by Thea White
“My Mother is 73, she still has her own radio show, my dad opened the first Black-owned photography studio in the Pacific Northwest … media is not on me, it’s in me.”—Omari Salisbury
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to speak with Omari Salisbury, manager of Africatown Media, to talk about the Morning Update Show, a pop-up broadcast show that he and his team of volunteers — Trae Holiday (co-host), Darryl Glover (live streaming production), Anthony Austin (production assistant), and Acacia Iyana (producer/researcher) — have been producing.
Salisbury is not new to the media industry. An accomplished writer, radio and TV on-air presenter, as well as TV & short film documentary producer, Salisbury knows how TV works. Prior to his work in Africatown Media, between 2014 and 2017, Salisbury served as the Marketing Director of Clouds TV International, the first and only urban African entertainment TV Station in the United Arab Emirates, providing coverage across the Middle East. While working at Cloud TV, Salisbury had the opportunity to team up with FremantleMedia International to bring Got Talent to Kenya. Yes, that Got Talent. Three years later, he returned to Seattle and developed Coverage Media LLC, a marketing, strategy and communications agency.
An old friend from high school connected him to Africatown and their community and economic development work. The rest is history. In January, 2019, Salisbury helped launch Africatown Media Network, a media engine that originally served to connect viewers to recordings of the Africatown Land Trust meetings. It was later expanded to media platforms, like the Africatown Media Blog or the roadcasted Morning Update Show, to connect community members directly to thought leaders and decision makers in the Greater Seattle area.
When I asked Salisbury what he felt made the Morning Update Show different from other news mediums, he had this to say:
“The Morning Update Show brings an authentic voice that resonates with people in our community. We’re able to deliver [news] from our perspective … [from both] a street and a high-level perspective … we keep in mind who our audience is,” Salisbury said.
The Morning Update Show creates a space for various members of the community, from the young to the old, to leave informed and empowered. In every episode the viewer is able to meet doctors, writers, educators, business owners, chefs, council members, that look like them. Most importantly, they’re able to engage in the media content and hear another perspective that is vastly different from the trauma porn that we are introduced to on a day-to-day basis.
Following Gov. Inslee’s stay-at-home order in March, instead of adding to the mass panic the show put forth episodes that helped viewers learn the whole story and gain the tools needed to forge their game plan. When the Seattle Public Schools closed, the Morning Update Show aired children’s books read-along sessions with the School Board Director of District VII, Brandon Hersey, and had him discuss what the School Board had planned in response to COVID-19. Instead of constant reminders of the financial disparities Black families are facing in the wake of COVID-19, the show aired a four-part financial literacy workshop.
But don’t just take my word for it, you can listen to or watch the Morning Update Show Monday–Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., on the Africatown Facebook page.
If you want to learn more about Africatown Media Network, or to contribute to their cause, you can visit any of the following links:
Africatown Land Trust Fund
Africatown Media Blog
Thea White is an educator, community advocate and aspiring truth-teller who calls Seattle home. Few things are more wonderful to her than reading her favorite comics while listening to Jonelle Monae.
Featured image: Africatown Media’s Morning Update hosts Trae Holiday and Omari Salisbury (Photo courtesy of Africatown Media)