

In lieu of free ad space, all papers must agree to running six articles (preferably during hiatus weeks) about the Census 2010 as well as two editorials. If paper does not agree to the added value stipulations, buy will be canceled immediately.

Here’s the bottom line: Black newspaper readers, and anyone who cares about the integrity of the news business in general, should be outraged by this. The NNPA was targeted for this scheme by Globalhue, a black ad agency, with the expectation that it would go along. And, according to the NNPA’s own statement, they went along willingly, compromising their standards for money. I challenge Globalhue — or DraftFCB — to produce a letter sent to a mainstream news organization that contains a similar threat to cancel ad buys if they don’t cough up pro-census headlines.

Globalhue guessed correctly there would be lower standards in black media. I don’t know which is sadder: The fact that an ad agency whose sole mission is to stand up for black consumers lowered its standards at the first hurdle; or the fact that black publishers, whose sole mission is to serve their readers, thought this was a good idea.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

7581: Diplomacy Lacks Diversity.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Few blacks serve in top U.S. diplomatic posts
The State Department is searching for new ways to bring minorities to high-profile positions. New assignments this summer will increase diversity, promises one State official.

By Paul Richter and Tom Hamburger

The U.S. State Department has fallen short in its efforts to promote African Americans to key frontline diplomatic posts, department officials and diplomats said, despite efforts to increase diversity under two black secretaries of State and a black president.

The State Department has high numbers of black employees overall, and some prominent African Americans in top positions, such as Susan E. Rice, ambassador to the United Nations. But officials said few minorities were climbing to senior frontline posts that wrestle day to day with some of the nation’s most urgent international challenges in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Only one U.S. embassy in Europe is led by a black ambassador, for example.

The situation has stirred concern at the top ranks of the State Department, and officials are searching for new ways to bring African Americans and other minorities into such positions.

“It is essential that we make new progress on our diversity agenda,” Philip Gordon, the assistant secretary of State for Europe, said in a recent statement to the European bureau.

State Department data from September—the most recent available—show that of the 32 diplomats then heading embassies and other U.S. missions in Europe, only one, John L. Withers, the ambassador to Albania, was black. However, Withers says he will leave that post later this year.

There are no African Americans among the 10 ambassadors or other chiefs of mission in South and Central Asia, or the 18 in the Near East, and only one among the 17 in East Asia.

However, 11 of the 37 missions in Africa were then headed by African Americans.

Over the last decade, the department chose 36 black diplomats for embassies in Africa, but only three for embassies in Europe, in smaller countries—Iceland, Albania and Slovenia.

Overall, African Americans make up about 16.3% of the State Department’s employees, compared with about 12.8% of the U.S. population. But of foreign service officers serving overseas, 6.9% are black.

Latinos, Asians and Native Americans are also under-represented compared with their share of the U.S. population.

The shortfall of black diplomats in top embassy jobs has long troubled African American diplomats.

“It’s a concern that many of us have,” said Ruth A. Davis, who oversaw the foreign service as director general from 2001 to 2003 and who retired last month. “We would like to change it.”

Nancy Powell, who oversees the foreign service as the department’s director general, said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was committed to naming more minorities to top jobs. “The number will be better,” after new assignments are made this summer, she said.

The shortfall stems from a combination of factors, officials and diplomats said, including the fact that many young black diplomats have been drawn to serving in African embassies because of personal interest, and because those embassies have been eager to recruit them.

However, Withers, the departing U.S. ambassador to Albania, said separate career tracks had evolved, keeping African Americans and others out of jobs that serve as close advisors to top U.S. officials—what he called “whisper in the ear” positions.

Johnny Young, a four-time ambassador who is now retired, said that in the late 1990s, after five assignments in Africa, he sought a post elsewhere. Instead, he said, he was urged to remain in the region.

Eventually, he became ambassador to Bahrain, where he was the only black ambassador in the Middle East, and then, in 2001, was named ambassador to Slovenia.

He said he went to meetings with the European bureau’s top officials and found himself scanning rooms of white faces. He joked to colleagues: “I’m the only fly in this bowl of milk.”

