Lynne d Johnson



« September 2007 | Diary | November 2007 »

10.25.07 12:41 PM

Diddy - Brand Manager of Ciroc Vodka

I suppose he realized he's not really good at running a record label. For instance, where's the album for his new boy group from his latest "Making The Band?" And let's not even talk about what happened to New Edition's career. He did well with Danity Kane, but we all know others were involved.

After having the number one fragrance, I guess he figured he's got to be good at marketing.

"The multimedia mogul and CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment added another position to his resume today with his announcement to take on all brand-management decisions for Diageo's Ciroc vodka, including marketing, advertising, public relations, product placement and events. The role is "too big for one title," he told Ad Age, but, he added, "I'll be taking the lead on all the things traditionally a CMO or a brand manager would do, just doing them my way. Marketing in a way that is truly unique."
-- Advertising Age
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10.25.07 10:52 AM

Uh oh Google; Microsoft Dips Into Facebook - Value Now $15b

I'm really surprised. Well partially anyway. We're not used to Microsoft winning the bids for Web 2.0 startups. That's Google, eBay, and in some cases Yahoo's turf. But somehow Microsoft is the leader -- and respected by the Facebook folks.

From the AP this morning:

"It's hard to determine what's more surprising about Microsoft Corp.'s investment in Facebook Inc. — the appraisal that valued a 3 1/2-year-old Internet hangout at $15 billion or the rare snub of online search leader Google Inc. The $240 million price Microsoft paid for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook demonstrates just how badly the world's largest software maker wanted to deepen its relationship with a startup that doesn't even have $200 million in annual revenue."
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10.25.07 10:29 AM

What Will Become of Vibe? Len Burnett, Group Publisher Resigns

"The executive exits continue at Vibe Media Group: Len Burnett, vp, group publisher of Vibe, has resigned after three years in the position. Burnett will return to Uptown, a lifestyle magazine targeting affluent black consumers that he co-founded in 2004 with Brett Wright."

Burnett moves on to become co-CEO of Uptown. There are plans for social networking there too.

Now with most of the original heads out at Vibe, all except EIC Danyel Smith, who is on her second editorship and some sales people who either came back to Vibe with Burnett on his second tour, or who were there for a while to begin with, Vibe is basically an all new crew and a slim one at that.

Will the magazine resurrect under new leadership forging a path in a new direction? Or are its days numbered, with titles like GIANT, The Fader, or Complex waiting in the wings to snap up the readership? Perhaps, now, there's even room for something else.

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10.24.07 09:13 PM

Infamous Drug Lord Nicky Barnes Endorses Rudy Giuliani

Video source: Crackspace

Subject of soon-to-be-released movie Mr. Untouchable, infamous harlem drug lord Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, joins Frank Lucas, inspiration for American Gangster via phone to discuss former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's bid for presidency. The conversation was videotaped and appears on HipHop Crack/CrackSpace.

With Mr. Untouchable coming out Oct. 26 and American Gangster coming out Nov. 2, it's a great time (in the marketing sense) to promote a conversation between the two men. But I'm wondering, why of all things would that conversation be about Giuliani's candidacy for president -- and why would two of New York City's biggest gangsters and drug dealers even want to have that conversation? I'm not sure I can even fathom the answer, but at least you can hear it with your own ears.

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10.24.07 08:15 PM

Obama's Gay Bashing Tour; The Jena Six Boys; Tupac Noosed

Topics of interest from around the Web. I don't even think I have to comment on them. I'll just let them speak for self.

But first, today is blogging against genocide day.

The Blogging Against Genocide Day
by African American Political Pundit

"Today the Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition is morphing into the Afrosphere Darfur Action Coalition to Blog Against Genocide, aiming to raise public awareness of this atrocity and applying public pressure to politician"

Obama Should Repudiate and Cancel His Gay Bash Tour, and Do It Now
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

"Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama ripped a page straight from the Bush campaign playbook with his announced upcoming three date barnstorm tour through South Carolina with notorious gay basher, gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. The Grammy winning black gospel singer's last effort on the political scene was his song and shill for Bush's reelection at the Republican National Convention in 2004. Obama has hitched his string to McClurkin's high flying gay bash kite in part out of religious belief (he purports to be somewhat of an evangelical), in bigger part because he's falling further and further behind Hillary Clinton with the black vote in South Carolina and everywhere else, and in the biggest part of all because he hopes that what worked for Bush's reelection will work for him."

