Byron Allen speaks on ‘the truths’ of Black America in inspiring TheGrio Awards speech

The Allen Media Group CEO spoke to the importance of representation in his speech at the annual awards ceremony earlier this year.

Last month, “Byron Allen presents theGrio Awards” returned to Los Angeles, bringing together the best and brightest of Black Hollywood for a one-of-a-kind event.

Every year, theGrio Awards honors icons, leaders and legends who have impacted the Black community and culture. The 2023 honorees included industry titans like Eddie Murphy, Mariah Carey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. At the start of the show, Allen Media Group founder, chairman and CEO Byron Allen took the stage to deliver an inspirational speech, reminding those at the ceremony and at home of the importance of representation, preserving Black history and the power of America.

Allen Media Group is the parent company of theGrio.

Mariah Carey, Don Cheadle, Misty Copeland, Dr. Kizzmekia S Corbett-Helaire, Tamron Hall, Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Eddie Murphy, Al Sharpton and Denzel Washington, TheGrio Awards, TheGrio Awards 2023,
Byron Allen attends the 2nd Annual theGrio Awards at The Beverly Hilton on October 21, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for theGrio)

Allen kicked off his speech by congratulating all of the honorees for making “all of our lives” much better, before recalling a conversation he had with Coretta Scott King.

“‘Byron, our greatest weapon is the truth. If we bring the truth, we will always win,'” Allen said the late wife of Martin Luther King Jr. once told him.

“So tonight, let’s talk about the truth. The truth is Black America is under attack. At this time, 44 states are debating which Black history to teach in schools. There’s only one Black history that should be taught: the truth,” Allen added.

“Unfortunately, we have seen this before,” Allen continued. “You erase the truth so you can repeat the atrocities again. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to building one of the world’s biggest media companies, simply because we must tell our own stories, keep control of the narrative and our images. Representation matters. When we see positive images of ourselves, it lifts our spirits. You cannot be what you cannot see.”

Allen went on to detail multiple “truths” in regards to America today, stating clearly that slavery “did not benefit” Black people and that the greatest trade deficit in America is the one “between white corporate America and Black America.”

“America, you are killing black America in the classroom by making sure we do not get a proper education,” he continued. “You’re killing us in the courtroom by making sure we do not have equal justice, you’re killing us in the boardroom by making sure that we do not get real economic inclusion, and you’re killing us in the hospital room by making sure that we do not have proper health care. And you’re doing all of this long before you kill us in the streets.”

Allen concluded his speech by speaking directly to Black America.

“We need you,” he declared. “Your contributions make us stronger to create the positive change we all need and deserve. Your voice must be heard. With you, we can achieve one America, and when we achieve one America, we will achieve one race. The human race.

“And never forget what Harriet Tubman taught us: ‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world.’ We will see you at the top.”

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