fred1

MediaTakeOut's Fred Mwangaguhunga Chats Site's New TV Division, Says It's The Future

Fred Mwangaguhunga’s journey from Wall Street to the web is the perfect all American success story. In 2006 he founded MediaTakeOut.com, which has since become one of the most popular online destinations for Black celebrity gossip and news.

These days, Mwangaguhunga is looking to start another revolution in the name of internet TV. First Date the first of a host of original programming set to air on MTO premieres today. VIBE caught up with the busy entrepreneur to find out what else he has in store and why TV on the web is the future.

First Date will launch the beginning of your web TV career. Talk about the show and what’s in store for your upcoming programming.

First Date is going to be the first of several originally produced programs that we're going to be launching on MediaTakeOut. What we're looking to do by the middle of next year is to offer a new program everyday on MediaTakeOut, so it'll be seven new shows a week. First Date is going to be launching a week from Tuesday [Editor’s note: Tuesday Nov 1] and every Tuesday there'll be a new episode. If you go on Wednesday you'll be able to see the old episode but every Tuesday there'll be a brand new episode. First Date is a really funny dating show where you have one guy choosing between three women, or one woman choosing between three guys, and take them on a series of dates and they try and make a love connection. A lot of times there's humor involved, there’s sexiness involved and of course there's the MediaTakeOut snark involved.

There was a dating show back in the 90s where people would be on a date and little blurbs with witty comments about the date would pop up—

Yeah, we'll definitely going to be using that kind of stuff, of course our ratchetness is going to show up.

Elaborate on some of the original programming that will be on MediaTakeOut.

We’re starting off with reality but we're going to be moving on to scripted stuff as well. We got a documentary that we're working on right now. So there's going to be a lot of different stuff. We're going to be doing hard news stuff as we get closer to the election, but we're looking to produce and have a full broad spectrum of programming and it'll appeal to all the MediaTakeOut readers. We partnered with people over at Fisher Klingenstein. And the people at Fisher Klingenstein—before they started—worked for a company called City Lights, which produced between 70 and 80 shows that made it on to television. They produced Chopped, which was on the Food Network and they produced 70 other programs out there. So we have real TV people that are helping us produce real TV shows. The quality of the shows we are going to be good enough to be on MTV, or VH1 or BET, this isn't just some guy using a computer camera, this is real programming we're looking to produce that’s going to have real actors that we know. It's really just a new concept of truly taking the kind of programming that'll be on TV and moving it on to the web. We've made a significant investment in and our partners have made a significant investment in it to make this real.

And if it does get big enough, do you ever see it coming to actual network TV?

I'm not sure. Part of the issue, and part of the reason why we decided to go on this route is because we look at every study that shows people under 25 and people under 30 are watching most of their television quote on quote programming online, so because of that, I'm not sure if that's the kind of person that we're looking for. The person that likes to go on YouTube and look at videos, that's the person we're looking to get. That's the person that we're targeting and does it make sense to actually have brought it to TV? It might not, we're not closing any of the doors, but I think right now, you always hear people talk about TV is going to move onto the internet. We're looking to be one of the pioneers to actually make that a reality.

What do you think is missing in general in terms of Black programming?

I think there has to be hard news that is really done and meant for Black folks and I think when you listen to a lot of the traditional Black news there's a lot of talking points that people have, that's not really talking about issues Black people are really interested in, so what we're going to be doing is having producing by and meant for Black folks. This is not for advertisers and not to eventually get on MSNBC, we’re really ignoring all of that and just trying to produce content that people will actually want to see. That’s the concept that MediaTakeOut has and that's the concept of everything that we're going to be doing. And I think that it's going to be refreshing for a lot of people to see what that looks like. It might look different than a lot of what's out there. But I also suspect that it's going to resonate with the people a lot more.

When you look at MediaTakeOut’s numbers, it's obvious that it's not just Black people who are going to the site so what do you think it is about the brand that has such a wide appeal even though it's considered “urban?”

I think the authentic Black culture is there. It's the celebrity, the slang, the way of talking, the humor, I think it's attractive, not just to Black folks but to everyone. When you look at the media, why is Black media so prolific? When you look at music, why is Black music so prolific? I think that there is an inherited attractiveness to Black culture in America and across the world and I think that's part of what the success of MediaTakeOut is.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Paras Griffin

Police Conducted Welfare Check On Wendy Williams Over Alleged Poisoning

Police reportedly conducted a wellness check on Wendy Williams at her New Jersey home earlier this year after an anonymous caller claimed the TV personality's husband, Kevin Winter was poisoning her, People reports.

The incident reportedly occurred during Williams' television hiatus in Jan. 2019. According to the police report obtained by People, police arrived at Williams' residence shortly after the call was made. Hunter reportedly answered the door, claiming his wife was recovering from an illness.

Authorities noted that Hunter was "hesitant" to let the police inside the house but eventually did. There, they found Williams in bed with a "blanket covering her from neck to toe." Williams told the cops she was recovering from a broken shoulder.

Williams reportedly "became tearful" when they asked if there was any truth to the poisoning allegation, but she ultimately denied that any wrongdoing was taking place. Police said Hunter "then responded saying something to the effect of there had never been any calls to his house regarding domestic violence."

While the couple might not have received calls to the house, there have been rumors of domestic abuse. Many assumed that was one of many reasons why Williams filed for divorce against Hunter earlier this month. Even so, the Williams maintained that she was leaving on good terms.

"I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs,” he said a recent episode of her self-titled show. "No matter what the outcome is or what the future holds, we are still The Hunter Family and I will continue to work with and fully support my wife in this business and through any and all obstacles she may face living her new life of sobriety, while I also work on mine."

