*General Motors CEO Mary Barra has agreed to meet with Black-owned media leaders after Byron Allen took out a full-page ad on page 3A in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press, accusing Barra of racism for refusing to meet with them “consistently, over time and after multiple requests.”
The ad is signed by the heads of the seven Black-owned media companies including rapper and actor Ice Cube, who co-founded pro-basketball league BIG3, Allen is head of Allen Media Group, and former NBA player Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman, who bought Ebony Media last year.
EURweb previously reported that Allen fired off letters of intent to major ad brands in which he warned of plans to take legal action against them if they don’t support Black-owned media. Allen is calling on ad agencies to allocate a minimum of 2% of their budgets to Black-owned media or face legal action.
Sunday’s ad is signed by Allen, Cube, Bridgeman, Roland Martin, Todd Brown, founder of Urban Edge Networks, Don Jackson, founder of Central City Productions, and Earl ‘Butch’ Graves, president and CEO of Black Enterprise.
General Motors responded to the group’s allegations of racism in a statement: “General Motors aspires to be the most inclusive company in the world, and that includes how we allocate media spend. We have increased our planned spending with both diverse-owned and diverse-dedicated media across our family of brands,” per the statement.
“Additionally, we continue to develop and advance initiatives like the Chevrolet “Real Talk, Real Change” platform and support projects like “More than That with Gia Peppers,” where we’ve partnered with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters on a content series for Black American listeners produced and distributed by underrepresented businesses. In this same spirit, we will continue to have an open dialogue with Mr. Allen,” the statement continued.
On Monday GM’s Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl had a preliminary meeting with Allen and several of the men who signed the ad. A follow-up meeting has reportedly been set with Barra for Thursday, per Detroit Free Press.
“We never said we would not have a meeting with Mr. Allen,” said GM spokesman Pat Morrissey. “We indicated we wanted to have a preliminary meeting between our chief marketing officer and his team to lay out our broader strategy on diversity and Black-owned media, including all marketing, advertising and sponsorship activities prior to a meeting with Mary.”
Allen said the meeting with Barra “is long overdue,” he told the Free Press Tuesday.
“We’re looking forward to it and we hope that we can finally get something done where we have meaningful economic inclusion for Black-owned media,” he added.