In the beginning (fall 2009), our mission was to bring diversity to the outdoors industry. Thanks to our flagship TV show, Urban American Outdoors, we were able to prove that African Americans too, enjoy the outdoors. It was the first show of its kind, showcasing outdoor adventures, recreation, conservation, cultural history, food, and youth from an African American perspective owned and produced.
We also had one of the earliest websites presences of outdoor black or white on the internet. There was no one there as we constantly searched online. Every week we would have shows with host Wayne Hubbard, who would take you on adventures to places that had never been seen before on TV. It was refreshing to see a Black man as the lead host and not as a side kick or a guide of some sort. Wayne Hubbard was very knowledgeable of various subjects because he lived the life, talk the talk as well as walk the walk. This was not a hobby or the new trend to jump on. This was passed down from generations to generation before him.
He had family that was Buffalo Soldier, Tuskegee Airman, Olympic medalist and Freedman Indians who walked the Trail of Tears. He has ancestry that is African and Indian so he has been here as first man and first nation. He is an outdoorsman and he has connected many people back to what rings down in their inner being. We jointly encourage people to have a taste of outdoors. With our TV show we have warmed up a market that had never been engaged like that before.
MC Richardson, Chairman of the United Minority Media Association stated at the UMMA Conference speaking on Diversity and Outdoors, “We even challenged the statistics that the Government has on minorities in the outdoors. We believed those numbers to be incorrect, mainly because of the methods of gathering accurate numbers was not a priority and also the belief system that Black People don’t do Outdoors. Everybody loves the dollars and we have been the default easy dollar in many cases. We have been guilty of haphazardly giving our money freely to companies that do not even acknowledge us. Sponsor dollars do not come to us easy even though we contribute heavily everyday to the bottom line. That is not good to continue to move forward like that. If we want to be represented properly in media buys, we have to let sponsors know we will not hock or buy your product unless you treat us with respect and share those dollars.Today in the Outdoors there are a lot of companies that want all people to buy their outdoor gear but when we walk into some of those retail stores, we are not always helped or welcomed and that has to stop. It is essential to change this form of doing business and for people to accept being treated like this. If it is not done now these businesses will eventually go out of business because the emerging markets will not be buying those products. You may get a few but you won’t get the masses.”
Mr. Richardson went on to say, “I have been hearing about diversity as a buzz word since the 80s & 90s. It was preached in meeting after meeting but nothing ever really happened. Most of my white counter points could be hired straight from High school and be promoted to managers after about a year. Most of the Blacks who got hired were college grads, were qualified and worked like work horses and still very few got promoted.”
So when it comes to having a show like Urban American Outdoors it is groundbreaking in making a difference in perception that can rearranged those images that are not something that is normally seen.We are promoting the outdoors for all to enjoy. Fortunately we were able to have good mainstream sponsors, family and friends who supported us and we are still here with optimism that we all can move forward. That is what keeps us going when I see all their faces together enjoying the outdoors.