Brand Black: Obama, Hip Hop, and Blackness as a "Mature Brand"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today on The Takeaway we've been talking a lot about branding. Some folks told us about the brands they missed ("Bit 'o Honey" and the "Reggiebar" candy bars each got a vote). Other folks talked about what they would rename/rebrand "too big to fail/too small-minded to give up the multimillion dollar bonuses" insurer AIG as...

amigos in gold
amateurs implementing guile
anti inflammatory geeks
a**holes invoking god
as if god
appalling in greed

(And that's just from the journalists!)

Listeners wrote, among others:
Absolutely Insufferable Greed
Angry Investor Gross

But let me take a turn here.

Yesterday, I was invited to address the US Mission to the United Nations, now led by Ambassador Susan Rice. I was part of a panel that examined how and why then-Senator Obama won the Presidency; and what lay ahead.

I spoke about Brand Black, or blackness as a mature political brand, just as hip hop is now a mature media brand.

Every product/entity/person who wants market share starts out in the experimental, spaghetti against the wall. Of all the people who start blogs, relatively few keep it up and even fewer find a longterm audience.

Continues after the jump...
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The Takeaway for Wednesday, March 18, 2009 (Final Edition)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

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Our listeners most beloved brands

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Everyone has fond memories of their favorite childhood brands and the memorable ads. As we look at the rebirth of a Woolworth's store, The Takeaway asked its listeners to tell us their favorite brands from the past. Here is a list of the brands and icons our listeners love:

The Reggie Bar
SPAM
Howard Johnson's
Pan Am
Tab
Yuban Coffee
Woolworth's
Bucky Beaver!
Jell-O Pudding Pops!
The Noid!

What brands and brand icons do you love? What brands do you miss? Add your suggestion to the list of items in the comments!
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The Takeaway for Wednesday, March 18, 2009 (Early Edition)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Headlines; News on immigrant remittances
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Recovery Act Tracking by State

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Updated March 18, 2009 The states are promising transparency on stimulus spending. Some states, not all of which have special "recovery" homepages yet, are old hands at open government 2.0. ProPublica has compiled links to states' general transparency sites, many of which have details on contracts and expenditures. View the links on the map below, or as a chart on ProPublica's Web site.

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The Takeaway for Tuesday, March 17, 2009 (Final Edition)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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The Takeaway for Tuesday, March 17, 2009 (Early Edition)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Headlines; Sharia law in Pakistan
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My New American Dream

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? A home, a car and a stable job? In this time of economic despair, with record home foreclosures, plummeting car sales and rising unemployment, The Takeaway is asking, What's your New American Dream? Listener Leah Clark responded...

I am a young American, and I am fed up.

I am 26 years old and living in Michigan — one of four states with the highest unemployment. With $35,000 in student loans and making less than a bartender I know, you could say that owning a home is merely a dream for me. But I'm not alone. Two thirds of university students graduate with $21,000 in debt. Once they start working, a greater shock awaits: The average grad is making less than they were in 2001: 1.7 percent less to be exact. This, coupled with the rising cost of living, leaves my hands tied.

The good news is, I'm not asking for much. I want to live in a home 1,000 sq. ft. or smaller, or if I live in a city, 800 sq. ft. or less. I realize this is not the current trend. Since 1960, the size of the American home has doubled. Why is this, since the size of the typical American family has stayed the same?

The stilted economy, rising cost of living and concern over the environment have led me to conclude that owning a small house and not filling it to the brim with consumer goods could be my ultimate contribution to America — and a better world.

But the benefits of a small house and small mortgage don't stop there. Owning a home with an affordable payment — and one that is efficient to heat and cool — would allow me to pursue my dreams of world travel or a graduate degree. Pursuing these experiences makes me feel alive and reminds me that I am sharing this world with people, cultures, and wildlife that take my breath away — and deserve my respect.

For too long the American Dream has been "bigger and better and cluttered with stuff." In times like these, I believe it's necessary to redefine what we as Americans really need, and live according to what our consciences tell us.

I'm up for the challenge. Are you?

Leah Clark is an Associate Art Director for a publishing company in Metro Detroit by day, and writer of black-marketbooks.blogspot.com and short stories by night.

What's your New American Dream? Join the conversation.
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Greens, rice, fish...and Sean Penn: Cooking for Iranian New Year with filmmaker Marjan Tehrani

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trouble viewing this video? Check out the YouTube version.

