Those who hate us love to stereotype African-Americans as ignorant, lazy and backward. Well, BET (of all people) has released a new study that puts the lie to these fallacies. According to BET and parent company Viacom, the study “African-Americans Revealed” shows that we’re primarily interested in “family dynamics, tech savvy/adoption, spirituality and education.” Which definitely resonates with me. I probably fall somewhere in and among the Striver, Conscious Sister & Tech-fluential categories below.  I’m super-curious to know where you’d put yourself. Where would you put the First Family? Holla at me in the comments…!

Here’s some coverage of the study with more details. Still I rise, y’all. Still I rise. I hope this deep dive into the actual interests of their target audience leads to some positive changes in BET’s programming away from booty-shaking videos and ancient mediocre sitcoms.


…the study indicates that 93 percent of African Americans log onto the Web through their desktop or laptop computers, whereas 76 percent surf the ‘net and check their e-mail via mobile phone or personal digital assistant (PDA).


Per the report’s classification system, the Strivers are trendspotters and trendsetters in their 20s and 30s who are on their way up the corporate ladder. Strivers account for the largest segment, numbering 7.9 million individuals and making up 36 percent of the BET audience. Conscious Sisters are Gen Xers in their 30s and 40s who are culturally and spiritually aware; one in five BET viewers best align with this category. Tech-Fluentials and Bright Horizons are the youngest, most digitally savvy groups and when taken together, they account for a quarter of BET’s overall viewership.


According to a comprehensive BET survey of the African-American community recently released, African Americans in 2008 accounted for a 10% increase in population from 2008 versus 2000, while African-American buying power increased more than 55% during the same period to $913 billion. By the year 2013 black buying power will reach $1.2 trillion dollars, a 35% increase versus 2008.

The “African Americans Revealed” study of more than 80,000 African-American consumers on multi-media engagement and digital applications, shows African-Americans are very tech savvy, with roughly 31% of African American discretionary spending dollars, or $39 billion, going toward the purchase of computers, cell phones and electronics – a proportionally higher percentage when compared to non-African-Americans.

African Americans:

  • Spend more weekly time online (18 hours) than watching television (15 hours)
  • 93% go online traditionally via their PC’s, while 76% access the web via their cell phones
  • 60% have downloaded music, a TV show, movie or ringtone in the previous month
  • 50% regularly update and access a social networking account

The included segmentation study revealed that African-Americans are not a monolithic group but rather break down into seven distinct groups defined by similar characteristics, including buying power and habits, media consumption, and influences:

  • The Strivers are mostly in their late 20’s to early 40’s and are adventurous, fashionable, social mavens and opinion leaders who have their eyes on climbing the executive ladder
  • Conscious Sisters are selfless women that are spiritually connected and highly conscious of their culture
  • Tech-Fluentials are digitally savvy and travel in globally conscious circles
  • Bright Horizons are young adults in high school and college that are aware of all available technology  and electronic gadgets
  • Inner Circle Elites are working women rich in their cultural, ancestral and spiritual roots
  • Urban Dreamers are young, urban adults who are social magnets and trend setters intent on and focused on living life to the fullest
  • Survivors are a group of risk-taking teen and young adult males who are hustling to keep their existence in check

A 2010 Census study, within “African Americans Revealed,” predicts that the upcoming Census count will find that 42 million African-Americans reside in the U.S., a 13.4% increase from the 2000 Census – a higher growth rate than the projected 9.8% increase for the total U.S. population.

Matthew Barnhill, Senior VP of Corporate Research at BET Networks, says “African Americans Revealed shows us that the black community should never be referred to as one homogeneous population… We hope this report will help organizations better connect with an audience and intimately recognize all of its complexities.”

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