Tag Archives: brand

Janelle Monae – An Emotion Picture

Review by Monica Westbrook

Like twin talking heads from a sci-fi motion picture, Cindi Mayweather appears on the two projector screens telling the story of the mythical archandroid. The band begins, and out walk three hooded figures, swaying back and forth with the funk of the tune. Janelle Monae pops out of her hood and starts singing “Dance or Die.” Thus began the “emotion picture” of the ArchAndroid as performed by Janelle Monae this weekend at The Variety Playhouse in Atlanta.

No lip syncing here. Janelle is the real deal, a performance artist – a bold, self-defining brand and trendsetter blazing forth her own path. I first heard her voice on Outkast’s Idlewild soundtrack. Her voice, transitioning from trained vocals to gritty-ness, emanating confidence, grabbed my ear and wouldn’t let go.

Beginning with the release of her EP, Metropolis, she began “Suite I” of the story of the android, Cindi Mayweather. Suites II and III take us deeper into the danger of the society that Cindi lives in. The message transcends the story of the fictional heroine, though. There’s more than one lesson in every song, and she fit most of them into the approximate two-hour performance.

Images from the show still resonating in my mind include the “walking dead” in “Sincerely, Jane.” These hooded figures with white masks and long beaks walked out onto the stage, holding their arms out like zombies. Then during “Locked Inside,” her backup singers danced alongside her, one dressed in the garb of a nun, the other as a Muslim woman. At the end of the song, as they knelt down in prayer, she sang, “I can make a change. I can start a fire.”

So much to write about, so little space. Check out the video to “Many Moons,” below, one of the songs not performed. The show was far more than expected, with her band members, A-Pimp-Named-Slickback on guitar (for you Boondocks fans) and Kanye on keys. From the people of “Wondaland” dancing around on stage to evoking the spirit of James Brown both in dance and on the screen to painting a picture as she sang, the message was clear – Love.

Food For Thought: The Ethnic Buying Power in the U.S.

By: Tamika L. Morrison

With the 2010 Census now in full swing, you’re starting to hear buzz words like: buying power, African-Americans spending is in the Trillions, Hispanics are leading, diversify your brand, etc. We’ve been talking about it on our radio show, The Greenlight Project and we talk about it with our clients who are intentionally looking to diversify their marketing budgets.

What’s all this talk about buying power and what does it mean to the now ‘ethnic majority’ in the United States? The growth of Ethnic minorities in America has been phenomenal.  Since 1980, the Asian American population has almost tripled, Hispanic American more than doubled, Native American increased 62%, and African-American increased 31%, while the non-ethnic population has remained almost the same.

This is a trend that is expected to continue.  The latest estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau predict that the minority population will comprise fully half the U.S. population by the year 2050.

Let’s illustrate this:
TV Basics: Ethnic Buying Power
Hispanic, African-American and Asian target markets have made substantial gains in buying power* over the last decade. As these groups increase in number and purchasing power, their growing shares of the U.S. consumer market are drawing attention from all types and classes of advertisers.
Buying Power (billions of dollars)
1990 2000 2008 2013
African-American 318.1 590.2 913.1 1,239.5
Hispanic 211.9 489.5 951.0 1,386.2
Asian American 116.5 268.9 509.1 752.3
Total 4,270.5 7,187.6 10,721.0 14,013.7
In 2013, African-Americans will account for 8.8% of all U.S. buying power, up from 7.4% in 1990.

Compared to the total U.S., African-Americans spend more on:

  • Telephone Services
  • Electricity
  • Groceries
  • Natural Gas

In 2013, Hispanics will account for 9.9% of all U.S. buying power, up from 5.0% in 1990.

Compared to the total U.S., Hispanics spend more on:

  • Groceries
  • Telephone Services
  • Housing
  • Clothing

In 2013, Asians will account for 5.4% of all U.S. buying power, up from 2.7% in 1990.

Compared to the average U.S. household, Asians spend more on:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Telecom Services
  • Education

Top States for African-American Buying Power

The ten largest African-American markets account for 61% of the African-American buying power.

Rank State Totals in Billions
of Dollars
1 New York 87.6
2 Texas 72.0
3 Florida 62.9
4 Georgia 62.6
5 California 61.8
6 Maryland 52.3
7 Illinois 44.0
8 North Carolina 40.9
9 Virginia 38.2
10 New Jersey 34.8

Top States for Hispanic Buying Power
The ten states with the largest Hispanic markets account for 80% of the Hispanic buying power.

Rank State Totals in Billions
of Dollars
1 California 249.0
2 Texas 171.1
3 Florida 101.3
4 New York 75.3
5 Illinois 41.0
6 New Jersey 35.6
7 Arizona 31.3
8 Colorado 21.0
9 New Mexico 17.9
10 Georgia 15.1

Top States for Asian Buying Power
The ten states with the largest Asian markets account for 75% of the Asian buying power.

Rank State Totals in Billions
of Dollars
1 California 162.8
2 New York 51.4
3 Texas 32.7
4 New Jersey 31.7
5 Illinois 22.5
6 Hawaii 21.9
7 Washington 16.3
8 Florida 15.8
9 Virginia 14.7
10 Massachusetts 12.9

How will you use this information to empower yourself to choose better how you spend your dollars and with whom?  Or as a marketer, how can you use this information to re-position your brand and align better with the spending power in the U.S.?  Sound off; let us know what you’re thinking.

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*Television Bureau of Advertising “2008 Media Comparisons Study” Retrieved March 20, 2010 from the website http://www.tvb.org/nav/build_frameset.aspx.