Submission by Hardy Pelt, of Urban Edge Network
As a proud black-owned media company, we at Urban Edge Network have always strived to empower our community by providing a voice and platform for underrepresented voices. When Microsoft announced its commitment of $50 million through its Black Partner Growth Initiative, we were hopeful that this partnership would mark a significant step forward for black-owned businesses. However, our experience, along with that of many others, reveals a disheartening reality of unfulfilled promises and a lack of accountability from corporations claiming to support our community.
Microsoft’s Black Partner Growth Initiative, touted as a game-changing endeavor, was meant to uplift black-owned businesses through financial support and resources. Yet, despite the promises made by the tech giant, there is a striking absence of any concrete evidence that this $50 million commitment has reached its intended recipients. Our company, along with countless others, has waited for transparency and proof, only to be met with silence.
Commitments to black-owned media companies and businesses should not be merely symbolic gestures. It is essential for corporations to demonstrate their commitment by being accountable for the promises they make. Without transparency and oversight, these commitments can appear performative, undermining the progress that genuine support and investment in black-owned businesses can bring.
Black-owned media has long faced systemic obstacles, leading to underrepresentation and limited access to resources. These challenges have stifled the growth and potential of countless talented individuals and businesses within our community. When corporations like Microsoft fail to honor their commitments, it perpetuates this cycle of inequality, hindering the progress that black-owned media companies strive for.
We implore Microsoft and all corporations to actively address the lack of transparency surrounding their commitments to the black community. Genuine partnerships should be built on trust, with clear systems in place to ensure accountability. By openly sharing progress reports and disclosing where these financial commitments are allocated, corporations can rebuild trust in their efforts to support black-owned media and businesses.
It is not enough for corporations to rely solely on their own initiatives to empower black-owned media. Collaboration and partnership between corporations, black-owned media companies, and community organizations can create a more powerful impact. By facilitating mentorship programs, increasing access to funding, and developing long-term partnerships, corporations can prove their genuine commitment to uplifting and empowering the black community.
Microsoft’s unfulfilled promises to black-owned media companies are not isolated incidents, but representative of a broader issue within corporate commitments to black communities. It is high time that accountability becomes an integral aspect of these initiatives. By demanding transparency, we can ensure that black-owned media companies receive the financial support and resources they need to thrive and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable media landscape.