It’s no secret that Black people have always and continue to drive the culture.
From catchphrases to hashtags, with the invention of social media just came more innovative ways for us to influence the culture, but at what cost?
Detavio Samuels, co-head of REVOLT — the media and television network founded by hip-hop mogul Diddy — dropped by on the latest episode of Black Tech Green Money. He shares the keys to staying ahead of the curve as Black creatives and how Black media companies can sustain growth and scale against a system that was never built for us to succeed.
“It’s incredibly hard to trademark or capitalize off of catchphrases or hashtags,” he tells BTGM host Will Lucas. “As a creative, you should be thinking about what the end product of whatever idea it is that you’re creating and do your best to think about how you monetize it before throwing it out into the world.”
Samuels stresses the importance of not only having a clear plan for monetization but being clear about what you’re putting into the world.
For further context, he explains what Black creatives often miss in value which in turn causes larger companies to hop in and take advantage.
“I think it’s two things. One we don’t understand the value chain and how to capture and extract value out of that chain,” said Samuels. “We’re also too short-sided because we often come from a position of lack and will trade in the bigger long term ways of generating wealth for immediate cash.”
When Black creatives don’t hit the ground with a long-term vision or thinking and refuse to make a bet on ourselves, we come up short.
“I think we miss that often, again, coming from a position of lack, we need the money or the cash now,” he says.
To combat this, Samuels says to educate yourself on the total value chain in order to learn how to extract all of the value to have a better understanding between cash now and real wealth later.
“I’m a huge believer in this notion of freedom,” he says. “I want to live life as the freest version of myself and wealth gives you that freedom like no other.”
A piece of advice he gives is if you need the cash immediately due to unforeseen life circumstances, it’s okay. He says, “take the cash, use it to build wealth, and use that to make decisions that don’t come from lack.”
As a Detroit native, he also shares how the location of where media platforms live and exist is a reason for the lack of stories on cultures like those within the midwest.
“Where are the Black media companies that can tell the stories of Detroit?” is the question he poses. He also tells the difficulties for a Black network like REVOLT when they attempt to scale like their larger counterparts.
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“Ultimately, the game is not set up for us to succeed. So, if you are a Black network, you have to do what all of the other mainstream media folks are doing,” Samuels shares. “Create content that is rooted in Black culture, but created for everyone.”
For more on why Samuels says it’s important for independent networks to spend less time on being a network and more time on building a brand an audience will fall in love with and more, listen to this episode of Black Tech Green Money below: