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Media mogul Byron Allen on why you get a Donald Trump when Black voters stay home

Sibile Marcellus
·3-min read

Media mogul Byron Allen would like to avoid a repeat of 2016 in 2024. “Four years ago, I didn’t really like the way the political process had gone. I really wanted Black America to know that Black America is the most powerful vote in America,” he told Yahoo Finance.

While record Black voter turnout in 2008 and 2012 helped put Barack Obama in office for eight years, reluctance to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 helped pave the way for Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House.

“The Black vote is the most powerful vote because the white vote is usually split 50/50. And the Black vote comes along. And it’s the deciding vote,” said Allen, who recently launched TheGrio.TV, the country’s only 100% African-American owned and targeted broadcast television network and digital platform. He bought TheGrio website from NBC Universal in 2016.

Allen is the founder and CEO of the Allen Media Group, which owns nearly a dozen cable networks, including The Weather Channel, about a dozen local TV stations, and produces more than 60 syndicated TV shows.

Through TheGrio.TV, Allen aims to help inform African-Americans about the power that voting has to transform their lives.

Comedian Byron Allen arrives at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 27, 2016.  REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Comedian Byron Allen arrives at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 27, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

“I don’t like the fact that here we are, you know 2021, and we’re talking about voting and not voting. Voting should be like breathing,” said Allen. “We have some big issues in the Black community. And we can’t address those issues unless we lean in and we vote. And we donate. And in doing so also be very clear that we’re holding these politicians accountable.”

In the 2020 election, 87% of Black voters chose Joe Biden. In his first week in office, President Biden has been eager to show his supporters that he would deliver on promises made on the campaign trail to address racial economic exclusion of Black Americans.

“I said that over the course of the past year that the blinders have been taken off the nation, the American people. What many Americans didn’t see or had simply refused to see couldn’t be ignored any longer,” said Biden at the White House on Tuesday at the signing of executive orders on racial equity.

America is facing a racial economic crisis as indicated by the tens of millions of Americans who took to the streets last summer after the killing of George Floyd exposed the depth of racial injustice in America.

“It was the knee on the neck of justice, and it wouldn’t be forgotten,” Biden said. “It stirred the conscience of tens of millions of Americans, and, in my view, it marked a turning point in this country’s attitude toward racial justice.”

Through his executive orders, Biden directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address discriminatory federal housing policies, increased the value of supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits, extended the federal foreclosure and eviction moratoriums, and freezed student loan debt collections amid the pandemic. Biden also asked his administration to look at options for raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 an hour.

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