NAACP Derrick Johnson discusses upcoming work, importance of Black journalists

The following is a transcript of the video shown below

Loading the player...

Natasha S. Alford, Vice President of Digital Content and a Senior Correspondent at theGrio, meets NAACP President Derrick Johnson on the red carpet of the “A Seat At the Table” D.C. Gala.

Natasha S. Alford [00:00:07] Hey, Grio Fam! We’re on the red carpet of ‘A Seat At the Table.’ It’s a beautiful night. And we’re joined by the president of the distinguished NAACP, Derrick Johnson. Thank you so much for being with us. Why did you come out tonight?

Derrick Johnson [00:00:19] Well, I think it’s important for us to not only enjoy the press, but also come and celebrate our accomplishment as a community. I think Byron Allen, April Ryan, you all have done an amazing job with building the brand, growing the brand. So I just want to come out and enjoy this moment.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson names the NAACP’s recent endeavors (credit: theGrio)

Alford [00:00:34] You know, the power of Black journalists, we have to highlight that. And the NAACP knows that leading the civil rights movement. We were right there with the activists covering what was happening. What do you want to see Black journalists covering today?

Johnson [00:00:47] I think it’s important for us to get more local stories, but also grow with technology. There’s so many stories (that are) untold with young people who are doing amazing work in local communities that are undertold. So it’s that opportunity for us to amplify what’s possible and highlight these strong young people.

Alford [00:01:04] Yes. Now, before I let you go party, president, I gotta ask you a question about the NAACP. What are you all bringing to the table that nobody else is doing right now? Shout yourself out. What’s going on with the NAACP that we need to know about?

Johnson [00:01:15] We are preparing now for the 2024 election. We think it’s important for us not to wait 30 days out. We’re going to have a mentally driven program. Last year, we granted out two groups, over $6 million to turn out to vote. So we’re going to be building that up. Secondly, we are launching a venture capital fund next year, a $250 million raise to ensure that we have money into the space for Black fund managers, many of whom are excellent in what they do but are unable to raise over $30-50 million. So we’re trying to give a boost. Thirdly, we have the partnership with CBS Studios. We’ve already sold seven content products. We’re looking to sell some more product. So very soon we hope to have some things on the air that we have produced as NAACP. And then finally, making sure people know the value of their vote, particularly those individuals who have student loans. Over 450,000 people had their loans completely wiped out because of the advocacy work we’ve done, particularly under the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program. So we have a lot of more work to do, but we are proud of the work that we are doing and have done.

Natasha S. Alford and President Derrick Johnson speak before the big celebration (credit: thGrio)

Alford [00:02:17] It is incredible work. It sounds like the NAACP is ready for the future. Thank you for joining us. President Johnson, great to have you.

TheGrio is now on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!