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