Marjan Tehrani is a documentary filmmaker. Born and bred in the United States, Marjan had an American mother and an Iranian father. Her latest film, Arusi Persian Wedding, takes her back to her Persian roots and tells the story of Marjan’s brother taking his American wife to Iran to have a traditional Persian wedding.

When The Takeaway’s Femi Oke went to meet Marjan Tehrani it was just a few days before the Persian New Year. So as they chatted Marjan showed Femi how Iranian families celebrate their new year, talked about growing up half Iranian and why Sean Penn is on her fridge!


Sabzi Polo Mahi (rice with green herbs and fish)
Ingredients:
Parsley
Cilantro
Scallions
Basmati rice
Coriander
Chives
Dill
Fenugreek
Saffron
Fresh white fish
Plain yogurt
Salt and pepper

Chop parsley, cilantro and scallions. Cook basmati rice. In a saucepan, add rice and mix in chopped parsley, cilantro and scallions. Dissolve saffron in water and add to rice with salt and pepper. Cook rice until the bottom of the saucepan is layered with golden crunchy rice. Don’t burn it--just make it crunchy! Steam the fish with the seasoning. Serve fish on a bed of rice with a side helping of plain yogurt.
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The Takeaway for Monday, March 16, 2009 (Final Edition)

Monday, March 16, 2009

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We have lift-off

Monday, March 16, 2009

In a majestic take-off into the Florida sky, a crew of seven was launched into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery yesterday. The shuttle is en route to the International Space Station to provide necessary supplies and replacement parts. Watch the launch in the video below.

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The Takeaway for Monday, March 16, 2009 (Early Edition)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Headlines; This week's agenda
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The Takeaway for Friday, March 13, 2009 (Final Edition)

Friday, March 13, 2009

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The Takeaway for Friday, March 13, 2009 (Early Edition)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Headlines; News on Afghanistan
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Stewart and Cramer face off

Friday, March 13, 2009

When The Daily Show's Jon Stewart takes on a somber tone and sets his aim, his target needs to watch out. Remember when he surprised everyone on Crossfire by ripping into Tucker Carlson without telling any jokes? This week he took on CNBC's Jim Cramer, blaming him and other financial reporters for giving Americans bad advice instead of uncovering shenanigans.

Watch Cramer in Stewart's hot seat in the first part of the interview below. The entire interview can be seen at The Daily Show.

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Transportation officials cause confusion at White House recovery plan conference

Thursday, March 12, 2009

WNYC
The president stopped by a meeting of 49 state representatives gathered to discuss ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka "the stimulus bill") and got a big round of applause. But his aides were not treated so politely...

The White House called in a group of state representatives to discuss implementation of the stimulus bill — but several pool reports (see below) paint a picture of anxiety and confusion.

"You're giving governors a lot of responsibility to administer it, but we're not always kept in the loop," a representative from New Hampshire told Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Or take this exchange with Deputy Transportation Secretary Thomas Barrett (Another man asked how and why Maryland has already started transportation projects under stimulus, going back to the morning session's theme where some states are nervous they've missed opportunities to fund projects, or are behind the curve):

"They started using their own money," Barrett said.

"So we can do that?" the man said.

"If you have the money," Barrett said.

Then, following some back and forth...

"If there's confusion on it —" Barrett said, then was cut off by one of the state reps:

"There certainly is."

You get the idea. The full reports are worth a read and *bonus* there's a list of state representatives at the end of report #3.
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The Takeaway for Thursday, March 12, 2009 (Final Edition)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

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The Takeaway for Thursday, March 12, 2009 (Early Edition)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Headlines; News on the Dow Jones
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The first stimulus numbers are in...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Go ahead take a peek... your inner wonk is dying to.

So far, up to now, it's been all PR, pretty much — how much money will be allocated by the stimulus bill, how many jobs will be created. But now federal agencies are starting to file actual reports with recovery.gov.

You can look here.

Okay, we know, it's pretty unintelligible, and we'll be working on making it more intelligible for you at The Takeaway and ShovelWatch.org. In the meantime, don't forget to ShovelWatch for us. What's being built in your region? Good idea? Waste of money? We'd like to know. Get started with "crowdsourcing" the stimulus plan »
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