Across America, Black representation in the media space is quite limited, thereby affecting Black voices in national political discourse as well as in their cultural thoughts. And so the stories of Blacks, when it comes to their culture, challenges worldviews and political persuasions as told by powerful media channels mainly owned by white people.
A new platform is seeking to change this position and let Blacks tell their own stories. The platform, known as Umoja Radio App, is a joint effort by the owners of five Black-owned radio stations – WUVS 103.7, WHPB 98.5, WUGM 106.1, WVBH 105.3, and WQID 105.3. The platform represents the latest chapter of excellence in Black media.
The founders of the app decided to create their own after iHeartRadio refused to allow their stations on its platform. What is particularly unique about Umoja Radio is that the development of this app embodies African liberation from the limitation of traditional media, traditional media platforms, and traditional gatekeepers.
The developers of the app chose the name Umoja, Swahili for unity. Through the platform, they strive to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and the human race. The app features over 45 independent Black-owned community-based radio station with a mission of Black empowerment.
The uniqueness of the platform is also to meet the demand for an urban outlet with engaging, educational, entertaining content, whereas other platforms lack diversity and inclusion.
“It comes at a time when society demands more inclusive content and we have the potential to deliver that and so much more,” the founders say. “Our mission is to grow into the world’s largest collective of unapologetically conscious media, podcasts, and syndicated radio stations. We hope you are able to join us on this wonderful and revolutionary journey.”
Umoja is hoping to achieve instant hit as uncensored podcasts and digital streaming platforms have largely overtaken spaces previously dominated by traditionally radio, record labels, and television.
“We now have an opportunity to fill a void with Umoja Radio App and provide content with inclusion. Black content creators not only steer popular culture, but can now do it from independent platforms, and in spaces, that we own,” according to the founders.
The founding of Umoja comes on the heels of Black History Month and a campaign by Yahoo to “Make Space for Black Voices” campaign to honor Black History Month.
“The programming includes a celebratory Yahoo logo in partnership with creative artist Janel Young, as well as new video series and on-air interviews celebrating Black change-makers, and a special livestream event featuring different industry leaders,” Yahoo said.