Blackoutlets Podcast EP5: Caille Millner


From a very early age, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Caille Millner, has been a prolific writer whose primary source of inspiration has been her personal experience at the conflicting intersection of class, race, and gender here in America and abroad.

Growing up in Northern California, Millner consciously recognized the impact of racism and classism on her day-to-day life even as she struggled mightily to form a personal identity that balanced her fierce individuality and disdain for conformity with a pragmatic realization that race indelibly shapes the personal narrative of all Americans.

That tension is apparent even in Millner’s first published article, where, at the age of 16, Millner described in uncompromising detail the subtly pervasive racism and classism at her elite Catholic high school in the Bay Area.  After attending Harvard and becoming an award winning journalist, biographer, and world traveler, Millner wrote an autobiography at the age of 27.  The title of her autobiography, The Golden Road: Notes of My Gentrification, itself confirms Millner’s success at creating a voice that is simultaneously cognizant of the deeply pervasive influence of race while at the same time critical of those who assume that the experience of race is uniform and without space for personal agency.

In that respect, from her current position as a columnist and member of the editorial board for the San Francisco Chronicle,  Millner exemplifies the purpose of the Blackoutlets concept. In episode 5 of the Blackoutlets Podcast  Caille recounts how the profession of writing has changed and the opportunities and challenges associated with said change.

Blackoutlets Podcast EP4: Lincoln Stephens


From the moment one meets Lincoln Stephens it becomes immediately clear that not only is Lincoln a man with a vision for the future, but he is a man who possesses the conviction and faith to transform that vision into reality. A graduate of the University of Missouri and a veteran of the advertising and communication industry, Lincoln has dedicated his career to transforming his vision of a culturally and intellectually diverse advertising industry into a reality. A process that has taken him across the country and into the board rooms of some of the most respected brands in the world, Lincoln’s journey has resulted in the creation of a transformative  non-profit organization known as The Marcus Graham Project.

Co-founded by Lincoln and a group of like minded communication professionals in 2007, the Marcus Graham Project is a multi-functional network that looks to cultivate a new generation of diverse media and marketing leaders through mentoring, education and interdisciplinary training initiatives. Based out of Dallas, Texas and named after the fictional advertising executive played by Eddie Murphy in the 1992 film Boomerang, the Marcus Graham Project looks to not only prepare individuals from diverse backgrounds for success in advertising, but also in a manner similar to Murphy, present advertising as a viable career path to a new generation.

In episode 4 of the Blackoutlets’ Podcast, Lincoln describes his Journey into advertising, his work as an Executive Director and Co-founder of the Marcus Graham Project and he shares how faith, dedication and determination have helped lead him to a career of achievement.

Blackoutlets Podcast EP3: Jessica Simien Interview

jessica headshot

There are those who consume media, those who create media, and those who critique media. Jessica Simien does all of the above. A public relations professional and digital media entrepreneur, Jessica Simien has set out to build a career that is not only reflective of the media landscape but also helps shape the media landscape.

The founder of the self titled entertainment news and lifestyle website, Jessica has turned her passion for pop culture and communication into a platform for audience engagement and creative professional development. A venture that started out as Jessica’s personal pastime, now hosts a staff of young writers and interns each looking to develop their skills as communication professionals. A website which covers a wide range of topics, Jessica pride’s herself on providing content that is reflective of the social, cultural and intellectual diversity of her growing audience.

Now while there is no shortage of entertainment focused websites on the internet, Jessica’s site and her work at large is truly significant in that at the core of her work is a desire to provide access to those who have traditionally not had a voice within the existing media framework. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Jessica has taken the challenges of living in a small media market and used them as motivation to create opportunities where there previously were none. Whether it is through her marketing partnerships with independently owned business or through her Hometown Heroes series which highlights the work of often overlooked advocates for social change, Jessica looks to challenge the perception that communities are beholden to media perceptions but are in fact architects of the media itself.

In the 3rd episode of the Blackoutlets Podcasts  Jessica Simien shares how she has turned a lack of opportunity into what she believes will become an emerging media movement.