State Department officials have stepped up minority recruiting with the expectation that they would advance throughout the system. But some black diplomats said the challenge at the State Department is not at the entry level, but getting minorities into the higher-level posts from which ambassadors and their superiors are chosen.

”The intake side of things is not the issue,” said Kenton Keith, a retired foreign service officer and former president of the Assn. of Black American Ambassadors. “There’s nobody in the pipeline in the policy ranks.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

7580: Comeback Artists.

Making a dramatic return with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Tiger Woods has allegedly recovered from his sex addiction, announcing that he’ll compete in next month’s Masters Tournament. Organizers should consider renaming it the Masters and Johnson Tournament.

• Michael Jackson’s kin apparently signed a record deal with Sony, paving the way for future albums featuring unreleased songs and repackaged versions of existing Jacko tunes. The agreement could be worth up to $250 million—which exceeds any deal ever inked by Tito or Jermaine by roughly $250 million.

Monday, March 15, 2010

7579: LinkedIn Or LockedOut?

The Advertising Age story below claims certain agencies are starting to hire again. LinkedIn allegedly lists 1,300 openings. Given that LinkedIn is essentially social media based on professional connections — that is, exclusivity — it should be interesting to see how many of the 1,300 positions go to minorities.

Hiring Freeze Starts to Thaw as Agency Business Hunts for Talent

WPP, Edelman, BBH, OMD Look to Hire; LinkedIn Lists 1,300 Openings

By Michael Bush
NEW YORK -- After a nearly yearlong hiring freeze and having shed 14,000 employees, WPP chief Martin Sorrell had a bit of good news last week: The holding company is staffing up.

It’s a welcomed announcement for an industry that lost almost 200,000 jobs between December 2008 and January 2010. Firms from Edelman to OMD to BBH are adding to their ranks, crediting a stronger business outlook and a need to add people with new skills.

“Agencies had to respond to what was going on in 2009 by making some massive cuts,” said Pat Mastandrea, founding partner-CEO of the Cheyenne Group. She said when the market started to turn around in the fourth quarter of 2009 and budgets started to grow back, you had agencies that were too lean. “Now those agencies are in the process of having to address that by recruitment. And it’s even stronger in the first quarter of 2010 than it was in the last quarter of 2009.”

A search on LinkedIn jobs revealed nearly 1,300 agency listings for positions ranging from account executive and account director to senior account executive and business-development specialist. That’s still a far cry from the number of jobs lost, and it’s hard to believe the industry will ever equal the size it once did. But the recovering economy, new business and an uptick in spending from existing clients has Edelman hiring “in a big way,” said Laura Smith, managing director-U.S. human resources. And it’s not just replacing the jobs it cut last year. “It’s mostly growth,” she said. “At this time last year we had 25 positions open and today we have a little over 100.”

Alan Cohen, U.S. CEO of Omnicom Group’s OMD, said his agency’s increased hiring is driven by the health of the media business in general and the amount of new business the agency has brought in over the past two years.

Social media recruiting
While many agencies are still working with recruitment firms, some like BBH and Edelman are relying heavily on social-media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or their own websites.

Edelman’s in-house recruiters have been trained to use social media to seek candidates, especially for the digital positions, said Ms. Smith. “We don’t put ads in the paper anymore and it shocks me that companies still do.”

Agencies are also seeking new types of hires. BBH Labs announced last week on its site that it’s “looking for a rare breed of person,” for whom “technology is your oxygen—you need it every second of the day and always want the freshest air, but you understand that not everyone is like you, so you can translate it into natural consumable language.”

Ann Brown, founder of recruiter Ann Brown Co. , said it’s not just digital jobs that are being filled. “Fortunately there are a number of agencies evolving the way they need to be and are hiring people with 360-degree experience,” Ms. Brown said. “They don’t want to train anybody in digital if all they have is a traditional background. They want people coming in to look at things from all sides.”

Edelman’s Ms. Smith said the agency has been hiring people across the board in practices areas such as corporate, public affairs, health care and technology.

Ms. Brown said that while chief financial officers are still keeping the reins pulled tightly on certain aspects of spending, they do appear to be feeling more comfortable about filling some of the slots vacated through layoffs last year.

Harris Diamond, head of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Constituency Management Group, said, “There is and will be hiring going on” in areas such as social innovation. “But there are other areas of our businesses where, frankly, you just lose some people and there won’t be replacements for them.”

“There are signs of life but I have to be honest, for the last two-and-a-half years we have had little jumps in hiring for four to six weeks and then it will settle back down,” said Paul S. Gumbinner, president of recruiter Gumbinner Co. “We do have more jobs in the house right now… I’m just not sure it’s going to last.”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

7578: You Say Potato, I Say Racism.

The story below reports that Denny’s managed to offend Irish Americans with a commercial hyping pancakes and fries by marking the 150th anniversary of Ireland’s potato famine. The restaurant pulled the campaign with an apology/explanation that included, “Denny’s has a history of using humor in its television advertising.” That’s true. But Denny’s also has a history of displaying cultural cluelessness in its television advertising, discrimination in its employment practices and outright racism in its customer relations. Although the restaurant chain does have nifty website dedicated to diversity.

Fighting Irish Protest Denny’s Potato Famine Ad

A recent Denny’s television advertisement, offering unlimited pancakes and fries to mark the 150th anniversary of Ireland’s potato famine, has provoked the unexpected ire of Irish-Americans across the internet.

The ad, which ran in late February and has since disappeared online, touted unlimited starchy treats to customers in celebration of the Great Hunger’s end. The potato blight that caused the famine in the late 1840s resulted in the death of one million and the emigration of another two million, mainly to Boston’s South End.

Just days after the ad first aired, a “Boycott Denny’s” Facebook page appeared, demanding an official apology from the chain. We tracked down the campaign’s leader to see what the fuss is all about.

“They were poking fun at a tragedy that took millions of lives,” says Sarah Conaghan, who administers the Facebook page.

It’s not the first time the “Moons Over My Hammy”–slinging restaurants have run afoul of rights groups, but it is apparently the only instance of name-checking mass starvation to sell fries to stoners at 1 a.m.

Denny’s quickly pulled the spots and issued a statement saying, in part, “Denny’s has a history of using humor in its television advertising,” and that it had no intention to offend.

But Conaghan called the response: “Generic, very insincere.”

The Facebook page continues to add fans and encourages fellow Hibernians to lodge complaints directly by calling a Denny’s 1-800 number. Conaghan says a good old fashioned street protest is not out of the question.

“Our goal is to get the apology now, but by St. Patrick’s Day would be a nice gesture,” she said.

7577: The U.S. Census Shakedown…?

Jim Edwards at BNET reported on the shakedown tactics employed by ad agencies for the U.S. Census, whereby newspapers were required to provide coverage for cash. Hey, it’s even more outrageous that agencies were actually paid to produce the contrived and concept-free campaign.

Census Ad Agency Demanded Newspaper Coverage for Cash

By Jim Edwards

Ad agencies for the U.S. Census Bureau appear to have learned nothing from a decade-old White House scandal — because they’re busy repeating history.

Back in 2000, the White House was discovered trading ad buys with TV networks in return for positive spin in its war on drugs. That covert operation, which exposed millions to anti-drug propaganda masquerading as drama and sitcoms, ended in disgrace and the White House promised to cancel the program.

Ten years later, that promise is long forgotten. Globalhue, the ad agency that controls much of the government’s ad money targeting minorities for Census 2010, sent a letter to the National Newspaper Association demanding that publishers run six articles about the census or else the government would cancel its ads. (The NNPA represents community newspapers.)

While there was no explicit requirement of positive coverage demanded by Globalhue, the implication is clear: How long do you think the agency would continue placing ads in any newspaper that was digging dirt against the national headcount?

According to congressional hearings in February and March, the letter from Globalhue CEO Don Coleman (pictured) said:

In lieu of free ad space, all papers must agree to running six articles (preferably during hiatus weeks) about the Census 2010 as well as two editorials. If paper does not agree to the added value stipulations, buy will be canceled immediately.

Amazingly, the arrangement proposed in the letter — that ad buys be contingent upon articles written by the papers themselves — is exactly the same as the one conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy during its disgraced ads-for-coverage scheme.

