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U.S. Census Bureau
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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

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

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing $121.6 bil.
 - Food $59.2 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $32.1 bil.
 - Clothing $27.7 bil.
 - Health Care $17.8 bil.

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Harvard professor Charles Ogeltree forms investor group to rescue Bay State Banner

By Meghan E. Irons
Boston Globe
(July 16, 2009) Bay State Banner publisher Mel Miller publicly hoped last week that an investor would save Boston's only black newspaper from closing. Now, it appears he may get his wish.

In an interview with the Globe yesterday, Harvard University law professor Charles J. Ogletree (above) said he has lined up a group of 12 investors - individuals and organizations - who can provide enough money to keep the financially-strapped weekly from shutting down permanently. He said the Banner, which distributed its last edition on Thursday and had been expected to close by the end of the month, could return to the stands as early as next week.

"The Bay State Banner has been around for 44 years, and it will be around for a 45th year and beyond that,'' Ogletree said, adding that he has been working "around the clock'' to generate political and economic support for the paper since news of its demise last week. "The reality is, in these economic times, the Bay State Banner is more significant than it ever was.''

Ogletree would not give details on how much money the investors have promised. He also would not disclose information about the investors themselves, except to say that they come from across the nation and include former Harvard students and individuals and groups representing clergy, government, and business and community advocacy.

Meanwhile, Miller said he is encouraged by the news, but thinks it is likely to take longer than a week before the paper can print again. Miller, who would not give details on how much it would take to the save the paper, said that he's surprised - and touched - by the outpouring of support he has seen since the announcement that the paper would shutter.

"I've never seen the community so upbeat, so militant, and so committed to achieving their objectives,'' he said.

The Banner, which Miller started in 1965 during the era of urban renewal and civil rights, has grown to a weekly distribution of 30,000 copies and has chronicled the biggest stories in Boston's black community. The free newspaper, which started as a subscription-based publication, gained a reputation for taking city officials and departments to task: The paper criticized the Boston Police Department for a lack of black officers and it regularly challenged Mayor Thomas M. Menino on issues such as development in the city's poorer neighborhoods.

Recently, the Banner has suffered from the economic downturn and advertising slump that has hurt many newspapers across the country. The Banner has gotten noticeably lighter recently because of fewer ads: The first issue this month had 19 pages, compared with 30 pages the year before.

Wayne Budd, a former US attorney, said that given the current economic climate he was not surprised about the Banner's closing. He said he has had a recent conversation with Miller about passing the torch.

"If there is an upside to this story, it's that there is some galvanization of opinion and action to make sure that this great community organization for communities of color is preserved in one form or another,'' Budd said.

To be sure, the Banner's demise has mobilized Boston's black community and, apparently, officials and readers from across the state and region. Menino said yesterday that he asked his financial team to look at "several options'' and plans to meet with Miller next week. And through e-mails, phone conversations, and face-to-face encounters, everyday Boston residents have been trying to come up with solutions to save the paper.

"After that story broke . . . it's just been nonstop conversation about what to do,'' said Kelly Bates, executive director of the philanthropic group Access Strategies Fund.

Among the more formal efforts, activists, educators, pastors, and corporate executives plan to meet today at the office of the Boston philanthropic group, the Barr Foundation, to discuss the Banner's future. Union of Minority Neighborhoods planned the meeting to consider strategies for Roxbury's only newspaper, said Horace Small, who heads the community group.

"This is probably the most critical meeting in the black community in years,'' Small said. "We have a vehicle that speaks uniquely about our community - about the issues that affect us.''

The Rev. Bruce Wall of Global Ministries Christian Church in Dorchester also organized an effort to build a subscription pool of 20,000 for the Banner. He said he sent an e-mail to about 900 people and has urged people to subscribe on his community radio and television shows.

"The Banner and I have a close working relationship,'' he said.

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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