Cheryl Grace (Photo provided by Cheryl Grace)

Cheryl Grace is the senior vice president of U.S. strategic community alliances and consumer engagement for Nielsen. In her role, she drives Nielsen’s multicultural thought leadership strategy.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Purdue University and a master’s of business administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management.

The Chicago resident spearheads important conversations on trending diversity issues. Grace is the visionary behind Nielsen’s award-winning African-American consumer report.

We spoke with Grace about African Americans’ cultural influence on content creation and buying power.

Many brands are using celebrity endorsements to connect with multicultural consumers. Why do you think that trend will continue?

For businesses interested in reaching African American consumers it’s really important for them to understand the role that celebrities play in attracting consumers. African American consumers are much more likely to say that they will buy a brand if it is endorsed by a celebrity. That’s something that you see greater in the African American market than you do in the total population market.

Why do you think there has been an uptick in programming targeting Black viewers?

The renaissance that we’ve seen with African Americans in entertainment and in the arts is really because of the new platforms that are available like streaming services and podcasts. Because we have an opportunity for niche content, we’re actually gravitating toward those platforms. So you’ll see an uptick in Netflix usage because they have been unapologetically going after Black audiences. The small screen is now very acceptable for major actors because they recognize they have an opportunity to tell our stories even on those smaller screens. So streaming platforms have really helped elevate the need for [a] diverse content of stories that are about all dimensions of the African American persona.

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