Allen Johnston – The Music Specialist
Traveling internationally has opened my eyes and mind to the opportunities available for people of color worldwide. In particular are the opportunities available for African-American musicians and multi-media creators worldwide. What I have found is that EVEYONE aspires to have the American notoriety and success that is witnessed in the magazines, movies, and videos worldwide. People want to “BE LIKE MIKE” worldwide and Mike is the African-American celebrity.
As you know I am a proponent of education and I truly believe that African-Americans have a commitment to help educate and protect Africans worldwide. Let’s talk about the state of the Black music business within the United Sates today. Discretionary income controlled by African-Americans rose to more than $20 billon last year. Even though this seems like a humongous amount of money it pales in comparison to the fact that Shell Oil posted profits in the UK alone of 13.6 Billion Pounds or $30 Billion dollars this year. This is only one company in one country that significantly affects people of color worldwide.
Believe that this 30 Billion dollar profit will not be used to educate or protect people worldwide. So the question to me becomes how we can effectively affect the education of people of color worldwide. One way is the creation of music and multi-media projects that contain “Old-School” Values and Morals, never using filthy language, sexually based & tasteless innuendoes, sharp, ruthless or condemnatory statements or nonsense verbiage. But having a message or under current that causes renewed thought, interest, incite or unrest within the hearts & souls of its listeners!
Accessibility and affordability are the key factors in being able to reach large masses of people worldwide. The Internet is the medium of choice and opportunity to accomplish these goals. For the developing world the Internet is going to be a wireless experience and delivery will be over cell phones. Sixty one percent (61%) of the world’s 2.7 billion mobile phone users are in developing countries compared with ten percent (10%) of the world’s 1 billion Internet users. This information is based on the International Telecommunication Union’s Regulatory and Market Environment Division head Susan Schorr’s report. Africa accounts for more than half of the world’s poorest countries with people using low-cost cell phones rather than PC’s for connectivity.
India has a cell phone subscriber ship of over 226 million about nineteen percent (19%) of its total population with about 7 million new subscribers a month. This is creating a decline in the cost of cell phone manufacturing making them more affordable and also creating unbundled services lowering the costs of phone service. Approximately eighty five percent (85%) of all Indian cell phone contracts are prepaid, while in Africa shared cell phone services are taking off.
The Grameen Foundation has brought the Village Phone model to Africa. People wanting to become stand alone mobile phone operators can take out micro loans, letting them buy Village Phone kits that include a cell phone, a rooftop antenna that picks up signals 25 kilometers away and a car battery or solar panel for recharging. They setup shop in their homes, selling phone calls and mobile data transfer to other villagers. Ultimately allowing the world to invade the “outback” and the opportunity to place information directly with the people that need it the most.
Cellphone based Internet delivery bypasses the governmental media controls and is a viable alternative information source. Just recently there was great unrest in Kenya and the Kenyan government imposed a blackout of ALL news sources. Resourceful Kenyans started text messaging information to the Mashada website and got the world to see the problems while being able to maintain contact with different villages and families.
As a producer, writer, musician, film maker, artist or educator this now opens up an entirely new avenue to get your projects, products and ideas to an interested world market. Cellphones and other wireless devices will continue to get more people connected to the Internet or at least give them access to a wealth of information, knowledge and communications capabilities that previously were out of reach.
The only thing missing is you and what you have to share with the world.