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Sunwise Responds to Criticism Over ‘Black Editor’ Post

Elverage Allen and Ri-Karlo Handy of Sunwise Media
Elverage Allen and Ri-Karlo Handy of Sunwise Media (Image credit: Sunwise Media)

After Sunwise Media founder Ri-Karlo Handy’s online post seeking ‘’black Union editors” went viral with social media criticism, the black-owned production and distribution company, said it was surprised by the reaction and insisted that race was “critical” to this particular position.

A post shared by Ri-Karlo Handy (@rikarlo) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on on Jun 17, 2020 at 4:10pm PDT

At a time when protests about police brutality against black Americans fill cities and the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining support according to polls, many of the posts complained that Sunwise was engaging in “black racism” by seeking to hire an editor of a specific race: not white.

Elverage Allen, Handy’s partner and head of advertising sales at Sunwise Media, said the company was formed to foster black media ownership and skill development.

Related: Sunwise Rises With Focus on Positive Diverse Series

“Why is this important? Because, over the years, black media ownership and employment has dramatically dropped, and we feel an obligation to proactively seek to retain it and the jobs it produces,” Allen said.

The company produces content that is “uniquely developed to positively depict the African American lifestyle,” Allen said. “As recent events have demonstrated, the African American experience is complex, multi-faceted and to say the least, Challenging! This is a story that one must live to more effectively tell!”

Both Allen and Handy were executives at Bounce, the digital broadcast network serving black Americans now owned by the E.W. Scripps Co. Their recent documentary, Hope Village, about a community based drug treatment program, has been making the rounds of film festivals.

“Hopefully, this will explain why 'a black editor' is needed to tell our uniquely ‘Black Stories,’" Allen said. “Our content requires knowing how it feels to watch, internalize, and explain the pictured experiences in 'black terms' with 'black emotions', 'black perspectives', and black empathy!”

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Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.