We Hear You, We See You: The Innovation Behind Brown TV Network
From filmmakers to journalists, it is often that Black and Brown creatives struggle to unlock the leaps and bounds of success in a profession overwhelmed with the slanted view of racial biases. Serving as an inspiration to counter these barriers, Angela Jackson and Buford Brown have co-founded a platform called Brown TV Network (BTVN) that uplifts this suppressed community of innovators and composers! While “[creating] a lane for people who are going through what we are going through,” as Brown expresses from his perspective as a creative of color, Jackson further affirms these efforts to “carve out space for creators to go to the next level!” It is important to add that this new network does not merely stop at the aspect of entertainment but strives beyond those limits to educate and inspire its viewers through documentaries, local news, and television shows to propel the Black and Brown perspective and experience.
Although living in a world where media, such as YouTube and Netflix, has become progressively accessible and predominantly used by communities of color, these platforms are supposed to inform their viewers through a Black and Brown lens, yet ironically lack the inclusion and embracement of those who long to share their stories like their white counterparts, let alone provide the foundation for writers, graphic designers, producers, and directors to get their footing in the business. In short, BTVN challenges this system by “[opening] the doors for people who have had them closed,” as Jackson enthusiastically puts it!
Both co-founders understand the many obstacles of mainstream media that inhibit the hard work of the creators and their artistry from being acknowledged. Jackson shares, “A lot of creators and producers that create content do not have access to a platform,” as she goes further in-depth about the regulated “...politics [that] are involved in getting your content on different networks.” We see, again, this issue of access and exposure inhibits aspiring and upcoming creators from sharing artwork and crafts that can inform and encourage millions more that also hope to be seen for their work, but also seen within their identity.
Yet, it remains clear that those who want to see this change and equity within the business of film must pave such paths. This is, of course, something both Brown and Jackson aspire to accomplish. As Brown claims, “If you want something done, you have to do it yourself,” thus affirming the nuisances of the industry but also the inventiveness for creating this all-encompassing platform. In this network, one is instead self-empowered and self-motivated to continue to focus and develop their creative endeavors and dreams, which can then allow one to further expand and invest in their abilities and broaden their artistic scope. It is with Brown TV Network the talented and yet rejected will no longer have to wait for the higher-ups to call them worthy of their networks because it’s BTVN that will provide this creative and free-to-post outlet!
As a whole, Brown TV Network truly sets itself apart in its mission and overall aim as a business for the marginalized to share their voice and their visions. Unlike other popular streaming services, they pour into the community so those overlooked can finally pour back into themselves! Throughout my conversation with the co-founders, I found they were nothing shy of inspired and positive about the future of BTVN and the possibilities and dreams it will unleash for generations of creators.
“We have connected with creators from around the world. We want this to become huge,” Jackson says compassionately. She continues, “We want to rethink how television and film are done, how it gets aired, and how it reaches the people,” thus encouraging the conversation of Black and Brown accessibility and opportunity and detailing the power found in acquiring knowledge about how to achieve obtainability void of adversity and struggle. Brown claims confidently that this new and refreshing business venture of BTVN is “...establishing a blueprint…” to unfasten the binds of the film industry that stifles one from gaining the same successes, wealth, and creative latitude as their white counterparts.
Currently, Jackson and Brown look forward to the growth of BTVN as they plan to make this network available through Roku and Amazon on April 1st! In addition to this exciting news, if you are a director, writer, filmmaker, or one who needs a space to share your passions, please do not hesitate to utilize BTVN and the many things it has to offer! “Creatives with content start by filling out an application to determine if their content fits the mission of BTVN. Once the application is approved, if the content meets the standards, you're on your way to having your content aired with the potential to reach millions of viewers,” Jackson explains.
As for its viewers, the network is also available on all devices from your phone, tablet, desktop, or in-home TV, so regardless of where you are, you can experience media that is made for and by the Black and Brown community. In all, we can observe that this dream of seeing oneself in media is no longer a figment of our imagination or a distant hope, but a reality that deserves to be lived and seen with the help of the Brown TV Network!
Brown TV Network is a subsidiary of Brown Media International. You can reach BTVN at brownmediainternational.com.