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 Black Stats          
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $744 Billion (2006)

Black U.S. Population:
  38.3 million

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

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  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

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 - Food $59.2 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $32.1 bil.
 - Clothing $27.7 bil.
 - Health Care $17.8 bil.

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Vibe magazine shuts down suddenly; Quincy Jones announces plans to buy it back

By Adrienne Samuels Gibbs
EbonyJet.com
(June 30, 2009) Vibe magazine founder Quincy Jones is distraught over the news that the famous hip-hop publication shuttered its doors today. Though no longer the owner, he did not anticipate this sudden demise, and he says he's going to bring it back to life – albeit in a slightly different way.

"I'm trying to buy my magazine back now," Jones told EbonyJet.com just moments ago during a telephone call to Jones' London abode. "They just messed my magazine all up, but I'm gonna get it back. You better believe it, I'm gonna take it online because print and all that stuff is over."

Jones created Vibe in 1993. It soon became the voice of urban youth, showcasing hip-hop and R&B artists in a way that older, more staid publications would not. Many described Vibe as a black Rolling Stone, but perhaps bigger. Amongst the publication's famous covers were those featuring hip hop giants  placing hip hop giants 2pac and the Notorious B.I.G. The magazine's last cover featured Eminem.

Vibe was purchased by Wicks Media Group in 2006. In February of this year staff were told they would have slashed salaries, a four-day workday and that the company would only publish 10 issues in 2010 in order to save money. But that wasn't enough. At around 2 p.m. CST, the Internet flooded with news, care of gawker.com, that the company was folding. Moments later, according to Gawker, Vibe editor-in-chief Danyel Smith issued the following statement:  On behalf the VIBE CONTENT staff (the best in this business), it is with great sadness, and with heads held high, that we leave the building today. We were assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue when we got the news. It's a tragic week in overall, but as the doors of VIBE Media Group close, on the eve of the magazine's sixteenth anniversary, it's a sad day for music, for hip hop in particular, and for the millions of readers and users who have loved and who continue to love the VIBE brand. We thank you, we have served you with joy, pride and excellence, and we will miss you. Danyel Smith"

No one answered phones at Vibe's offices on Tuesday afternoon, but the mag's most recent Twitter said only: "Thanks for everything."  Jones said he was proud of the magazine that fell to its demise mostly due to the economic recession that cut the advertising budgets of companies that normally advertised with magazines.

Vibe is only the latest magazine to encounter such problems. Nickelodeon Magazine  and King have closed in addition to music industry magazine Radio and Records.

The shutdown has caused a massive reaction amongst both hip hop artists and journalists. Vibe former president, Kenard Gibbs, says the magazine helped usher in an era of accessible hip hop. It also mainstreamed and legitimized hip hop journalists and the artists that they covered.

 "I really got a chance to be at the helm when it was at its peak in terms of readership and most importantly [at the peak of its] financial wherewithal," said Gibbs. "I'm not surprised but certainly saddened to see that something that had emerged as a very important voice for young people and music enthusiasts and hip hop culture [is] silenced. I think it's important to note that a place like Vibe for 16 years was an incredible proving ground for people of color who wanted to get into publishing or the media business."

Gibbs, who was the group publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines and president of Ebony/Jet Entertainment Group is currently the owner of the entire Soul Train catalogue. He left Vibe around the time that Wicks Media Group purchased the magazine. Here's his take, in layman's terms, of what happened there today.

 "Unfortunately, you'll probably see other ethnic publications with similar fates in this economic environment," he said. "It speaks to advertisers shifting away from print because because consumer behaviors  have changed and consumers are embracing online.  And you have this happening when you have people buying fewer magazine subscriptions and with the state of music being what it is. "He goes on: "All of that, for a magazine whose editorial soul is based in music made it a difficult environment for its financial structure. When you acquire a company it's like buying a house and having a mortgage and your mortgage is a variable rate mortgage. So you have to make sure you have enough income to pay your mortgage. It wasn't able to meet its debt obligation so the holder of the debt took it over like a bank takes over your foreclosed house."

Jones says that all publications must figure out how to live online. That's where he's going to take Vibe once he recovers from the death of his friend and protégé Michael Jackson.

 "We gotta get into the 21st century you know," Jones said. " "Print and all that stuff is over, we gotta remember that. The Chicago Tribune, The Seattle Post Intelligencer. The Miami Herald.  They're over the same way as the record business. We have got to get into this century."

 While Jones sees an online-only presence as the future of VIBE, the magazine's Web site was already robust and, according to its CEO, profitable. Industry analysts say that without the burden of paying for the printed page, there might be a digital opportunity for VIBE if the brand's name and archives could be bought without having to assume the company's debt.

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs is a senior editor for Ebony magazine. Find her on twitter at AdrienneWrites.



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"UNDER THE INFLUENCE"

Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop Culture

By Erin O. Patten

Hip-Hop culture has had a profound impact on marketing in the past two decades and it provided an intersection for brands, sports, and popular culture. Erin O. Patton documents this impact in his new book, Under the Influence--Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop Culture. 

Adam Graves, senior vice president of Deutsch Advertising says of Under the Influence and Patton: "If there are any marketers out there that still think they can ignore the urban market they'd better think again...This isn't just a book for so-called urban marketers; this should be mandatory reading for every marketer in the country."

Click here to order



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