The Jena Six Boys Need To Close Their Myspace Pages and Stay Off The Red Carpet
by Stereohyped

"This video, a montage of photos supposedly snatched from the Myspace page of Robert Bailey, Jr. (of Jena Six infamy), is an example of why attention should be paid to the issues involved in the Jena Six case — hate crimes and racism in the criminal justice system — and not the actual boys, who indisputably beat up a classmate in a 6-on-1 brawl. We shouldn’t trot them out to a star-studded award show and let them schmooze on the red carpet, nor should we celebrate them as burgeoning civil rights icons or stars."

Tupac Center For The Arts Vandalized With Noose
by HipHop Crunch

"Rural Georgia police have arrested a vandal and are currently investigating a cycle of racial attacks at the Tupac Center for the Arts, after vandals recently tied a noose around the neck of a Tupac Shakur statue housed in front of the museum."
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10.22.07 08:14 PM

A Study: Soulja Boy and Web Marketing & Distribution, but Don't Forget Radiohead

Ever since I first wrote my post on Black Web 2.0, "Hip-Hop 2.0: Soulja Boy Is A Web 2.0 Wonder," I began to notice a flurry of conversation taking place on the Web about how the artist employed the next generation Web model for digital distribution and digital marketing to launch his career.

A few years ago, 2002 to be exact, I predicted such a future when I spoke on a panel -- "Black Music Technology" -- at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting. The paper I presented, "Hip-Hop's Transformers: Technologies of Production and Distribution in Hip-Hop," was kind of all over the place. I had the technologies and production part down, but the distribution part was a little weak. The only example we had at the time was Chuck D, and it wasn't very successful -- not yet, especially because we hadn't yet heard of "The Long Tail." One of my panel members even told me she didn't see that the Web would be a viable distribution channel any time soon. Perhaps it was just too early to tell.

Clyde Smith at ProHipHop follows up my post at Black Web 2.0 with "Hitwise Called Soulja Boy's Success Back in May." I had been thinking about writing about Soulja Boy for a while now, but it wasn't until I read about the conversation at Web 2.0 that I really got around to doing it. And I still haven't written about it the way I want to. I'm guessing that we'll see some scholarly articles and white papers about this all, from a variety of sources, very soon.

As for Radiohead, Patricia Martin, author of the powerful new book, RenGen: Renaissance Generation: The Rise of the Cultural Consumer and What It Means to Your Business, blogged last week about why the Radiohead experiment is working. She wrote:

"Two weeks into the experiment, the band Radiohead is getting traction with its RenGen pricing stunt. First, the band cracked through the media clutter, earning instant notoriety for its pay-what-you-want pricing model for its latest release. They’ve broken new ground--making passion for their music the new currency. The band is also building a community of fans who feel empowered when they vote with their dollars for the music. Their story has lessons for all of us about how to build a brand in the RenGen:"

More of this lesson, here.

More info on the RenGen:

"This book explores the emergence of a generation on the verge of a second renaissance. Years into the knowledge economy, we no longer live our daily lives in a twilight zone of change. Who we are and what we care about are taking clear shape. There is a powerful player at the center of this transformation -‑ the cultural consumer. These are thinking, expressive individuals with an emerging set of imperatives, behaviors and ambitions that will set the agenda for society."

Business is really changing, and not just the media and entertainment businesses either. The old stalwarts need to wake up from their sleep or the younger, creative, risky business takers are not only going to continue disrupting -- they're going to win the game. I see a bubble on the horizon, but after it bursts, the players in charge of how we consume information and entertainment are going to change dramatically.

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10.20.07 12:52 AM

2008 SXSW Interactive Preliminary Panel List Released


The 2008 SXSW Preliminary List of Programming has been released. Before providing the full list, I would like to thank everyone who voted for "Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers?" This was a panel I proposed, and it made it to the preliminaries.

From SXSW Interactive:

"While the full schedule is not yet ready for release (check back here on November 2), we think that you will enjoy reading through our preliminary list of panel sessions and speakers."

