Listen to this article here
Sign-Up for a free subscription to The Black Wall Street Times‘ daily newsletter, Black Editors’ Edition (BEE) – our curated news selections & opinions by us for you.
Byron Allen, who owns one of the biggest media empires in the country, said he is “truly blessed” to be in the position to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“I am truly blessed,” Allen told the Detroit Free Press. “As a young kid growing up in Detroit, in a blue-collar family, I never dreamed I’d go to Los Angeles on a two-week vacation with my mother and end up staying and one day have a star on Hollywood Boulevard next to someone who gave me a break, Johnny Carson.”
Allen, 60, owns Allen Media Group, a $3 billion company which is comprised of 32 ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX network affiliate TV stations in 20 U.S. markets. The company also owns The Weather Channel and a dozen other high-definition TV stations that serve 180 million subscribers.
Allen motivated to bring economic equality to Black people
“I own a little less than 5% of the TV stations in the U.S.,” Allen said. “No Black person in America has ever owned more TV stations than me.”
Allen’s goal in wanting to build the world’s biggest media company is to fight for economic equality for Black people. He wants to achieve “one America” through “the four E’s”, education, equal justice, economic inclusion, and environmental protection.
“Once we achieve that, we can achieve a slice of heaven here on earth,” Allen told theGrio, a media outlet he owns. “I think if we can get people to focus on that, see that, think that, believe that and pursue that, then we have something that is really worth dedicating our lives to.”
General Motors commits to spending more ad dollars on Black-owned media
Earlier this year, Allen and six other leaders of Black-owned media companies ran a full-page ad in the Detroit Free Press accusing GM and CEO Mary Barra of systemic racism for years of refusing to meet with them. At the time, GM was spending less than 2% of its advertising budget with Black-owned media companies. Allen and the other leaders got GM to commit to spending 8% of its budget with Black-owned media companies by 2025.
“I am talking to GM personally and those conversations and negotiations are going on as we speak,” Allen said. “In the next week or two, we should have clarity of what that economic inclusion looks like.”
“For me, I’m not trying to change the town. For me, I’m building the world’s biggest media company and we’re effectuating change throughout the world,” Allen said.