2018 Diversity Champion: TV One

It’s a media company that produces riveting original programming about issues including social justice, economic empowerment and civic awareness. It’s an organization whose social mission includes broadening voter registration and calling attention to critical community concerns, such as health and wellness. It’s a force for smart public policy through its tireless industry advocacy efforts. And, it’s headed by an executive team committed to expanding educational opportunities for diverse populations.

It’s TV One. And those are just a few of the reasons TV One has been selected as The Walter Kaitz Foundation’s 2018 Diversity Champion.

The Kaitz Diversity Champion Award recognizes organizations and individuals who motivate others to embrace and value diversity as role models, inspiring and encouraging excellence, removing barriers that hinder progress, and empowering others with opportunities.

For TV One – home to the signature programming brand “Unsung”– and its sister companies under the Urban One umbrella, REACH Media, Radio One radio network and Interactive One digital – the recognition is immensely well-deserved.

From the provocative original programming it produces to the bold REPRESENT Men’s Health and Hurricane Harvey relief initiatives it has recently launched, TV One exemplifies the values articulated by Kaitz Foundation founder Walter Kaitz, a Russian immigrant who dedicated his life to the idea that everyone had a chance for success regardless of who they were or from where they came.

TV One’s commitment to these values is reflected across the entire organization, influencing not just the on-screen content that captivates audiences but the internal mechanisms that ensure diversity of thought and contributions in every aspect of day-to-day operations. Among examples are:

  • Diversity in programming content. TV One is deeply committed to providing a full slate of diverse and unique programming that targets under-served audiences including African-American women. Signature series including “Unsung,” “Uncensored” and “We’re the Campbells,” as well as social justice related movies and programs such as “Behind the Movement,” “Two Sides” and “Evidence of Innocence,” reflect TV One’s resolve to tell meaningful stories and share impactful content that resonates with audiences.
  • Diversity behind the camera. As it produced more than 24 original series and movies in 2017, TV One created opportunities for talented individuals with diverse backgrounds, including 23 women writers, 16 African-American directors and 56 African-American producers. All told, TV One created more than 552 hours of original programming in 2017, earning accolades including Best Documentary Series from the LA Movie Awards (for “Two Sides: Eric Garner”), NAACP Image Awards (in the news/information category for “Unsung” and the reality category for “The Manns”), Telly Awards (in the Documentary category for “Two Sides: Eric Garner;” “Behind the Movement” in the History for Television category; “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakley Story” PSA for the Social Responsibility category), and more.
  • Corporate philanthropy. Among a wide-ranging set of initiatives, TV One introduced ONE Vote, a multi-media campaign across all Urban One assets with the intention of increasing black voter registration and turnout in the 2018 elections and beyond. TV One also launched TV One STEAM, a program that integrates the arts into the more widely recognized national efforts aimed at increasing minority representation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by exposing youth to the varied aspects of the entertainment industry.
  • Community support. Recognizing that African-American men are at high risk for heart disease, diabetes and other health problems, the new cross-platform campaign REPRESENT.™ Men’s Health from Urban One provides resources to assist families with addressing men’s health issues, featuring interviews and content from experts in what Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins III calls “an important reminder to our community to be vigilant about issues related to men’s health.” In addition, the company recently launched another REPRESENT initiative, the ‘Harvey Didn’t Win – Home Giveaway.’ This community program was created to raise awareness of the damages and overwhelming needs that still exist in Houston, as well as to raise money to help families rebuild. Urban One teamed up with local celebrities and organizations to donate a $150,000 refurbished home to a deserving family who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey.
  • Internal focus. With leadership from Liggins and General Manager Michelle Rice, TV One is committed to diversity within its business organization. More than two-thirds of TV One’s senior team is made up of women and people of color. More broadly, the company’s staff is represented by 74% women and 62% African-Americans. TV One’s Employee Development program helps foster a corporate culture that enriches and empowers network staff through social responsibility initiatives, health and wellness activities, professional training and development, and mentoring.

The Walter Kaitz Foundation is honored to recognize its 2018 Diversity Champion TV One – a deserving organization that joins an esteemed group of honorees for more than three decades.