Following, is the full list of sessions picked before the final list is released on Nov. 2:

The Art of Self-Branding (Lea Alcantara)
The Art of Speed (Tim Ferriss)
Behind the Scenes at the Onion News Network (Sean Mills)
Beyond the Blogosphere: How Online Talent is Being Developed Offline (Dianne McGunigle)
Bio-Networks: Using Mobile Technology to Impact Healthstyle (Kate Bauer)
Building Portable Social Networks (Jeremy Keith)
Content Boundaries, a 12-Step Program (Margaret Mason)
Content Management System Roundup (George DeMet)
Design Control in a Digital World: Getting It and Losing It (Khoi Vinh)
Design Eye 2008 (Keith Robinson)
The Elephant Online: Digitally Expanding Information Memory (Joshua Schachter)
Everyone’s A Design Critic (Jason Santa Maria)
Futurists’ Sandbox: Scenarios for Social Technologies in 2025 (Michele Bowman)
Getting Unstuck II: From Desktop to Device (Kelly Goto)
Green Software. Really? (Kim Laama)
Hardware Mashups: Introducing the Long Tail of Gadgets (Peter Semmelhack)
High-Tech Craft: Why Sewing and Knitting Still Matter (Natalie Zee Drieu)
Hollywood and Design and Literature: Just Who is Inspiring Who? (Chris Bernard)
Kill Your Mouse: Kinetic Computing Arrives Main Stage (Lee Shupp)
Life After the i-Phone (Kate Ryan)
Mobile Phones: International Devices of Mystery (Michael Sharon)
Mobileactive: How Mobile Technology Impacts Politics and Vice Versa (Justin Oberman)
Online Identity Crisis (Jason Levitt)
Pimp My Non Profit – Real Non-Profits Kicking Ass with Online Technology (Ed Schipul)
The Porn Police: Know the Rules (Lisa Vandever)
Quit Your Day Job and Vlog (Tim Shey)
The Real Dragon: Behind the Scenes of China’s Web Industry (Tatsuki Tomita)
Respect! (Jeffrey Zeldman)
Scalability Boot Camp (Jakobj Heuser)
Secrets of JavaScript Libraries (John Resig)
Self Replicating Awesomeness: The Marketing of No Marketing (Brian Oberkirch)
Social Design Strategies (Emily Chang)
Social Network Coups: The Users are Revolting! (Annalee Newitz)
Social Networking and Your Brand (Jina Bolton)
Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR! (Dave McClure)
The Suxorz: The Worst Ten Social Media Ad Campaigns of 2007 (Henry Copeland)
Top Ten Lessons Learned in E-Commerce (Tony Hsieh)
Totally Wired Teens: How Teens are Using Your Applications (Anastasia Goodstein)
Web Service APIs Your Mom Will Love (Ben Vinegar)
What Women Need to Succeed (Stephanie Sullivan)
Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers? (Lynne d Johnson)
Wireframing in a Web 2.0 World (Richard Rutter)

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10.19.07 03:00 AM

Forget the iPhone or GPhone, Get a B'Phone

image source geeksugar

I am so playing with that title. Of course I'd want an iPhone or the oft-anticipated GPhone (advertiser supported Google Phone possibly created by HTC rumored to be out by Christmas). But for all of you who can't get enough of B, her B'Day and her Diamonds, you can now have her phone. I think she may have more brand extensions than her man Jay-Z at this point.

I must have been sleeping at the keyboard on this one, because I totally missed it last week. But lots of other folks have reported on it already and have even posted oodles of photos of her unveiling the Samsung produced phone.

Here's what's being said:

LAPTOP Magazine:

"The original Samsung Upstage was innovative but ultimately fell a little flat in the ease-of-use department. But at least it now has a little more zazz, thanks to Beyonce. Samsung today announced the upcoming availability of the Beyonce Special Edition B'Phone, a limited edition handset exclusive to Sprint. As an update to the UpStage, the B'Phone sports a unique burgundy-and-gold color scheme and some other fun extras for fans of the Grammy Award-winning artist."


