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raceAhead: Meredith Buys Time Inc., Coco Trounces the Box Office, A Victory for HBCUs

Welcome back!

Some of us are starting the post-Thanksgiving work week with a bit of a bang.

Last night, Time Inc., the publisher of Fortune, Time, Essence, Sports Illustrated, People, and more, completed a deal to sell itself to Meredith, the Iowa-based publisher of Better Homes and Garden, Family Circle, Martha Stewart Living, and Allrecipes, among others.

“When combined, the Meredith and Time brands will have a readership of 135 million people and paid circulation of nearly 60 million,” says Fortune. “The deal also will expand Meredith‘s reach with internet-savvy millennials, creating a digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the United States and more than 10 billion annual video views.”

The news is significant, with massive implications for the magazine category and the media business in general. “The merger will allow for sizable cost saving synergies between the two [companies]. It also reflects the need for scale in digital media, where publishers have had to fight the giants—Facebook and Google—for advertising dollars,” says Time Inc.’s content chief Alan Murray in today’s CEO Daily.

The $1.8 billion cash deal was backed by the private equity arm of the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, which raised more than a few eyebrows, at least initially.

While yesterday’s announcement said that the Kochs will have no seats on the board, or a say in editorial or management going forward, it’s still unclear which of Time Inc.’s many brands will make the actual or symbolic transition to Des Moines, Meredith’s stomping grounds.

To riff on Alan’s similar statement, I have no doubt that our new owners will be quick to recognize the unmatched value that raceAhead offers.

So until further notice, let’s keep on doing the work.

On Point

Mixed race television star to marry retired British military officerShe may never be called Princess Meghan, but Meghan Markle, a star of the legal drama Suits, has thrilled her fans with her new engagement to Prince Harry. The courtship has not been without incident. First, royal traditionalists have sniffed that Markle is unacceptable on two unassailable counts, she is both an American and divorced. But last year, Markle was subjected to online racist attacks so disturbing that Prince Harry’s press office had to issue a statement. The pair have persisted and seem well-suited. In addition to being a real ally, Harry has been influential in philanthropy and mental health, and Markle is also known for her work on issues of global gender equality and against slavery. Cheers to all.People

Coco was number one at the box office, gracias very mucho
The animated Pixar film earned more than $71 million domestically over the five-day holiday weekend, which edged out “Justice League” for number one. The film is set in Mexico and follows the story of Miguel, who undertakes an emotional musical quest through the underworld on Día de los Muertos. Moviemakers took extra care to make the themes culturally authentic and it showed, with rave reviews online and in exit interviews. The Latinx-themed film is the fourth-highest-grossing Thanksgiving haul in history, behind “Frozen,” “Moana,” and “Toy Story 3.” De nada.
New York Times

Decision: Maryland must properly invest in its HBCUs
Attorney Michael D. Jones has won a landmark case on behalf of Maryland’s HBCUs. Since 2009, Jones has been leading a team working on a case that alleges that Maryland had “maintained a vestige of the era of racial segregation by duplicating the HBCUs’ academic programs at traditionally majority white schools,” thereby diverting students away from Maryland’s HBCUs. Earlier this month, the court sided with the plaintiffs. Click through for the remedy and all the legal twists and turns, as well as a Q&A with a jubilant Jones. “[T]he state was vehement about how harmful the remedy was going to be, and I said to the judge, you should remember the state was equally opposed to the Brown v. Board of Education decision,” he says. “I predicted to the court that years down the road, the state will ultimately come to embrace this when they see themselves with HBCUs that are the envy of the nation.”
National Law Journal

There’s a new game in town and everyone can play
I’d spent much too much time studying the Kaepernick drama to notice that an entirely new phenomenon, the Global Mixed Gender Basketball (GMGB) League, was making a splash in sport. First, rap mogul Percy “Master P” Miller signed on as president. Then WNBA star Lisa Leslie signed on to coach Miller’s own team, the New Orleans Gators. The first GMGB exhibition game was September 23 in Las Vegas and they’ve been on the boards ever since. Essence has the backstory.
Essence

The Woke Leader

The first memorial to victims of lynching and racial terror set to open
The memorial, developed by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), will be in Montgomery, Al., and will open on April 26, 2018. In addition to the memorial, a new facility, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, will open on the same date, just a few blocks away. The museum will explore “slavery, lynching, segregation, and mass incarceration in America on a site where enslaved people were once warehoused,” explains the announcement. It’s all part of EJI’s broader mission to promote truth and reconciliation though an honest understanding of the country’s complex legacy of slavery and segregation. Click through to learn more about the plans and to reserve tickets. 
EJI

Some advice from Joy Reid: Say yes if you can
MSNBC anchor Joy Reid is one of those “overnight sensations” who has been doing the work for a long, long time. This short as-told-to run down of her productivity tips offer a great insight into how she leverages technology to keep up with a fast-moving world. She relies on alerts to keep her on top of developments, and she writes her show all in one go — no notes or outline. And her best habit keeps her open to new things. “I try to say yes, which drives my team a little bit crazy because I tend to say yes maybe a little too much.”
Fast Company

A comic about civilization
Artist Liana Finck cleverly overlays comic book style elements over photos of classic sculpture, painting, and objects to ask poignant questions about history, power, and humanity. Quirky and strange, her work is a terrific reminder that there are so many ways to offer commentary in the modern world, even if the punchline packs a real emotional wallop.
Catapult

Quote

Now, equality means that President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, whose country I recently visited as part of my learning mission with UN Women, it means that he is equal to the little girl in the Gihembe refugee camp who is dreaming about being a president one day. Equality means that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is equal to the young intern at the UN who is dreaming about shaking his hand. It means that a wife, it means that a wife is equal to her husband; a sister to her brother. Not better, not worse – they are equal.
—Meghan Markle