How an LA upstart is redefining the media world by helping African-American millennials ‘tell their own story’

Aaron Samuels Blavity

Aaron Samuels is cofounder and chief operating officer of Blavity, the LA media upstart focused on African-American millennials, and he is a man of many talents.
The Stanford business school grad oversees a team of 48 full-time employees, with a vision to perfect the storytelling art for a generation of people underserved by the current mass-media landscape.
Samuels’ early years as an artist and poet helped shape that focus, and he believes that by owning your own narrative you can reshape the way you live in the world.
With the help of Samuels’ cofounders, Blavity is emerging as a media juggernaut, a little more than four years after its founding.

“When you tell your own story, it changes the way other people see you, and it changes the way you see yourself,” Aaron Samuels, cofounder and chief operating officer of Blavity, a digital-news publication geared toward African-American millennials told Business Insider.

Blavity has been a hot topic in the media world since it closed a $6.5 million Series A round with Google Ventures in July, bringing its total venture investment so far to $8.5 million. That’s an almost of unheard-of amount of money for an early-stage, black-owned startup, much less a new digital publication — especially one with a young, black, female CEO, Morgan DeBaun, Samuels’ cofounder. But it is clearly doing something right. Blavity has only been in business for four years, and it already has seven million readers per month.

And much of that success is anchored in Samuels’ personal mission for the company.

Come see Aaron Samuels speak at Business Insider’s Ignition conference, December 3 & 4 in New York.

He believes that by creating a company — and a community — that lets black millennials “really control their own narratives” in ways that mainstream media doesn’t understand, “we could change the way people see themselves.”

Blavity was founded in 2014, but you could trace its roots back to the Washington University campus in St. Louis, Missouri, where Samuels and his friends — DeBaun, Jonathan Jackson, and Jeff Nelson — experienced firsthand the phenomenon that would eventually define Blavity’s core ethos.

Samuels calls it “black gravity,” a microcosm of black people who would move toward each other in public spaces. At the campus in St. Louis, the lunch table was a central meeting place.

“The black community at Washington University was really tight. Although Washington University was primarily a white institution, black folks stuck …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

President Trump Says There’s ‘No Reason’ for Him to Hear Recording of Khashoggi Killing

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump said he would not listen to a recording of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi even as an upcoming report on the slaying threatens to put him in a diplomatic bind: how to admonish Riyadh for the slaying yet maintain strong ties with a close ally.

Trump, in an interview that aired Sunday, made clear that the audio recording, supplied by the Turkish government, would not change his decision on how to respond to the Oct. 2 killing, which U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Because it’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it,” Trump said in the interview with “Fox News Sunday.” ”I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it.”

Reporters asked Trump, as he toured fire damage in California on Saturday, about the death of Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was often critical of the Saudi royal family. Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat has said the crown prince had “absolutely” nothing to do with it.

“We’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday,” Trump said. That will include “who did it,” he said.

It was not clear if the findings of the report would be made public. Officials familiar with the case cautioned that while it’s likely the crown prince was involved in the death, there continue to be questions about what role he played.

Trump told “Fox News Sunday” that Crown Prince Mohammed had repeatedly denied being involved in the killing inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The president declined to say if evidence that the crown prince, with whom the Trump administration developed close ties, was involved with the killing would alter relations with Riyadh.

“Well, will anybody really know?” Trump said. “At the same time, we do have an ally, and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”

For his part, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said the crown prince has been a “wrecking ball” in the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

“I hate to say that because I had a lot of hope for him being the reformer that Saudi Arabia needs, but that ship has sailed as far as Lindsey Graham’s concerned,” the South Carolina Republican told …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

      

President Trump Says There’s ‘No Reason’ for Him to Hear Recording of Khashoggi Killing

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump said he would not listen to a recording of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi even as an upcoming report on the slaying threatens to put him in a diplomatic bind: how to admonish Riyadh for the slaying yet maintain strong ties with a close ally.

Trump, in an interview that aired Sunday, made clear that the audio recording, supplied by the Turkish government, would not change his decision on how to respond to the Oct. 2 killing, which U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Because it’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it,” Trump said in the interview with “Fox News Sunday.” ”I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it.”

Reporters asked Trump, as he toured fire damage in California on Saturday, about the death of Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was often critical of the Saudi royal family. Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat has said the crown prince had “absolutely” nothing to do with it.

“We’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday,” Trump said. That will include “who did it,” he said.

It was not clear if the findings of the report would be made public. Officials familiar with the case cautioned that while it’s likely the crown prince was involved in the death, there continue to be questions about what role he played.

Trump told “Fox News Sunday” that Crown Prince Mohammed had repeatedly denied being involved in the killing inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The president declined to say if evidence that the crown prince, with whom the Trump administration developed close ties, was involved with the killing would alter relations with Riyadh.

“Well, will anybody really know?” Trump said. “At the same time, we do have an ally, and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”

For his part, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said the crown prince has been a “wrecking ball” in the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

“I hate to say that because I had a lot of hope for him being the reformer that Saudi Arabia needs, but that ship has sailed as far as Lindsey Graham’s concerned,” the South Carolina Republican told …read more

Source:: Time – World