"Apparently not content to merely hire Beyonce to push the plain ol' UpStage, Sprint and Samsung have collaborated with the entertainment mogul to release the B'Phone, a dolled up version of the two-sided handset. Lucky buyers will be the recipients of a burgundy UpStage trimmed with gold accents -- we'll let you be the judge whether that's hotter than the all-black original -- along with exclusive Beyonce-themed content (naturally) and a rather fancy set of packaging materials. Aspiring Beyonces of tomorrow should be able to pick it up November 4 online and in Wal-Marts (yes, Wal-Marts) across the land."


"Need a burgundy and gold Samsung Upstage to match your lovingly dyed landing strip? You’d better get down to Sprint on November 4 because they’re launching a special edition Beyonce Upstage with a sexy start-up screen, exclusive pix and vidz, and a song sung by the ‘yonce when she was 10."


"When the phone boots, a special Beyonce-styled start-up screen will display. We're not sure if this is a picture of Beyonce herself, or some screen that Beyonce has chosen. Also, there are special pictures of Beyonce. Then, you get a song that Beyonce recorded when she was 10 years old. Seriously, 10 years old. Oh, and the phone says "Beyonce" across the top, in case you missed it. "


"What's unique about this phone is the fact that it includes a digital power amp, making the sound quality quite impressive for such a small phone. Other great features include a quick PC sync to easily create playlists, a 1.3-megapixel camera and bluetooth technology."

A question though: Will dressing up this phone with Beyonce content make it a better phone? Anyone whoever reviewed the model prior to the makeover all said it sucked. What are the odds of Beyonce fans purchasing this phone? Is her brand that ubiquitous?

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10.17.07 09:53 PM

Universal Music Group to Release USB Singles & Takes on iTunes

From USB core:

"Universal Music is planning to release singles on USB memory sticks, as part of a strategy to stem falling music sales. The first USB releases will include singles from piano rock band Keane and Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole. The USB singles will be available from 29 October, priced at around £4.99, significantly more than a typical £2.99 CD single. However USB provides extra storage capacity, and fans will gain videos and other multimedia with the higher priced format. Universal is testing the USB format market in the UK, prior to the planned release of USB albums. Back To Black by Amy Winehouse, and Kanye West’s Graduation should be available on USB before the end of the year. "

Sorry to be so skeptical, but I'm not sure this will work. What's missing from this story is whether the content can be copied from the USB to a mobile device or your computer. What might work though, is:

From The Independent:

"The major music companies have been crying out for more competition and some of the largest music companies in the world – Universal, Warner Music and Sony BMG – have moved to support new services from the likes of Microsoft and Nokia with an all-you-can-eat subscription deal called "Total Music" that is expected to go live in 2008.

It is early days with the music majors still thrashing out details of the new service and refusing to comment on their plans. It is likely that the device manufacturers will subsidise the service – which will be embedded in a portable music player – for a set period to attract new consumers who could be offered unlimited downloads for free. Reports suggest the cost of subscribing could be set at $5 (£2.46) a month."

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10.17.07 03:42 PM

XXL Social Network Coming Soon...

XXL to launch hip-hop social network in the coming month. Can they pull it off? Go read my post about it at Black Web 2.0 and add your two cents.

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10.04.07 01:53 PM

I'm Preordering American Gangster from iTunes. Are You?


I just love iTunes marketing. On Tuesday, I received my weekly New Music Tuesdays newsletters, and it had Jay-Z's name first in the subject. So of course I read it. That's my halfway admitting that I usually delete these suckers. Anyway, my interest was keen on this one, because I knew American Gangster was coming soon, but I didn't expect this soon.

Well it isn't this soon, actually. It's just a pre-order announcement. I was torn about clicking on my 1-Click authorization for the preorder, well, because Jay-Z has been disappointing lately. And anyone who has been a true fan of Jay-Z since before the Blueprint knows what that means. With that said though, I'm rooting for him. I'm rooting that what he's been inspired by from the upcoming movie will move him to bring his true skill back to the game.

