While you wait in line to cast your vote, check out what MTV, BET, and Comedy Central are doing to represent their diverse audiences with unique media coverage of one of the most memorable elections in U.S. History. Read More
When the virtual reality headset first slid into place, covering my eyes and resting on the bridge of my nose, there was a moment of calm darkness. Then the screen glowed, coming to life, and there stood Grace Chikui, an elderly blind woman and long-time resident of the Little Tokyo district in downtown Los Angeles. In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October, Viacom’s Office of Global Inclusion (OGI) hosted a unique virtual reality (VR) experience aptly named Walking With Grace, which used 360° video and spatial audio to provide employees with unparalleled perspective into the life of someone differently-abled.
“Through select audio interviews, Grace recalls childhood memories growing up in the area, helping us discover her neighborhood. Each swivel of the head and body, left, right, backward and even up toward the sky, revealed more of her world.”
Walking With Grace gave Viacom employees the chance to see the world through the eyes of somebody with a visual impairment.
For the second year in a row, Viacom hosted a Girls Who Code summer immersion program. Find out more about how Viacom got involved with the national nonprofit here.
In the era of Twitter wars and Snapchat shade, internet feuding has become the norm. Intellectual Beef is a prototype site created to change this by providing a controlled environment for people to share their thoughtful opinions on current events. It’s an unbiased forum where dissenting voices are welcome, as long as they are respectful. It’s made with the latest industry technology, and created by four teenage girls.
The creators of Intellectual Beef present their site at the Girls Who Code Graduation. Photo courtesy of Amy Pinnard Photography.
Zahraa Lopez vividly remembers the excitement she felt when, as a child, she’d walk past the TRL stage, gleaming behind the windows of Viacom’s Times Square Headquarters. She’d look up at the majestic silver skyscraper with awe. “I always wanted to see inside,” said Lopez, who grew up in the Bronx. “I wanted to be part of what was going on.”
In 2011, Viacom Chief Information Officer David Kline attended an event for the National Association of Broadcasters, and noticed something disturbing: the awards were mostly going to men. “There wasn’t a single female in the room,” said Kline, “Unless she was somebody’s daughter or significant other.” It was a pivotal moment for Kline. While other areas of Viacom were already gender-diverse, his technology department was not. He returned from the convention inspired to change this.
Our vice president of product management Kimberly Hicks would soon have an idea that could begin to gradually change this. Hicks attended AT&T’s Girls Who Code summer immersion program graduation in 2014 and was beyond impressed.
“I was blown away,” said Hicks. “Not only by their projects, but with their presence and how empowered they were. I didn’t know any of these girls, but I could tell they were transformed.”
It was no coincidence – Girls Who Code (GWC) is a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech by teaching young girls how to code, principally through partnerships with large corporations, such as AT&T. At the end of the ceremony, Hicks spoke with GWC founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani. “I told her I would make this happen at Viacom.”
Since 2013, CMT has shown an annual spotlight on the remarkable breakthrough female talent on the country music scene with its Next Women of Country roster. Last week, the net released its 2016 list, and the women on it are awesome.
From the female trios of Runaway Jane and Post Monroe to a broad list of signed and unsigned solo artists, CMT is providing a platform through its NextWomen.CMT.com site for fans to check out the creativity, energy and emotive lyrical power pouring out of this group.
While women remain underrepresented in country music as a whole, efforts like this ongoing push by CMT hope to change that by constantly showcasing the outsized talents of this new generation. The net will complement their site with weekly exclusive Next Women of Country LIVE performances on CMT.com.
“We’re so thrilled to introduce this incredibly talented and diverse mix of female artists to the Next Women franchise,” said CMT Senior Vice President of Music Strategy and Talent Leslie Fram. “With the full support of the industry behind us, we continue to see this initiative make a real difference in propelling female artists into the spotlight.”
To see just how good this group is, check out the video previews of each of the 10 artists or groups of artists on the list below. You can follow #CMTNextWomen on Twitter for continual Next Women of Country Updates.
But they don’t excuse anything. For survivors of sexual violence, these words – their stubborn, insistent existence – only exasperates the pain.
“He said he was sorry.”
“It was just a misunderstanding.”
“It only happened once.”
So what can be done? After all, boys will be boys. Right?
“It’s none of my business.”
“This is a women’s issue.”
“Yeah, no, we don’t talk about that.”
“We’re never gonna change it.”
“It’s sad, but, um, we’re never gonna fix it.”
The Joyful Heart Foundation does not believe that we will never fix this. That a culture that excuses rape and sexual assault is normal. That there are any excuses left. That boys will just always be boys, and what boys will be is dismissive, aggressive, willful, and, ultimately, excused.
The organization believes that we have had “Enough.” In a powerful new PSA campaign of the same name, produced in conjunction with Viacom Velocity, the organization commandeers these vile but pervasive words and challenges men to actively transform how we view and talk about sexual assault.
They brought company. Joyful Heart founder Mariska Hargitay, who also stars on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, rallied her costars and many other public figures to stand up against this archaic language: Andre Braugher, Andrew Rannells, Anthony Edwards, Blair Underwood, Chris Meloni, Daniel Dae Kim, Dann Florek, Danny Pino, Dave Navarro, David Marciano, Ice-T, Nick Lachey, Peter Hermann, Raul Esparza and Tate Donovan.
The series of PSAs, which will air across MTV, VH1, TV Land, BET, and Spike, among other Viacom properties, is a bold challenge to men: let’s change how we talk about this, so we can, some day, end it.
They are shows that celebrate drag culture and America’s oldest gay ski week. They mine the early days of hip-hop and toast its ripple effect throughout our culture. They erase our differences by showing that we’re not so different when we’re… naked.
As varied as these shows and their subjects are, they have one thing in common: each one highlights the programming on a Viacom network.
Actually, they have another thing in common: each was honored by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications (NAMIC) last month. For the 30th consecutive year, the organization hosted the Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards (EMMA) to acknowledge the very best in multicultural marketing.
When Cablefax: The Magazine turned its September issue over to acknowledge top minority executives in video and broadband, we were not surprised to see Viacom well represented. Our brands have long prided themselves on diversity, from behind-the-camera talent to programming to our board of directors. Such strong representation on Cablefax’s list is encouraging as we work toward an ever more diverse media and entertainment landscape.
“[The individuals included on these lists] are leaders in all facets of the industry – and what they have to say, which sometimes includes criticisms of cable’s diversity status – are all important pieces of the conversation,” writes the magazine’s editorial director, Amy Maclean.
Cablefax divided their honors up into several categories, and Viacom executives landed on two of them – Leaders and Influentials. A brief overview of each list, along with the names of our honored employees, is below. Viacom congratulates the individuals in each category and thanks them for their vital contributions to our success.
From Cablefax: “Our salute to the industry’s top 100 minority executives”:
MTV’s Elect This campaign is all about letting the voters do the talking. Social justice, national security, healthcare and the economy, climate change, and immigration and refugees are what MTV’s millennial voters are talking about.
The latest campaign, Beyond the Wall, highlights one major issue—immigration rights and reform.
In a final push to stir the conversation and provide a platform for these issues, the network built a massive interactive video installation in New York City’s Herald Square. The 10-foot by 35-foot wall evokes imagery of the Berlin Wall with barbed wire and graffiti emblazoned on its mock-concrete façade.
“What kind of country do you want to live in? One that builds walls or tears them down?” – MTV’s Elect This Campaign. Photo courtesy of MTV.