TheGrio owner Byron Allen attacked the lack of diversity in media ownership as stifling "true democracy" while appearing on CNN’s "Reliable Sources" on Sunday.
The Black media owner appeared a few weeks after it was announced that his company was acquiring the Black News Channel. Now rebranded as a section of TheGrio, the channel will mark a way to expand Black media, Allen claimed.
"We want it to be more inclusive. I never thought it was a good idea - a Black News Channel. I don’t think we need the Black News Channel. I think we need a good news channel, a terrific news channel like yours. So the network is going to be a lot more inclusive. It will be far more focused on lifestyle, entertainment, news and sports," Allen said.
Host Brian Stelter quickly pointed out the unique position Allen is in as a Black media company owner.
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"Talking about learning, what have you learned over the years in the media industry which is, let’s be frank, mostly White male-controlled media industry, all the media titans. You have been buying up properties. What have you learned over the years doing so?" Stelter asked.
"We don’t have enough diversity in ownership. We don’t have a real democracy until people really own these assets. Women don’t own these networks and they don’t control their image and their likeness and how they’re produced and depicted. Asian people are pretty much nonexistent in the media landscape in terms of how we’re depicting them and seeing the Spanish networks owned by people who don’t even speak Spanish and gay people don’t own their networks as well as African Americans," Allen answered.
He reiterated, "We need to own our networks, control the narrative, control how we’re produced and depicted and seen around the world. Until all of our voices are heard, then we don’t have a true democracy."
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Black media pundits have appeared to agree with Allen’s sentiment. MSNBC host Tiffany Cross called out fellow mainstream media members for failing to properly relate to a minority audience.
"A part of the challenges I have in the mainstream media, and you hear things like, ‘Oh the economy is doing better.’ And for many of us, the economy is not the stock market. It ain’t doing better for us," Cross said on Saturday.
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She added, "And so when you have these conversations, it sometimes feels like such a disconnect between us and the community, we feel left out of the conversation."
Fox News’ Gabriel Hays contributed to this report.