Continue Reading
Parrish Lewis/SHOWTIME

'The Chi' Recap: Ep. 3 Shows The Effects Of Childhoods Being Stolen By Adults

A child can die and still grow up. A child can die from growing up. In The Chi, where humanity is hustled and children face their mortality, childhood is a luxury few are lucky enough to keep let alone enjoy. Adults traffic in stolen youths, trading in childhoods that never belonged to them. Some use them to make their lives easier, others use them to advance their careers, but they all snatch away the childhoods of young black boys and girls in order for them to navigate adulthood better.

On the insidious side, Ronnie’s lawyer Kimberly Hendricks (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) uses Kevin’s youth to both intimidate and discredit the only eye witness to Ronnie’s murder of Coogie Johnson in Season One. She orchestrates this by employing a white man with a purported history of dealing with black youths testifying in court to tell Kevin’s family about the untold dangers that can arise from his testimony against Ronnie in the courthouse. All the while, Hendricks sits nearby surveying the scene of her own making, knowing the preservation of Kevin’s precious youth would be his mothers’ first thoughts when hearing of these “consequences” and force them to not have Kevin testify.

Not too long after that, Hendricks calls into question the validity of the 12-year-old eyewitness account, since she claims the accounts of adults are typically unreliable and Kevin having experienced trauma from shooting Ronnie makes his account even more shaky. Soon after, we find out Hendricks’ motive for using Kevin’s young age to get a murderer out of jail is not based in some warped view of justice, but instead in her desire to advance her own law career by making partner at her law firm.

The Chi drives home the severity of what Hendricks’ actions could do to the future of a child like Kevin. Before Kevin and his family are intimidated by Hendricks’ flunkie in the courthouse, Kevin mentions how some of his knowledge of the criminal justice system comes from long-running TV drama Law & Order. Mere seconds later, a young black boy, who looks no older than Kevin, is escorted in handcuffs by police officers while wearing grey prison garbs. This idea of adults snatching away black boys’ youth through the legal system is an all too common reality in a city such as Chicago, where judges go against local ordinances banning the detention of children under 12 years of age at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Beyond Chicago, adults within the American legal system have had transactional relationships with black youths. Between 2000-2007, judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania received financial compensation from the owners of juvenile detention centers for filling their detention centers with young offenders through excessive sentencing for minor infractions. The ordeal is referred to as the “kids for cash” scandal, a title that could easily be the name of an episode of The Chi.

But, just like in episode two, where Jerrika appeared to sell out of her blackness for the advancement of her career, nothing is ever clearly good or bad in The Chi. In one of the more heartbreaking scenes in the early part of the season, Kevin discovers his classmate Maisha (Genesis Denise Hale) hasn’t been coming to school because she has to watch her siblings while her mother works. Her mother is robbing her daughter of a traditional childhood by having her assume parental roles over her siblings versus focusing on school. As Kevin sits in her living room surrounded by her siblings and their toys, Maisha’s usual calm but condescending demeanor is replaced with irritable fatigue. You can see her face struggle to contort into a smile when joking with Kevin.

Neither Maisha nor Kevin make any mention of Maisha’s father, so it’s safe to assume she lives in a one-parent household, like more than 11 million other American households, according to 2016 Census data. Of those more than 11 million households, more than 80 percent of them are headed by mothers. Those same mothers have to spend upwards of 70 percent of their annual income on child care. Without Maisha sacrificing a piece of her childhood, her siblings may not have one of their own.

When Maisha somberly asks Kevin if she’ll see him tomorrow after school—she’d asked him to bring her each day’s homework—the look in her eyes is one crying out for a connection to her peers’ leisurely, carefree lives. That’s what people see when they look at him: the purity of childhood. It’s the reason why Jake wouldn’t let Kevin be part of his illegal candy resale scheme in episode two. So much of The Chi involves making sure this one black boy doesn’t get swallowed by the streets.

Despondent themes aside, the episode is not without its silver lining. There is a humorous side to children growing up too quickly in The Chi. Papa, Kevin’s best friend and the most mature kid in the show, participates in the school’s candy drive in order to win a flat screen TV for his man cave. But instead of a “man cave,” he calls it a “Papa cave.” Humorous displays of otherwise depressing topics, such as black youths growing up much faster than they should, gives The Chi’s commentary a bit more realism, showing that there’s good in the bad, and vice versa.

Continue Reading
Streeter Lecka

DMX Joins Cast Of Upcoming Film 'Chronicle Of A Serial Killer'

DMX has some major deals lined up. The artist has reportedly signed on to join the cast of an upcoming thriller film, entitled Chronicle of a Serial Killer, according to HotNewHipHop.

The film reportedly follows the story of Henry Brolin, a serial killer who targets women who he thinks will eventually turn out just like his mother. DMX will reportedly portray one of the lead detectives on the case. X joins a cast featuring Tara Reid and Russian Doll's Brendan Sexton.

Steve Stanulis, the film's director said DMX was a "perfect fit" for the role. "When my casting director suggested DMX it immediately resonated with me as a perfect fit," Stanulis said. "I have no doubt he is going bring a different dynamic to the role and I'm excited to have him part of this talented cast. I'm looking forward to working with him and everyone else this summer."

According to previous reports, the new gig is just one of many opportunities that X has in the works. He's also rumored to be working on a several other box office films and a new album.

Chronical of a Serial Killer will reportedly begin filming in New York City in June 2019. It's unclear when it will hit the box office at this time. Stay tuned for more details.

Continue Reading

Top Stories