Published on March 19th, 2019 | by Hype Editorial0
Comcast’s Keesha Boyd Talks Diversity in Entertainment, The Importance of HBCUs and Paying Homage to Black History
February and March are two powerful months for African Americans. Black History Month and HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) Awareness Month, respectively, exist to remind us to be conscious of those who came before, the great things those people did, and the places that strive to continue that greatness. As March comes to a close, we spoke to Executive Director, Multicultural Products at Comcast Xfinity, Keesha Boyd, about the impact of these institutions, the importance of Black Entertainment in American culture, and how Comcast pays homage to that significance.
As creator of Xfinity’s Black Film & TV destination, why did you feel it was important to shine the spotlight on Black entertainment? How important do you feel Black entertainment is in regard to American culture and the Entertainment industry as a whole?
Through our roles here at Comcast, myself and my amazing team have the privilege of prioritizing the needs of African American consumers every day. That means, among other things, having a thorough understanding of the importance and positive impact we can make just by shining a light on all the great content and content creators that we distribute.
The Black Film & TV destination was created to promote discovery of these stories and make it easy for our viewers to lean into content that features stories around black culture and identity. I think it’s vital to recognize and celebrate the contributions that this community makes to the broader American and entertainment consumer community at large and I’m glad Comcast found a way to leverage our platform to do that. Simply say “Black Film and TV” into your X1 voice remote and enjoy!
March is HBCU Awareness Month. What does Comcast have planned?
We have some really fun things in the works. Historically Black Colleges and Universities play a pivotal part in the African American community and we want to pay homage to that positivity and what those institutions represent.
In the Black Film and TV platform, we have a first-of-its-kind collection of content called “The HBCU Experience,” which offers programming that centers around HBCUs and features everything from web content, student-centered TV shows and watch lists to sports, movies, music playlists and more.
We’re also excited to announce the launch of our first batch of original video vignettes in that collection featuring Comcast employees who are HBCU alumni, giving testimonials on how these universities shaped them into who they are today. Later in the month, we’ll be launching the celebrity stories of DJ Drama and Tanika Ray who were also interviewed and share their own moving stories about their time as students and the influence HBCUs had upon them. Some incredible people have attended these schools, and during HBCU Awareness Month we especially want to bring attention to the fact that those institutions provide an invaluable foundation for the future successes of African Americans. Check out the promo here.
We always look forward to the opportunity of communicating with the public face-to-face and later this month, we will host a special event for students at the AUC (Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and Morehouse College) where our Xfinity on Campus service is available in the dorms. This past fall, we joined in the festivities during the annual SpelHouse Homecoming weekend so we’re also looking forward to coming back this spring to celebrate these great schools.
How did Comcast celebrate Black History Month this year?
This year we marked the occasion with a curated content experience called, “For The Culture: The New Renaissance,” which delivered over 1,000 hours of content to our viewers. The experience focused on people, stories, moments and movements that highlight the best in black cultural appreciation through TV, Movies, Music, Web content and podcasts. People can still easily check it out by saying “For the Culture” into their Comcast voice remote and immerse themselves in the culture of today.
For the Black Film and Television destination, your motto is “Black History is Always On.” What programming and content is available year-round?
That motto reflects our permanent collection of historical content on demand called “Black History Always On” that can be viewed at any time. It serves as the consistent place to find, discover and enjoy important stories of the past. We are committed to delivering programming that reflects the interests of our diverse consumers and to bringing exciting and fresh content that they can learn from and be entertained by.
It’s extremely important to us to maintain that availability of historical content because black history is American history, and in a lot of cases we’re all still learning about news stories and contributions from this community. So this “always on” collection gives our consumers access to inspiring and moving stories, biographical films, specials from educational networks and more. Be sure to check out the free video vignettes in this collection titled, “Voices of the Civil Rights Movement,” which was recently expanded during Black History Month.