In an effort to connect Black audiences to a centralized location with news and ways to engage with Black-led partner organizations, Jeremiah Chapman, a Johnson C. Smith University alumnus, has launched Black Culture Weekly. Through this resource, Chapman wants to revolutionize media through action and support of Black businesses, art and innovation.
Chapman is a 2011 graduate of JCSU, and in a relatively short period of time, he has made significant efforts to amplify the voices of the Black community.
In the midst of global protests and unrest, Chapman has banded together with Black leaders from across the globe to create Black Culture Weekly. The initiative will have several areas of focus.
One of these touchpoints is to train young Black journalists and inspire Black college students to become more active in shaping the narratives of their community through the “Young Black Storytellers Project.”
“Stories themselves are incredibly compelling, but there’s a huge disconnect in terms of being able to write an op-ed or send out a press release, so we really want to utilize the value of our team to assist new people coming on the scene,” Chapman said.
There is a wide range of contributors that have come together for the launch of the platform, from health service professionals to political strategists, experienced law practitioners and civil rights advocates.
Additionally, the team will highlight and train Black political candidates that will positively impact the Black community, and provide tool kits and action guides for Black organizers and activists to better engage their community.
The Black Culture Weekly mobile app was launched last week and has gained significant traction. The goal is to have a consolidated location for people to find Black news, businesses and information.
“We want the app to be a one-stop-shop resource, and that it’s something that’s transformative to empower the consumer and build the community” he said.
Black Culture Weekly will be donating $1 million in app services and websites to businesses, to help drive more resources to build a stronger business base in the community.
The web services may be especially crucial now, during the coronavirus pandemic. Chapman points to a figure that 40% of Black business are on the decline, and he says the digital divide is exacerbating the problem.
“Folks aren’t used to people coming to them and saying ‘Hey, this is a free service.’ We don’t expect folks to compensate us. I think it’s a huge game changer that’s transformative for our communities moving forward,” he said.
Chapman also hopes to increase Black representation in the workforce by providing access to job opportunities in politics, media, tech and education.
While Chapman said there has been progress because more corporate leaders understand that it makes good business sense, he said there is conclusive data that shows working African Americans, from factory workers to corporate executives, still face obstacles to advancement that other minorities don’t.
The world we hope to create is that whether you’re Black or you’re an ally, that you are educated on things that you know that Black folks are going through and that it is transformative," he said. “Our hope is to inspire this generation and the next.”
If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.
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