Jeff Tarakajian, a vp at DraftFCB, the ad agency that controls the main Census contract, confirmed that the ”request for added value was standard,” according to the Wilmington Journal:

“We seek them, we encourage them but we do not make the requirement that somebody provide added value to literally qualify for a media buy,” Tarakajian said.

If anything, the census effort seems even more blatant than the drug war effort. The ONDCP’s program grew out of a well-intentioned effort to persuade makers of TV drama to depict drug use in an accurate light. It only later spread to news programming on ESPN and other fact-based shows as networks realized that the more drug storylines they scripted, the more ad dollars flowed their way.

For the Census, Globahue seems to want cash-for-coverage from the get-go.

7576: Inspiration From Paper Towels.

Not sure what’s more annoying about this commercial—the corny concept or Brawny sounding like Bill Withers.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

7575: Let’s Move Toward Being Inclusive.


Latino culture a key to childhood obesity

Commentary By Marisa Trevio

Michelle Obama’s launch last month of the Let’s Move campaign, aimed at slimming down the nation’s obese children, is admirable in its ambition.

How can it fail with the creation of the first-ever task force on childhood obesity? Or establishing partner initiatives to provide healthier options in school cafeterias? Or working to earmark federal money to build grocery stores in urban areas?

Yet, if this campaign doesn’t drill down to deal with the cultural nuances that still influence the lives of many Latino families (and from a quick review of the Let’s Move website, it doesn’t), then it’s going to be an uphill battle in a community that is among the nation’s most obese.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2008, low-income, preschool Hispanic children had the second highest obesity rates (18.5%) in the nation, after American Indian/Alaska Native preschoolers (21.2%). And the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, which cover 2003-06, found that for boys ages 12-19, the obesity rate was highest among adolescent Mexican-American boys (22.1%) vs. non-Hispanic white boys (17.3%) and black boys (18.5%).

The Latino community, in general, too often does not view obesity as a physical flaw but rather an endearing characteristic. For many, feeding is equated with love. So the first lady’s program needs to find ways to reach Hispanics and educate the community on the health risks that come with obesity.

For starters, Let’s Move needs to be available in Spanish as well. An analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center found that 52% of Hispanic children are second generation, which is less likely than later generation Latinos to be fluent in English.

More challenging is how to deal with the cultural differences. Here, Salud America! deserves a role in any task force. Salud America! is a network of more than 1,500 researchers, community leaders and policymakers working to create obesity prevention programs for Latino children. It funds pilot projects such as studying the impact of community gardens in Latino neighborhoods and examining how Latinos view body image. Each project adds to a fuller understanding of how best to communicate with Latinos.

The key to success for Let’s Move is in combating obesity where it is most prevalent. To do that, the first lady’s program will need to reach and teach Hispanics how to show a different kind of love — smaller portions and good long-term health for their children.

Marisa Trevio, who lives in Dallas, writes a blog, Latina Lista

Friday, March 12, 2010

7574: Minorities Fare Better In Advertising…?

Adweek reported ad spending for Latinos and Blacks fared better than the overall market. Um, the story seems to ignore the fact that minority audiences continue to receive proportionately less spending than the overall market.

Multicultural Ad Spending Outpaced Market
Ad spending in Spanish-language and African-American media sagged, but still outperformed other segments

Katy Bachman, Mediaweek

Ad spending in Spanish-language and African-American media fared better than the overall ad market in 2009.

Spending declined 4.7 percent in Spanish-language media and 7.3 percent in African-American media, according to a Nielsen report released today. This compares to a 9 percent drop in overall domestic ad spending last year.

Spanish-language ad spending was down by nearly $270 million last year for a total of $5.4 billion spent in Spanish-language media. Declines in magazines, newspapers, TV and radio were offset by a 32 percent increase in spending on cable TV to nearly $427 million overall. While Spanish-language spot TV spending was down 10 percent, the segment still attracted the most advertising dollars at more than $1.5 billion.

African-American media lost more than $153 million in ad spending across all segments with the exception of cable TV, which increased more than 35 percent to $728 million. The biggest spending decreases were in network TV (down 72 percent to $26.6 million) and national magazines (down more than 33 percent to $353.8 million). In total, spending in African-American media exceeded $1.9 billion.

