Rick: Josiane, congratulations to you personally, as a new DMLA board member. How did you get into the licensing industry?
Josiane: Thank you for the opportunity. I got into the licensing industry pretty much out of frustration. The market, in general, lacked diversity and seemed to reinforce many stereotypes, especially regarding Africa and Afrocentric communities. I am happy to see more discussions around these topics, and it was great to participate in the Authenticity & Diversity in Content roundtable at last fall’s annual conference. The all-woman, diverse group photo after that session was an encouraging highlight for me.
Suzanne Strong, News Project, Fiona Gardner, Adobe, Brittsense, 222 Media, Sarah Foster, Getty Images, Josiane Faubert, PICHA, Sarah Foster, Oodls at From Diversity to Authentic Representation, DMLA 24th Annual Conference.
Rick: Can you tell us a little bit about your PICHA Stock collection?
Josiane: PICHA is a specialized visual content provider. I started the collection focusing on Africa, and we are now expanding it to Afrocentric communities around the world.
We feature really talented up-and-coming artists from Africa and from the diaspora and have licensed our content to major brands like Visa, South Africa Tourism Office and many more. It is encouraging to see our images being used around the world by a range of industries. I often receive messages from contributors who see their images being used and it always feels good.
Rick: Josiane, PICHA Stock was a sponsor at our 24th Annual Digital Media Licensing Conference and you along with Bobby Dicks of CNN, will be the first African-American board members in our 53 year history. Can you talk about that?
Josiane: Wow… I did not think I would ever be classified as “the first African American” to do something in my life. Even in 2020 there are still “firsts” and we all have a role to play to make our society more inclusive. I am glad to be a new member of the DMLA board. DMLA provides excellent tools, best practices, and support to its members, who are also very diverse. I am glad the board is also becoming more diverse.
Rick: What do you see as the most important issues facing the industry today?
Josiane: A cause of concern is always the never-ending issue of pricing that can be defined today as price vs. value, with more and more free content platforms available with good content. It can be very challenging to educate clients and image users around legal aspects of licensing when free content platforms dominate the web. The DMLA’s Senior Counsel Nancy Wolff talked about the limitations of free licenses – lacking indemnity, often without releases – and we need to do more to communicate the benefits of stock agencies in general, as well as to highlight more specialty collections like PICHA Stock and their value to the industry.
Rick: One of the knocks on stock has been the reinforcement of stereotypes. PICHA is working to change that. Please explain.
Josiane: PICHA is working towards two goals… provide a relevant platform for the African market and provide diversity content for markets outside of Africa. We recently hosted a panel at Social Media Week in Lagos, and even there, people discussed diversity issues, representation issues. The rise of social media has allowed people to have a voice, and now we must listen. People want to see better representation in stock. People want to see people they can identify with.
We recently launched a unique collection called Melanin Modern, a free collection put together to fight stereotypes around Black women. Black women are not represented enough in the media. All women in the collection are professional businesswomen, brilliant women, far from the stereotype of the ‘angry black woman’. Just like any other woman, they aspire to be best at what they do.
Rick: The DMLA has three pillars – advocacy, education and community building. As a new board member what are you hoping to see from the DMLA in 2020?
Josiane: DMLA has been doing well in terms of advocacy and education. With the DMLA and ACSIL joining forces, we will need to work more on community building to make sure all members of the licensing community are becoming one.
I would also like to see us address a bit more specifically the challenges faced by specialty libraries and their contribution to the licensing industry.
Rick: I think you belong as our Marketing Chair – can I publicly ask (OK beg) you to volunteer?
Josiane: No need to beg. Love the DMLA mission and am here to help.