In another example of growing Black entrepreneurship and empowerment, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios said it has agreed to acquire 11 TV stations from USA Television for $290 million.
While his name isn’t often mentioned when discussing the African-American multi-media moguls and his criticism of President Obama doesn’t make him a political favorite of Black America, Allen is still the OG of this s**t, but being a media mogul doesn’t shield him from racial and systemic prejudices.
Currently, the white, capitalist powers that be are so threatened by his come up that they are trying to deny him further access to TV stations by changing the laws.
According to thegrio.com, “Comcast and Charter Communications and the U.S. Department of Justice are currently attempting to dismantle the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and deny media mogul Byron Allen (owner of Entertainment Studios) a seat at the table, resulting in a case that goes before the conservative heavy Supreme Court on Nov. 13.
‘The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (the law that Entertainment Studios and Allen are using to argue their case) came about right after slavery ended and before Reconstruction. It was supposed to ensure that Blacks had a fair shake in business,” explains rapper/social activist Killer Mike, who says that Blacks should pull out of Comcast if Allen is denied his entrepreneurial rights.
— James Wright (@jamesewright) October 1, 2019
Systematic racism has put huge hurdles in the way causing the playing field to be far from equal. From the sports world, where we have 0 Black majority owners in the NFL and MLB and just one in the NBA, to the entertainment world, where TV stations, cable and film companies, studios and record labels, are controlled by white people.
“If Allen is playing fair, and he has the capacity to produce quality programming, why would they not allow him space at Comcast? You can’t say people are not interested- everyone needs the weather,” Killer Mike says of Allen, who acquired the Weather Channel for $300 million last year. Allen previously bought Bayou City Broadcasting as well.
Comcast is trying to create an inhibitive and systemically racist “Rich Paul Rule“, but for “overreaching” African-American TV and film moguls.
Making Of A Black Media Mogul
Allen began his career as a stand-up comedian and then worked his way up through the Hollywood matrix to become a businessman, TV producer, philanthropist, and the founder, owner and CEO of the U.S. television production company Entertainment Studios.
The new stations acquired from USA Television are network affiliates serving nine markets.
“This is another milestone for our company, as we have now agreed to purchase our second broadcast network affiliate station group within the past three months, and continue to aggressively look for other opportunities to grow our global media company through strategic acquisitions,” Allen said.
“I have known Byron Allen for decades and we are delighted that these stations will now be part of his dynamic company and that Heartland management will continue to guide them,” said USA Television CEO Robert S. Prather, Jr. “These stations are dedicated to their local communities and this transaction will enable them to become even stronger on both their broadcast and digital platforms.”
This latest power move continues to build Allen’s impressive entertainment and media empire, which dates back to when the 58-year-old Allen made his television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson at 18 years of age.
He wanted to control the chessboard and he dove into television production in 1993 when he founded Entertainment Studios, then launched his first series — Entertainers with Byron Allen—a weekly, one-hour series profiling the current stars of film and television.
By 2009, he had the power, money, and support to historically launch eight 24-hour HD television networks simultaneously: Automotive.TV, Cars.TV, Comedy.TV, ES.TV, Justice Central, MyDestination.TV, Pets.TV and Recipe.TV.
Byron’s company produced its first scripted programming in 2012, producing two weekly primetime sitcoms that debuted in September 2012: The First Family and Mr. Box Office.
In 2016, Entertainment Studios purchased TheGrio, a digital, video-centric news platform devoted to providing compelling entertainment, news and lifestyle content for African-Americans.
Yup, Allen is behind that too.
In 2017 the game show Funny You Should Ask was added to the roster of Byron Allen produced shows and in March ,of 2018 Allen acquired the television assets of The Weather Channel for approximately $300 million.
Allen’s Takeover Threatens The Status Quo
It’s getting hard to keep up with Allen’s growing media and TV empire. His growing list of discrimination lawsuits and his influence and potential overall impact on African-American programming is hard to ignore, but the powers that be at Comcast are trying their best to do just that.
Most people have no idea that Allen was also part of the Sinclair Broadcast-led group that acquired 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Co. for $10.6 billion. He’s the definition of a silent assassin in his space, who walks softly but carries a big stick of influence and ingenuity.
Ice Cube and LL Cool J got all of the press for their failed bid, but Allen was actually on the winning side and he’s probably the most powerful African-American in television at this point.
Tyler Perry is the king of Black Hollywood, but Allen is building an unprecedented TV empire. It’s great to want to be Jay-Z and Oprah Winfrey, but aspiring to be Byron Allen is dope for young black entrepreneurs as well
In 2018, Allen was selected for the Bloomberg 50 for his accomplishments as a global business leader.
He was also selected as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at the Goldman Sachs Builders & Innovators Summit 2018. Allen has managed to remarkably stay out of the public eye while orchestrating impactful and institution-changing power moves that make him one of the most influential Black Americans in the history of TV, business and entertainment.
If you’re not already… get familiar with him.