The top-spending category for both Spanish-language media and African-American media was quick-service restaurants, which increased 13.9 percent in Spanish-language media and 19.2 percent among African-American media.

The fastest-growing category in Spanish-language media segment was satellite communications, up 77.3 percent. Insurance was the fastest-growing category among African-American media, up 28.6 percent. Auto was the second-biggest category for both Spanish-language and African-American media, down 38.8 percent and 18.2 percent, respectively.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

7573: Majority Rules And Fools.

Quick news hits in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Minorities account for nearly half the kids born in the U.S., signaling a historic trend whereby minorities are projected to assume the majority position over the next 40 years. Which means we can expect diversity on Madison Avenue over the next 4,000 years.

• Identity theft company LifeLock was identified for its misleading advertising, and will pay $11 million to settle the charges. Somebody better ask to see identification before accepting the settlement check.

• Lil Wayne finally received a sentence for his guilty plea stemming from illegal gun possession, and the rapper will serve at least 8 months in prison. At least he didn’t get LifeLocked behind bars.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

7572: Mad Ken.

Mattel is introducing special versions of Barbie and Ken patterned after characters from AMC series Mad Men. Of course, there will be no need to include Black Barbie.

7571: Racial Role-Playing In Hollywood.

From Newsweek…

New Victories, Old Battles
Why do all the films about African-Americans tell the same troubled stories?

By Allison Samuels | Newsweek Web Exclusive

Watching the comedian-actress Mo’Nique receive a standing ovation for her best supporting actress Oscar win on television Sunday night was something akin to déjà vu for me. Instantly, I was taken back to 2003 where I sat in the same Kodak Theater watching both Denzel Washington and Halle Berry win best actor and best actress. Whoopi Goldberg was the host and the king of any ball, Sidney Poitier, was holding court upstairs—seemingly pulling all the right strings for things to go perfectly.

What a night. Berry became the first African-American woman to win the best actress Oscar and Washington became only the second African-American man to win best actor, after Poitier. Berry won for portraying an angry black woman with a husband on death row and a child so overweight she beat and chastised him before his death. Washington won for a playing a crooked, thuggish cop—but still, a new chapter in black history had begun: African-Americans were finally being recognized and awarded for their work in film.

A more diverse selection of “our stories” was sure to follow right?

Not so much.

This must be said: Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe gave wonderfully flawless performances in Precious, a touching but incredibly disturbing film about an overweight, young inner-city girl abused by her mother and molested by her father. They both deserved every nomination and award they received. Lee Daniels directed the film, as he has with many others, with the skill and compassion that guaranteed a best director nomination. My issue is not with them or any minority performer, save for being a part of only the stories Hollywood deems interesting enough to tell.

Defenders of the film have rebuffed the criticism of Precious. They argue that attacking its stereotypes and mainstream popularity is unfounded, given that the story is very much a reality in many inner-city African-American homes across the country. Unfortunately, it is a story that is all too familiar—but it’s also one that’s well known to all American households, thanks to its ubiquity in pop culture.

But my question is this: who decides what truths should be told on the big screen and just how many times that particular truth should be visited and revisited? There are a lot of realities in the African-American community, as my colleague Raina Kelley argued last year. Though you might not know it by visiting your local movie theater, a good deal of those stories don’t revolve around poverty, crime, illiteracy, or abuse. Shocking, I know. Consider: the other big award of the night was given to Sandra Bullock, for portraying a mother of a family that takes in a homeless, somewhat awkward African-American high-school student born into—guess what—an abusive home.

Bullock’s win for best actress in The Blind Side was indeed deserving, but why must the same exact story with different actors play itself out again and again in Hollywood?

Yes, The Blind Side was based on a heart-tugging true story and a book released in 2006. True, the movie glossed over a lot of the nuance and complexity about race, interracial adoption, and class that the book discusses. But hey, that’s Hollywood. Always a sucker for a true story, especially if it’s true. But guess what other book was based on a true story, that was equally fascinating and moving but never made into film? Dreams From My Father written by Barack Obama in 1995. That book detailed the powerful story of a young man struggling with his white and African identities as he tried to make sense of his father’s absence and his place in life and politics.

