Breaking Brown

June 15, 2016

As Byron Allen Buys The Grio, Jet and Ebony Owners Sellout to Texas Firm

As Byron Allen Buys The Grio, Jet and Ebony Owners Sellout to Texas Firm


by Yvette Carnell

With many black media companies not seeing the earnings of their white counterparts, some companies are getting out of publishing. Johnson Publishing is leaving the stage after 71 historic years in the black media business.

According to the Chicago Tribune,  the company announced on Tuesday that it had sold Ebony and Jet to a Texas firm. Both media properties had been struggling, raising eyebrows when the company put its iconic archives up for sale.

As the Tribune notes, “In recent years, though, Johnson Publishing has seen declining media revenues as it struggled to evolve from print to digital platforms.”

At the same time Ebony and Jet were being sold, Byron Allen was purchasing TheGrio.

“We are excited to have TheGrio join Byron Allen’s ever-expanding Entertainment Studios media empire,” says David A. Wilson, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheGrio, according to Deadline. “Byron shares our vision of growing TheGrio into the leading video content creator and distribution platform for African-Americans. We look forward to developing the next iteration of TheGrio, and the fact that it will remain 100 percent African American-owned is very significant.”

Byron Allen added that he is “investing heavily in digital publishing, and TheGrio has an excellent management team, making it the perfect asset to start our portfolio of online publishing.”

Black Media Left Behind 

Allen has other profitable media properties which are not geared toward African-Americans, allowing him the freedom to take a chance on running a black media property. In an environment where even white media companies like Buzzfeed are seeing declining revenue, however, this isn’t a lucrative field for someone not awash in capital.



As Byron Allen Buys The Grio, Jet and Ebony Owners Sellout



NBC once owned TheGrio, but returned the website to its original owners and debuted its own black media outlet with NBC BLK.; why own a black media outlet when you have all the resources, as NBC does, and they have none? It makes more sense to do it all in house.

Always be Selling

Accusing Johnson Publishing of ‘selling out’ in a pejorative sense would be an incomplete analysis of the reasons behind the sale. In truth, media publishing is now about selling. It’s about how many eyeballs you can reach and how many of those pairs of eyes have fat wallets. In black media spaces, we have less eyes and most of our readers are working class, certainly not a benefit to investors in our capitalist society. Even if the rumor is true that Ebony and Jet were sold to a black holding company, it still doesn’t bode well for black publishers. There are not enough black buyers with the available capital to replicate this process.

Allen can afford to buy in, but the future of black media remains a lingering question.

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5 thoughts on “As Byron Allen Buys The Grio, Jet and Ebony Owners Sellout to Texas Firm

  1. TinaSue says:

    Oprah should have bought EBONY & JET.  
    The Grio will not be African American if Byron Allen and his White wife owns it.

  2. tipp2 says:

    Oh, But Oprah is NOT Black.  She doesn’t care for us (Black) people.  Why didn’t she build her School (years ago) for Black Girls in the States and not in Africa.  You see she wasn’t present there most of the time and then w/n a few weeks, you see what scandal happened with that school.   Oh OH.  We poor pathetic Black people.   Always complaining about others not buying Black, but hey, Yvette Carnell, I love you to the Max, and you are right — Some of us just don’t have the money to purchase/buy other companies.   And when we do have the money, we go White and assimilate with these White people.  So so Sad.

  3. shbkyn45 says:

    This post by Ms. Carnell, is making excellent points.  The first thing I would like to say, these tv shows, etc. have mostly African audiences, yet 99% of the commercials are whites making the commercils.  This should not be, it is one of the reason I never watch these programs.  I have expressed my concerns to thees folks, to no avail, mainly because we as a whole, don’t see the problem.  Oh yes, there is a problem, they are denying African people to make make these commercials hindering them to make money.  We as a group should not allow this to happen.  We need to let these racist know this, and if they don’t put 99% African in these commercials, we should stop watching or reading.  They would make the change over night.  It has to be a group effort, not a few, otherwise it will not work.

    We are the ones who has the power to make this happen.  Stop allowing these racist to take advantage of us.

  4. wuhanarig55 says:

    my father inlaw recently purchased black Dodge Challenger SRT8
    only from working parttime
    off a macbook. this page………….

  5. tipp2 says:

    WORD.  Tina Oprah will NEVER buy Black.

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