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.
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 JessicaSimien.com, 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, JessicaSimien.com 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.
Film maker, producer, entrepreneur and television network executive, Maurice James has held many titles over his career. But for all of his different roles, there is one that embodies Maurice best, storyteller. Whether behind the camera or on the ground floor of numerous emerging media ventures, Maurice has spent much of his life dedicated to finding the stories that need to be told and bringing them to audiences around the world.
A native of Jackson Mississippi, Maurice’s journey in media creation has been reflective of the independent approach he brings to every facet of his life. A graduate of both Columbia University and The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Maurice has used early experiences working for some of the entertainment industry’s largest studios as a platform to create his own independent production company, mojo pictures. With credits that range from awards shows and theatrical productions to the critically acclaimed documentary Tropicália, Maurice now finds himself working on one of his most daring projects, launching an independent black owned television network known as Soul Of The South.
A guest of the Blackoutlets podcast series, listen to Maurice explain how his passion for storytelling has shaped his career and how he looks to reshape the media industry.
For some it takes years of trial and error to find their passion in life. For writer and media professional Desa Larkin-Boutté, it only took her one elementary school class project at age 8 to know that writing for television was her passion. Building on what began as a childhood dream, Desa has gone on to develop her skills not only as a writer but also as someone well versed in the various production functions necessary for creating large-scale media projects.
A graduate of the Boston University’s College of Communication, Desa’s career has been far from typical. While many aspiring television writers look to book the first flight straight to Hollywood, Desa’s journey out west was less direct. Desa was determined to explore and gain her writing experience in less traditional locations such as Boston, Madrid and Atlanta before finally settling in Los Angeles, CA. With credits that include such popular shows as The Walking Dead, and Single Ladies, as well as a host of independent projects, the uniqueness of Desa’s experiences has translated into an equally diverse resume.
The very first guest of the Blackoutlets Podcast, Desa sits down with us to share her passion for writing, her journey into the entertainment industry and her thoughts on the challenges facing aspiring content creators from diverse backgrounds