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Groups together again

Ethnic orgs, NAACP settle differences over net talks

Reps of several ethnic groups officially have kissed and made up with the NAACP, laying to rest concerns that certain orgs could derail current negotiations with network toppers.

The National Latino Media Council, the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition and American Indians in Film and Television — who had all once vocally supported the NAACP’s efforts in ending TV minority shortages — felt slighted last week when NAACP prexy and CEO Kweisi Mfume didn’t mention them at a Gotham press conference announcing NBC’s initiatives.

But all was resolved in time for Tuesday’s talks with Fox, NBC and CBS.

“Once we clarified the misunderstanding, we were able to come to an agreement,” NLMC chair Esteban Torres said in the AFTRA boardroom. “It took the old-fashioned terms of picking up the phone and talking to each other. … It was an omission. It happens, but it won’t happen again.”

One NLMC-backed issue that Mfume neglected to push with NBC prexy Bob Wright in New York was the addition of a VP of labor diversity.

Torres and other groups were also assured that their names would be included on all documents presented to the nets.

Nevertheless, Torres and others, including Asian Pacific American Media Coalition chair Norman Mineta and American Indians in Film and Television chair Sonny Skyhawk, reaffirmed their commitment to Mfume and his efforts. “Our coalition has unanimously agreed to ask Kweisi to continue to lead our discussions with the networks,” Torres said.

In the event that the reunited group does not generate results after a year, “I would step aside and let someone else in to give their different thoughts and ideas,” Mfume said.

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