Alongside broadcast superstars Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro, Black Hollywood Live’s President of Programming, Derrial Christon, is ushering in a new era of modern media and messaging.

 

Q: In today’s modern world, what do you think people seek from media?

I think media’s purpose is to provide society with direction on how to shape their lives and interact with one another. Media, whether it’s the internet, television, print, or radio, influences how we think, what we wear, what we listen too, how we live our lives, what we fear and so on. We live in a world where information is key for continuous advancement and media provides that growth.

Q: Are there gaps between what people seek and what most media is currently offering?

I don’t necessarily think there are gaps. I think there are media outlets out there for everything that people want and need. If anything, I think media is over saturated. One of the biggest challenges is filtering through all of the outlets and narrowing down your search to obtain the specific information you are searching for at the time.

Q: How did Black Hollywood Live [BHL] get its start?

I was hosting for Afterbuzz TV which was started by Maria Menounos from Extra! and her partner Keven Undergaro. I set up a meeting with Keven to discuss career and business advice. During that meeting, Keven and I spoke about the increasing demand for intelligent African American online talk, news, and entertainment.

Our AfterBuzz analytics heavily supported this notion yet there was no online broadcast network that was meeting the demand. Between Maria Menounos’ 15 years of experience in both hard news and entertainment news, Keven’s TV producing experience and digital broadcast success with AfterBuzz and what he saw in my talents as a host and producer, Kev felt strongly we had all the assets to be the first to create one. As an African American who has worked in the entertainment and the digital space for many years, I understood the importance of the demand and wanted to help execute the vision with Keven and Maria.

I knew the pressure of building an entire broadcast network, let alone one that’s the first of its kind, was going to be enormous. To be pioneers, as I feel we are, translates to tremendous pressure and stress. However, I also understood the greater responsibility I would have to my race and culture. It’s my duty to help provide a new outlet for our community and the world at large. With that comes a new world of opportunities.

Shortly after our meeting, we created Black Hollywood Live and I was named Executive Producer. We began with two shows and have since built a roster that includes over 20 shows covering news, intelligent commentary and inside information on entertainment, pop culture, politics and lifestyle and features in depth interviews with celebrities, experts and influencers of all kinds. Black Hollywood Live just celebrated its first year anniversary and that makes me very proud. Due to our tremendous growth, I’ve been named President of Programming and I truly feel we are on the way to making history.

Q: Why is BHL an important outlet in today’s times?

I do not feel that a lot of the current media images offered to society paint African Americans in the most positive light. BHL is important because it represents the “opinions” and “voices” that are a part of the African American community in a positive and intelligent format. I wanted to build a media outlet that showcased what African Americans are: intelligent, savvy, trendsetters, influencers and leaders. Our programming is designed to entertain, educate, inspire and empower our audience.

Q: How does your career as an Executive Producer honor your innermost passions?

I love hearing people’s stories, learning from people, entertainment news and maintaining creativity in my life. My role as Executive Producer and President of Programming for Black Hollywood Live allows me to combine all of those things I love into one space. Black Hollywood Lives’ programming features information from hosts, producers, actors, business and entertainment executives, musicians, directors and icons that come from all realms of the world. My satisfaction comes from being able to deliver that information to our audience.

Q: Who are some of your mentors and what do you learn from their example?

I have been lucky to have had some really great mentors in my life. These people include Keith Clinkscales who is CEO of Diddy’s Revolt TV, Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro. I started working with Clinkscales as an intern at VIBE Magazine in New York. At the time, he was one of the youngest African American top executives in entertainment. That was a substantial time for me, because Keith took me under his wing to teach me about the publishing business overall. He then and now continues to encourage me to push myself and set goals to make my dreams continue to happen.

Maria and Keven have become family and they both are two of the most hardworking, sincere and smartest people that you will ever meet in this business. I am still trying to figure out when they sleep. Maria continues to teach me techniques to become a better host. She is the best at what she does, and I learn just by watching her. Keven inspires me every day with his vision and passion for the business. He challenges me to be a better leader and is teaching me how to continue to grow a successful network.

– Alexander CAMPBELL