Multicultural Networks Talk Up the Election

Soledad O'Brien
(Image credit: BET)

With Election Day less than a month away, multicultural-targeted networks are stepping up efforts to educate and motivate their viewers to vote through original programming and other initiatives.  

Hip-hop-themed network Revolt TV has teamed with Comcast to create original content targeting Black viewers, including Black Voices on Mute. That initiative features original content that discusses the importance of voting and the history of voter suppression in the Black community.

Reclaim Your Vote

(Image credit: BET)

Revolt TV chief operating officer Detavio Samuels said Black Voices on Mute is just part of its push for more social justice-themed programming the network hopes will resonate with its young audience.

“We believe that young people will change the world, so we want to help create the world that they envision and see, and so it’s important for us to connect the dots for them between the future they have for this country and voting as a way to make their voices heard,” Samuels said. “Our studies have shown that young people are less engaged than they were in 2016, so we’re trying to make sure that they are engaged, excited and know what they need to do to connect what they dream and the actions that they need to take in this election.”

BET initiated a #ReclaimYourVote campaign last month in partnership with the National Urban League in an effort to inform, empower and mobilize Black Americans for the election, according to BET chief social impact & communications officer Jeanine Liburd. BET launched an original public service announcement campaign on Sept. 18 — National Black Voter Day — that is airing across BET’s platforms and features NBA star Blake Griffin, singer Erica Campbell, rapper Offset, journalist Soledad O’Brien and politician Stacey Abrams discussing the importance of voting.

“We really focused on three key messages: Demystifying the voting process, getting people to show up at the polls and making sure that people in your pod are set up to vote,” Liburd said. “Part of our core mission as a company is to entertain, empower and engage the community.”

On the Hispanic front, Fuse and partner the Voto Latino Foundation will look to engage the network’s young, multicultural viewers through a multimedia campaign encouraging Latinx participation in November’s election. The efforts, part of Fuse’s “Be Change” social responsibility initiative, will include a series of vignettes featuring singer Amara La Negra, actress Dascha Polanco and journalist Mariana Atencio that will air on Fuse and FM (Fuse Music) linear channels, as well as across Fuse Media’s social accounts. 

 “We’re not saying choose this politician or that politician — here’s the information for you to decide and do what you think is right for you,” Fuse TV CEO Miguel Roggero said. “Don’t just stand still, but do something about it through your vote.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.