thanks, you've destroyed the dreams that i've been building on for the last 10 years (no joke). i'm a double-major in sociology and marketing with a certificate in public relations - all of this is right up my alley. the words about the expansion of the black-influenced market on mainstream buying habits doesn't tell the half of it, cause when you include hispanic and asian business deriving from black markets, the numbers continue to grow. you've got me wondering what the point is though. why should i embark on a career in sports marketing when 90% of the fan base is white (or at least all the people in the stands are). i can't land a job unless i can reach a white market through the auspices of an "inherently black" demand. nike is the epitome of the nexus to this trend (going into black neighborhoods to find the next trend to sell globally). looking at the big picture, do you think there's a way to buck the system and re-assess the trends? sociologically speaking, there's something bigger going on when whites, hispanics, and asians are more apt to buy something 'packaged w/ blackness,' than we are. the only thing that i see going on are grass roots ad campaigns, and my case in point is my mother (a 20+ year ceo who was considering contracting her company over to burrell comm. at one point). during a water conservation campaign she was running, the ad offered alternatives to benefit water conservation - specifically - (radio spot) voice of a black woman and her grand-daughter talking about planting african flowers in the garden because they used less water. this appealed to whites as well, it was exotic to them, and it reinforced african identity while presenting positive role models. so it can be done, and many markets can be reached at once (in a positive manner - not biting culture). the same can be done for asian and hispanic audiences. but the larger picture remains the same with such a grassroots campaign. i guess my final question is: is it a question of black marketers becoming the voice of the black community, in an all-white boardroom? or is it (as your post dictates) that we're expected to choose between two images (hustler or affluent sell-out) while we're in the boardroom? obviously we have the best opportunity to re-define, shape and mould (sp?) black-ness, in the same vain as w.e.b. du bois during the harlem renaissance, but i think that we have to re-define blackness within ourselves first. the hustler image, which reaches young kids, and rebellious whites, has to be re-defined in terms of economics - rather than color - in the same way that james dean sold the 'rebel without a cause' image to young impoverished kids during his day. kids love the image cause they don't have shit, and they have no means of getting it (la-la land, it's a dream world). and the 'affluent happy black family' image sells well to our middle class, who've been working their ass off to get to middle management, only to get kicked out of middle class into a "working poor" category - they're sick of all the b.s. and wants to believe that there's a silver lining...somewhere. this image isn't far from the cleaver family image of the fifties. our images have to catch up with the reality of black life, (high divorce rates, people aren't trying to get out of the ghetto - they're trying to get away from their big ass family and move to another state, dealing with the corporate shit from your post - people with grad degrees struggling cause they're the only person of color in the office.) and reflect the full-spectrum of blackness. white media and marketing were forced to endure the same challenge. but, i can say that we're light years ahead of hispanics. watch ten minutes of telemundo ads and tell me how unrealistic that shit is. it's almost like a minstrel show. white people in brown face selling a product to brown folks. no culture - nada.
'baseball took me from a second-class citizen to a second-class immortal." -satchel paige