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Survey Finds Persistent Gaps in the Representation of Black Americans in Media

Date: Feb 07, 2022
Survey Finds Persistent Gaps in the

Representation of Black Americans in Media

February 1, 2022— Horowitz Research’s recent FOCUS Black: Consumer Engagement 2021 report finds that about two in three Black Americans say that seeing Black characters and communities portrayed in positive ways and having a Black actor in a lead role positively impacts their decision to watch a show or a movie. However, only slightly more than half (55%) feel they are seeing more Black actors as lead characters in scripted content. Only half (51%) feel that they are seeing more Black characters and communities portrayed in positive ways.

When it comes to news coverage, fewer than half (46%) of Black Americans say they have seen improvement in how they are portrayed, versus 44% who see no improvement in this regard.

Black consumers also see improvement in advertising, though advertisers could be doing even better, the study finds. A two-thirds majority (66%) of Black Americans say that they would be more compelled to buy from a company that features diverse people, lifestyles, and cultures in their ads. Slightly more than half (56%) of Black Americans say they are seeing more ads like that in the media today.

Notably, 46% of Black consumers agree that they are seeing more “companies that are making a sincere effort towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in their business practices because they really want to do better,” compared to 41% who feel that they are seeing “companies that are insincere in their efforts towards diversity, equity, and inclusion because they just want to get more business.”

Some Progress, More Needed

These split findings represent progress and reveal opportunities as many brands are planning to commemorate the 96th Annual Celebration of Black History Month in February with campaigns targeted to Black Americans. Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer and Insights and Strategy Lead at Horowitz Research, points out that “Brands really need to be making sustained, meaningful efforts to resonate with the Black audience year-round, not just one month out of the year.”

Given how critical reaching and serving Black and other diverse audiences has become to corporate America, Horowitz Research— a leading research provider known for cultural insights among America’s Black, Latinx, and other diverse audiences— and New Majority Ready, LLC (NMR)— a multicultural consulting firm run by veteran business leader Jacqueline Hernández and pop-culture expert, journalist, and storyteller Jack Rico— will be collaborating on insights-based consulting projects for media brands and advertisers looking to develop culturally resonant content, branding, and marketing strategies to reach the New Majority, an increasingly diverse and multicultural America. Their collaboration has begun with the creation of this Black History Month awareness ad campaign that will run digitally and across LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook social media platforms throughout the month of February.

“Today there are nearly 47 million Black Americans that drive over $1.6 trillion in spending power… and this number does not include the fast-growing multiracial population in this country, which has been increasing by triple digit percentages since the 2010 Census,” notes Jacqueline Hernández, CEO and Founder of New Majority Ready. “What are Black Americans looking for in media and advertising? Consistent, accurate, and non-stereotypical representation in the content they consume and the advertising they see, as well as to do business with brands that are aligned with their values. Our collaboration with Horowitz Research will allow us to dial in our strategic recommendations through best-in-class research.”

Horowitz’s Waterston explains, “We have delivered research and insights to many companies that have successfully transformed their multicultural strategies targeting Black, Latinx, and diverse audiences. At New Majority, Jackie, Jack, and their team bring a new level of business acumen, creativity, and experience in developing engaging and effective content, media and brand strategies.”

About Horowitz Research:

Horowitz Research is a leading provider of consumer market research providing primary quantitative and qualitative research and syndicated studies among Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQIA+, Gen Z, and total market audiences for companies ranging from small start-ups to Fortune 500. For more information, visit

About New Majority Ready, LLC:

New Majority Ready is a marketing consulting firm specializing in multicultural audiences and helping businesses grow with America’s increasingly diverse population, ‘the New Majority’. For more information, visit

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