Business News West Edition

Agency launches ‘Black is Human’ video campaign

CHICAGO – A local advertising and marketing agency recently launched a social media campaign called “Black is Human” to provide Americans with a rare glimpse into the African American experience through stories often unheard.

The new campaign, launched by Chicago-based Burrell Communications Group, takes an honest look at black America, celebrates its spirit and portrays a more accurate depiction of black life in America, organizers say.

The first phase of the campaign is called “Our Black Boys,” and it focuses on the aspirations of a group of at-risk black youngsters – “if they grow up,” as the video puts it.

“Whether it’s street violence or harassment at the hands of authorities, the one thing headlines have in common is that we are losing black boys. Even more unfortunate, we are losing them at an alarming rate,” officials said.

“This is an outrage for some, and a small blip on the emotional radar for others. As we explore reality from the perspective of our black boys, we hope to help America understand that this is not a black problem, but everybody’s problem.”

Burrell officials said the initiative is part of a “social responsibility” campaign designed to “embrace and share stories of our community” and educate the broader community about the realities of black life.

For more information, visit www.burrell.com

Black business group

set to honor pioneers

LOS ANGELES – Longtime civil rights activist Rev. James Lawson, former City Councilman Robert Farrell and veteran celebrity photographer Bill Jones are among the local dignitaries to be honored next week during the annual Black Business Association Awards Dinner in downtown LA.

The event, which also recognizes Black History Month, is designed to salute the historic contributions made by African American leaders and activists in business, civic affairs, community relations and other fields, officials said.

“The honorees have demonstrated a commitment and understanding of how working toward the economic interest of building a better community is what makes African American history – and their place in it – significant,” said BBA president & CEO Earl “Skip” Cooper.

“We are honored to recognize the achievements of businesses and individuals who rightfully take their place in the annals of African American history as empowering contributors to our economic and cultural development,” Cooper added.

The gala is set for 6-10 p.m. Feb. 28 at the L.A. Hotel, 333 S. Figueroa Street. For more information, visit www.BBALA.org or call 323-291-9334.

‘Black Power’ phrase

taking on new meaning

NEW YORK – In the 1960s and 1970s, the phrase “Black Power” symbolized racial pride, cultural awareness and self-esteem among African-Americans while urging all Americans to embrace black heritage. Today, the phrase is taking on a more contemporary meaning: Money.

According to the Nielsen company, the nation’s leading analyst of consumer clout and spending, the buying power of the nation’s 44 million African-Americans is $1.1 trillion and is expected to grow to $1.3 trillion by 2017.

African-Americans are becoming increasingly conscious of how they spend their time and money, a recent Nielsen report says, thus leveraging this purchasing power to ensure their economic impact is recognized and valued.

“African-Americans are increasing their consciousness of the power they yield in how they spend their time and money and how those decisions – whether it’s which television show to watch or which song to download – can be compounded and multiplied for maximum impact across diverse demographics,” says Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Nielsen’s senior vice president, strategic community alliance and consumer engagement.

“The black power movement in the ’60s and ’70s led to significant and historical changes,” she added. “That same type of conscious impact is achievable utilizing today’s platforms and tools.”

For more information on Nielsen’s latest African-American consumer report, “Power. Growing. Influential,” visit www.nielsen.com