There's a part of me that feels like: "Dude, get over it..stop rapping." It's just fun to you, it's not real. But by all accounts of recent reports, he's serious this time. I really hope he is. Last night, as part of VH1's week-long of hip-hop programming in honor of VH1 Hip Hop Honors, Classic Albums: Jay-Z Reasonable Doubt was on. As I watched it, I remembered the very things that made me love Jay-Z as a dope MC in the first place. The way he flipped metaphors, the way he controlled his breath, and let the music lead him to muse, the pain, the agony, the emotion -- all of those things, I remembered. This was long before he learned the formula -- the 16 bars and the hook, or at least before he considered he needed the recipe to sell albums. Back in the days when he just wanted to tell a story.

I know they say the first album is always hard to beat. The first album is usually the story you've been waiting your entire life to tell -- so you've had a lot of practice and there's a lot of material to pull from. Perhaps, American Gangster can incite Sean Carter to remember how to simply let it flow.

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10.03.07 06:28 PM

So Did You Hear the One About Bill O'Reilly and Sylvia's of Harlem


"The controversy surrounding Bill O'Reilly's visit to an African-American-owned restaurant in Harlem probably hasn't been a lot of fun for the Fox News host, but it hasn't been a problem for Sylvia's owner, Kenneth Woods."

Read more from

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10.03.07 03:05 PM

Imeem Gets Sony Into Bed -- Without any Panties

I didn't think this would ever happen -- that Sony would even play nice. But it has. From Forbes today:

"Sony BMG Music Entertainment has agreed to make its music available to online social media network, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Representatives for imeem and Sony (nyse: SNE - news - people ) BMG declined to comment Wednesday.

Meanwhile, representatives for Vivendi's Universal Music Group and EMI Group confirmed Wednesday that they are holding talks with imeem for possible content partnerships."

First Warner and now Sony, and Independents are lining up. I mean this social network, nor many like it, could be ignored. As many of you know, I'm a fan, and nowadays when you search for any track on Google nowadays, either imeem,, or some blog come up top of the list -- even before the record label's site for the artist or recording. That's a problem with SEO on one end, but it's also another problem, though I know many of the labels are trying to build their own social networks around artists lately -- have you seen Soulja Boy Tellem?

I think old media has to learn to accept the long tail, especially the recording industry. The industry as a whole is always so resistant to each new media technology, and then eventually ends up caving in. The truth is, the industry itself will not innovate with new technologies and new methods of distribution -- so it needs to join forces with services like imeem -- and not fight them. Put down your copyright badge for one second, and recognize that the more promotion and distribution channels that exist, the more ways for people to learn about your artists and their music.

The independents definitely get it. Just check out that latest promotion for Peanut Butter Wolf.


This is the kind of thing that labels used to do with media sites like or They used to call them listening sessions, and they were basically promotions for the artist's album. Sure, it would be a one-day feature on the day of album release or a week leading up to the release, but eventually labels stopped doing that, because they wanted to charge each site for using any copyrighted materials. Wrong move. I so hope this partnership means that labels are beginning to understand the businesses of promotion and distribution on the Web a lot more.

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10.02.07 01:58 PM

Does Hip-Hop Hate Women? A Community Dialogue

Here's another event taking place on VH1 Hip-Hop Honors Weekend. And don't forget about the weekend's events happening at powerhouse arena in Brooklyn (including the "A Tribe Called Quest" Panel that I'm on on Saturday).


Rap Sessions in New York Hosted by Black Girls Rock, Inc.

Host: Beverley Bond of Black Girls Rock
Date: Friday, October 5, 2007
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Museum of the City of New York
Street: 1220 Fifth Avenue
City/Town: New York, NY

Community Dialogue on Hip Hop: A panel of intellectuals and activists hosted by Beverly Bond of Black Girls Rock! Inc. discusses the hip-hop generation's gender crisis.

Hosted by Beverly Bond of Black Girls Rock! Inc., and moderated by Bakari Kitwana of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, this discussion of the gender crisis facing the hip-hop generation features intellectuals and
activists including Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University and author of New Black Man; Joan Morgan, author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist (Simon & Schuster, 1999); M-1, aka Mutulu
Olugabala, rapper and activist; Dream Hampton, journalist, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Vanderbilt University and author of Pimps Up, Hoes Down and radio personality Ed Lover .

Presented by Black Girls Rock! in conjunction with VH1 Hip Hop Honors Weekend.

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