It was a story that would go on to fascinate the world and launch a political movement a decade later. So what makes the true story of a young black man abused by his black family and cared for by a loving white one more filmworthy than the journey of someone who would go on to become the president of the United States? And since both stories happened in America, shouldn’t there be room for both at our local theaters?

Not in Hollywood, it appears. Perhaps that’s related to the fact that African-Americans still don’t have the clout to get a film greenlighted. In Tinseltown, where dreams are supposed to come true and magic is supposed to be made, only the comfortable, the obvious, and the familiar make sense when it comes to African-Americans. And there’s certainly nothing precious about that.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

7570: Sleep On This.


Americans of all races don’t get enough sleep

By Mary Brophy Marcus, USA TODAY

All Americans are struggling to get more snooze time, but a report out today shows that race and cultural differences play a role in sleep-related habits.

Today, the National Sleep Foundation releases its annual “Sleep in America Poll,” which reveals how much sleep Americans are getting, what their bedtime habits are, and who’s seeing the doctor and taking medications when sleep is elusive. This year, for the first time, the report explored differences in the sleep habits of different ethnic groups: Asians, African Americans, Hispanics and whites.

“We expected culture would have an effect, but the differences between cultures are probably bigger than the genetics of people,” says Thomas Balkin, chairman of the foundation’s board.

Overall, no one’s getting enough sleep, he says. Fewer than half — only about four in 10 — of respondents from each ethnic group say they get a good night’s sleep on most nights.

That African Americans report the least amount of sleep and that they report needing less sleep each night to perform best during the day bears more research, Balkin says. He points out that inadequate sleep is starting to be associated with obesity, heart disease and diabetes, diseases that are more prevalent among African Americans.

Though praying is more common among African Americans and sex is more likely among blacks and Hispanics before bedtime, watching television rates tops as the favorite pre-sleep activity for all groups.

“I don’t find these sorts of cultural background breakdowns nearly as interesting as the fact that we all appear to be in the same sleep-deprived boat,” says otolaryngologist and sleep expert Craig Schwimmer, medical director of The Snoring Center in Dallas.

”We’re really good about bedtime rituals for our kids — a bath, a story, a kiss — but not for ourselves.”

Treat sleep problems like other health concerns, says Michael Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y.

”Many put up with them until they have a motor vehicle accident or are close to losing their jobs,” he says.

Monday, March 08, 2010

7569: Urban Prep Academy Is Perfect.

From The Chicago Tribune…

On to college…

If nothing else made you feel good last week, you had to smile at the news out of Urban Prep Academy for Young Men, a charter school in Englewood.

Every one of the 107 students in Urban Prep’s first senior class has been accepted to a four-year college.

That’s a remarkable achievement, especially considering that the overall college acceptance rate for Chicago public school graduates is 52.5 percent. And that number doesn’t include the many students who start high school but don’t finish it.

Urban Prep’s acceptance rate would be the envy of any school, public or private. But consider this: When these seniors entered Urban Prep as freshmen, only four percent read at grade level. And 82 percent of the school’s students come from low-income families.

Urban Prep helped the kids make up ground by implementing a tough, college-prep curriculum that required double periods of English. All told, Urban Prep students spend 72,000 more minutes in the classroom than their peers at regular CPS schools.

We’ve been harping on that for a long time. Fact is, Urban Prep should be the norm, not the exception. Most Chicago public school students spend far too little time in the classroom.

Urban Prep hasn’t necessarily turned miracles. The average ACT score for its students is lower than the systemwide average for Chicago Public Schools. The kids qualified for college based on a lot more: their grade point averages, tough course loads, extra activities, etc. And because they had a single focus: going to college. Even before the first day of freshman year at Urban Prep, students go on a field trip to Northwestern University. The message is clear: This is your future.

Tim King, the school’s founder and CEO, recognizes that he can’t simply bid these students adieu. The college graduation rate for African-American men isn’t good. The school’s counselors will support these young men through their college careers.

Let’s hope that in four years Urban Prep can hold a welcome home event and show off 107 college degrees.

We wouldn’t bet against that. Nice going, gentlemen. You should be proud.