Issa Rae’s Media Conglomerate Launches New Initiative for Emerging Black Talent
Recently, HOORAE, a multifaceted entertainment media company created by Issa Rae, and Walmart partnered to launch the Black & Unlimited Digital Development Program. Nine content her creators flew to Los Angeles for her immersive week-long professional production shoot, workshops, and her Creators Summit. There, he gathered a wealth of industry knowledge and contacts to improve content and monetize the brand.
When asked how the partnership between HOORAE and Walmart came about, Tiana Harris, HOORAE’s vice president of content strategy, told LA Sentinel, We’re going back to our roots, digital. What if Issa had access to these resources when she was working on the first season of Awkward Black Girl? What would the content look like? And when you look at how content has evolved, [because of] resources and exposure. Brilliant and creative genius has always been there. ”
“The increased level of resources Issa has access to allows her to become a vessel for the current generation of creatives and streamline her access to resources,” Harris said.
Participants in the program received a $10,000 scholarship in addition to a “Creator Kit” containing Canon cameras, lenses, microphones and lighting fixtures.
“We are really excited about it because we recognize what a platform like HOORAE means for culture and what the creators who partner with us can do for their careers. I do,” said Harris.
In the midst of curating this coveted opportunity for nine creators, HOORAE also Created a series of “Creator Courses” with industry-leading talent such as Freddie Ransom, Laron Hines, Britney Butler and Erin White of “ErinOnDemand”. This series of videos has not only been created to further empower program participants, but is also available on the HOORAE YouTube channel.
DJ Vaughn, Walmart’s Director of Multicultural Marketing Partnerships, echoed similar sentiments about the launch of the program. A friend of mine from college knew someone from his HOORAE so I connected about 4 months ago and now we have this amazing program. ”
He added: What we are trying to do is “Walmart to culture, culture to Walmart.” This is one of the programs that lead to longer strategic partnerships. ”
While some may not understand how retail giants like Walmart can partner with media companies like HOORAE to expand their digital content creators, Vaughan said: About 95% of people live within 10 miles of him from Walmart, so this is a junction. We must think of ourselves as community facilitators, not just retailers.
“Our ‘Black & Unlimited’ platform is more than just a celebration of Black excellence during Black History Month, it’s all-encompassing storytelling 24/7. We work with thousands of influencers each year, so we have a responsibility to amplify their voices, shake up the industry, and challenge the status quo. ”
He added: So we wanted to challenge it. We will always work with influencers, creative agencies and media companies, but how can our size and scope be used to challenge the industry?”
Destiny Aaiyana, one of the creators who joined the first cohort, shared how she grew from this experience and how it changed her perception of Walmart. “I have learned that investment and resources play a huge role in how far someone can go, no matter how much raw, unadulterated talent they have. I’m grateful that it’s changing. I did.”
The digital development program selected a diverse group of participants in niche disciplines ranging from culinary arts to music curation to fashion and beauty. The first cohort of creators selected for the Black & Unlimited Digital Development program are Amanda S. Wicks, Archie Jay, Brelynn Hunt, Cam Sullivan-Brown, Destiny Aaiyana, Mariah Jae, Chef Shaiheem, and Tyris Winter.
Maryland native Brelynn Hunt expressed her appreciation for being a part of a groundbreaking experience. “This program means a lot to me because I have been vlogging since 2014. It opened me up to the world and made me realize how much I love creating and engaging with people. I wanted to grow but I’m stuck in a box now that I’m a grad student and working as a medical assistant I’m going to be a doctor but my platform will definitely reach out to a lot of people I know it helps, so how can I go beyond that? Seeing with the right eye is important and this program gives me that opportunity.”
In addition to using creator kits to increase production value, Sentinel asked Harris what HOORAE’s expectations are for the first creator cohort. she said: Early Outreach During some of her calls, she spoke with creators who felt discouraged about their content creation journey and were looking to give up later in the year. This is an opportunity to bring them together, inspire us more than ever to keep creating content, and mission accomplished, we’re already winning. ”
She continues: We also hope that the followers and fans of our creators will be inspired to take a leap of faith in what they want to do every day. “
For more information on the Black & Unlimited Digital Development Program, visit @hooraemedia on Instagram and watch the exclusive #BlackAndUnlimited Creator Course on the HOORAE YouTube channel..