You’ll be able to name it Rodney Reynolds’ subsequent act. After founding and working American Legacy Journal for 16 years, the seasoned entrepreneur is trying to leverage and develop the quarterly Black historical past and tradition publication’s mental property to construct a multimedia content material and cell expertise firm.
The result’s American Legacy Community Corp., a multimedia firm consisting of the American Legacy Community streaming service; ALXMOBILE, an experiential cell advertising and marketing enterprise; and ALN Productions, a movie and tv programming producer. And although American Legacy Journal ceased manufacturing in 2012 when the print publishing trade upended, its DNA and mission to rejoice and advance Black historical past and tradition proceed by way of content material produced by way of Reynolds’ new enterprise.
When American Legacy Journal was compelled to shutter, Reynolds was at a crossroads. “I had to consider how I might keep in enterprise. What was I going to do? I’m a print man,” he recollects. The Cleveland native and the College of Cincinnati-educated Reynolds is steeped in print publishing starting in 1980 at a general-purpose publication for Black males, Spectrum Journal. He additionally contributed to publications similar to New Visions and Renaissance Journal, which emphasised Black historical past. He additionally developed In the present day’s Black Father, which centered on points going through Black households and served as writer and editor for Minority Enterprise, a quarterly publication.
Reynolds appeared for methods to leverage his expertise to create content material outdoors print publishing. So, he met with a enterprise marketing consultant who took his group by way of some workout routines to look at the corporate’s enterprise mannequin and the way to rework it right into a digital-forward enterprise. “And that’s once we got here up with a Black historical past streaming service,” he says. The corporate additionally developed the American Legacy’s “Know Your Historical past” board recreation, which ultimately offered greater than 10,000 copies. That helped gasoline the concept that the corporate might live on with out a print product by growing content material for different platforms.
Among the many unique programming on the American Legacy Community streaming platform is “The American Legacy Problem.” Hosted by Brandi Harvey, daughter of comic and tv host Steve Harvey, the present was impressed by Black Historical past trivia-like occasions American Legacy Journal hosted years in the past. Highschool college students are quizzed within the present on occasions and outstanding individuals in African American historical past. “I’m actually excited concerning the recreation present,” says Reynolds. “We have been initially working with the Black Information Channel to have it distributed there, however we determined to syndicate it. We’re engaged on the syndication a part of it now.”
ALXMOBILE, the corporate’s cell experiential unit, makes use of branded experiences to interact and work together with customers on a extra one-to-one foundation. The enterprise lately accomplished the Black Hockey Historical past Museum Tour, a 27-market tour for the Nationwide Hockey League in the USA and Canada, celebrating over 200 years of Black achievement within the sport. The tour options immersive shows with info and photographs celebrating the contributions of Black hockey gamers – previous and current – to the game. “That tour and partnership with the NHL have grown tremendously. It’s growing much more for 2023, and the funds has doubled,” says Reynolds.
Earlier this yr, ALXMOBILE launched a cell expertise sponsored by Toyota celebrating Black American Pioneers of the West & the Invoice Pickett Invitational Rodeo. In June 2022, ALXMOBILE launched a tour celebrating the life and legacy of Madam C.J. Walker and the brand new MADAM haircare product sponsored by Sundial/Unilever. “A number of main entities have sponsored a few of the Black history-oriented excursions that we’ve finished. We’re constructing that space of our enterprise now.”
Reynolds is trying to construct a multi-generational enterprise and has enlisted his kids to supervise points of it. ALN Productions, which creates short-form movies in partnership with producers of tv, movie, and documentary tasks, is headed by Reynold’s two sons. “One of many first issues they did was have a look at the intensive archives of American Legacy Journal in order that we might make the most of that as the idea of potential tasks,” he explains.
The following step for Reynolds and American Legacy is constructing out the streaming product whereas persevering with to develop ALXMOBILE and the manufacturing enterprise. However that may require funding capital – one thing that’s too usually onerous to return by for entrepreneurs of coloration. “We’re elevating capital now, mainly spherical considered one of this explicit providing,” he says. “And we’re trying to elevate $9 million over three years. However the first portion we’re engaged on now.”
Regardless of heading into his 42nd yr within the media enterprise, Reynolds says he’s not even near contemplating retirement. “I’m extra invigorated and excited now with a few of the stuff we’re doing as a result of we have now pivoted. I like what we’re doing within the cell experiential enterprise,” he attests. “There’s no person else on the market doing the sorts of stuff that we’re doing and telling the tales that we’re telling.”