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 15th Annual Edition
'Buying Power of Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures

Black consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of their spending on items and services that improve their homes and lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report, "The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that African-Americans...
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 Black Stats  
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
 $803 Billion (2008)

Black U.S. Population:
 41.1 million

Top Five Black Cities
 - New York
 - Chicago
 - Detroit
 - Philadelphia
 - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
 - New York-New Jersey
 - Washington-Baltimore
 - Chicago-Gary
 - Los Angeles
 - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing $166.3 bil.
 - Food $65.3 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $31.5 bil.
 - Clothing $26.9 bil.
 - Health Care $23.9 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
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Bureau Data

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Despite void in black ownership, many black leaders defend Comcast merger plans

By Pharoh Martin
NNPA News Service
(June 4, 2010) Big business mergers have rarely garnered the support of the black community and its leaders but, despite some protests, some leading black organizations have come out in support of Comcast's $30 billion deal to acquire NBC-Universal.

 
The merger, currently under review by the Federal Communications Commission, has had a significant number of black organizations and interest groups publicly supporting it despite protests from others, according to letters filed in the FCC case docket.

 
"Our membership is often skeptical of horizontal mergers,” wrote the Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of the National Action Network. “However, given Comcast's track record on diversity matters, the fact that this joint venture is nearly wholly vertical, and the prospective benefits for consumers generated by the joint venture, I support this joint venture and hope that the FCC will approve it without delay.  

"With ownership as a major driver of the black economy, at least one group, the National Coalition of African American Owned Media, headed by Stanley Washington – as reported last week by the NNPA News Service - has launched a crusade against Comcast and their proposed merger with NBC/Universal, largely because of Comcast’s lack of African American owned channels on its national platform.  
 
But, for many black civil rights advocates and business leaders, Comcast has earned a long earned-reputation of staunchly promoting diversity through their various employment and business practices and being a committed community partner in the various markets they serve.

 
Sharpton wrote that the Philadelphia-based cable provider has been an industry leader on diversity in appointing African Americans to high leadership positions and commitment to black-focused programming starting with the early carriage of the once African American-owned Black Entertainment Television (BET) in the 1980s to its joint venture with black media company Radio One to launch BET rival TV One.

 
"Given the potential benefits of the deal and Comcast's strong record of commitment to diversity, I am thus favorably inclined toward its approval,” Sharpton wrote. “I believe that this venture can offer useful benefits for African American media and Internet entrepreneurs as well as the general public."
Comcast and Sharpton have worked together on a variety of educational and diversity programs.
 
“When we started NAN's Madison Ave. Initiative they were one of the first companies to come to the table with us," Sharpton said in a statement.

 
The merger has also garnered the support of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the country's largest federation of black-owned businesses.
 
"We have a long history with Comcast," said National Black Chamber of Commerce president and founder Harry Alford in an interview with NNPA. "And they have been very good to our members who do cable installation, wire work, and that kind of stuff. Comcast has been hiring those local businesses that do that kind of work. I've never heard of Comcast doing something that would not include African Americans.
 
"In his letter to the FCC, Alford lauded Comcast's record in promoting diversity and its support for black charities and community groups. He wrote that Comcast’s record “has provided ample evidence of this company's good works and the positive impact it will have on diversity and equality at NBC Universal.
 
”Nearly a quarter of Comcast's workforce is African American, he wrote. The company has been aggressive in identifying and recruiting minority talent by partnering with numerous black professional and civil rights organizations such as the NAACP, the National Black MBA Association and the National Society of Black Engineers.

 
Alford pointed out that Comcast drove $84 million dollars of business to African American vendors in 2009 and that the cable giant was listed on Diversity Business' "America's Top 50 Corporations for Multicultural Business Opportunities" list for five consecutive years for their record of seeking out black-owned suppliers.

 
The FCC case docket also includes letters of support from local chapters of various black national organizations.

 
The National Urban League's local chapters of Washington, DC, Memphis, Tacoma, WA, Hartford, CT and Broward County, FL all praised Comcast and NBC local affiliates' continuous support as community partners.

 
"We would be remiss if we did not mention that Comcast is also a long-time partner of the [the National Urban League],” wrote Maudine Cooper, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Washington Urban League. “Comcast serves on the League's Board of Directors and the company has provided generous resources in support of our programs in education, employment and training, housing and community development and our efforts that led to our securing a new headquarters and program facility.
 
"Some support letters implied that Comcast’s record of involvement in the black community balances out any complaints.
 
 
“The benefits that good corporate citizenship brings to the community are invaluable, and I am confident that Comcast will continue to follow its own example in its new venture with NBC,” wrote the Rev. Horace Sheffield, executive director of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations.

 
The NAACP's Memphis branch, the Seattle chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the International Detroit Black Expo, and the 100 Black Men of Greater Washington, D.C. are all black organizations that have also written in their support for the Comcast deal.
Still, the deal is not without its detractors.  
 
In her letter to the FCC, US Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) wrote, "I have been tracking the Comcast-NBC merger for several months, and I am very concerned about the implications this merger has on diversity, localism, and competition in today's media market.”
The congresswoman points out that all of the nation's major broadcast networks and 90 percent of the top 50 cable networks are owned by only five companies. The same five media corporations also produce three-quarters of all prime-time programming and control 70 percent of the prime time television market. Therefore, Waters is worried about further media consolidation.
 
At least seven members of Congress have filed letters opposing the deal.  
 
The Congress members called the direction of the American media "one of the most, if not the most, critical issues we face today."

 
They pointed to a severe decline in the number of minority-owned broadcast stations. In 2007, minorities owned just 3.2 percent of the nation's televisions despite making up more than 34 percent of the U.S. population.

 
"If Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal is allowed to proceed, the company would control content production and content distribution at an unprecedented level," the Congress members' opposition letter argued. “A Comcast-NBC conglomerate would own the nation's largest cable system, one of the nation's largest networks, 27 broadcast television stations, 14 national cable channels, seven production studios, and several of the fast growing Internet properties.”

 
The Supreme Court, which holds a precedence of ruling against such media near-monopolies, declared in 1945: “the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public.
 
"Although a quarter of Comcast's workforce is black, the record of diversity at the cable provider's upper rungs is not as inclusive. During a congressional hearing in March, Comcast Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts admitted to a judiciary panel that his company's board of directors includes only one woman and one African American. In the same hearing, NBC's chief executive Jeff Zucker admitted to the panel members that his network has zero black programming.

 
Other ethnic organizations, such as the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Greater Los Angeles and pan-Asian group Mabuhay Alliance, charge that Comcast has horrible record of outreach to their respective ethnic groups' communities and these communities will not benefit from the deal. Still, numerous other notable Latino groups have filed letters in support.

 
Alford holds that the criticism against Comcast is unfounded and the media company's record for diversity and to the black community speaks for itself.
 
He said, "If anyone wants to go after some bad boys go after Google, which has a deplorable hiring record of African-Americans."


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