All of us have watched the bouncy-castle known as Ozy deflate and then collapse. But there’s one lesson I hope we don’t take away from this: that Black- and POC-led businesses are unworthy of investment. Ozy was a rogue unicorn in the worst of senses, and also highly funded in ways inconceivable to most diverse media startups.

Maybe Ozy-gate is a blessing. It gives us a chance to take a new look at how and why to invest in diverse media. We are in an era of media innovation focused on serving BIPOC communities. URL Media, for example, is a new for-profit venture from Mitra Kalita, formerly of CNN, and Sara Lomax-Reese, the CEO of WURD radio. Its mission, among other things, is to attract advertising and revenue to local BIPOC-serving media. Their work dovetails with market-driven initiatives to deliver advertising dollars to Black-led media. There are also new, scaleable nonprofit efforts, including Capital B, which is starting its own Black-led and -serving local news network.

Lauren Williams, co-founder of Capital B wrote about the Ozy mess in a timely and brilliant op-ed for the New York Times. She focused on the advertising model for news, and how deep flaws in it made a nonprofit model more sustainable for a Black hard-news publication. Williams states, “Vice Media Group [via SVP Marsha Cooke] found last June that its content about the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter was monetized at a 57 percent lower rate than other news content because of keyword blocking—when advertisers block their ads from appearing on articles that have certain words or phrases” including “black people.” As Williams says, “Try monetizing that as a Black publication.”

Read the full article about BIPOC media by Farai Chideya at Columbia Journalism Review.