African-American Youth and Alcohol Advertising
Prevalence and consequences of underage drinking among African-American youth:
- Alcohol is the drug most widely used by African-American youth.1
- Although African-American youth drink less than other youth (according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 20.4% of African Americans between 12 and 20 used alcohol in the 30 days prior to the survey, compared to 29.3% of whites, and 9.9% of African-American youth reported "binge" drinking, compared to 19.8% of whites),2 there is evidence from public health research that, as they age, African Americans suffer more from alcohol-related diseases than other groups in the population.3
- National surveys have found that while frequent heavy drinking among white 18-29 year-old males dropped between 1984 and 1995, rates of heavy drinking and alcohol problems remained high among African Americans in the same age group.4
- Alcohol use contributes to the three leading causes of death among African-American 12 to 20 year-olds: homicide, unintentional injuries (including car crashes), and suicide.5
Exposure of African-American young people to alcohol advertising in 2004:
- Twenty-seven percent of African-American teens ages 12-17 and 21% of African Americans ages 18-20 are among the most frequent magazine readers, versus 18% and 13% of non-African Americans in these age groups.6
- African-American youth exposure to alcohol advertising in national magazines has fallen nearly 20% from 2003 to 2008, however, these youth were still overexposed relative to all youth and to African-American adults.7
- African-American youth saw 32% more alcohol advertising in national magazines than did youth in general in 2008. Compared to the average for all youth, African-American youth saw 22% more advertising for beer and ale, 38% more advertising for distilled spirits, 92% more advertising for "alcopops" such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade, and 9% less advertising for wine brands.8
- In 2008, African-American youth saw more magazine advertising for beer-but not for other alcohol product categories-than did African-American adults.9
- In 2008, just eight brands - including one alcopop and seven distilled spirits – exposed African-American youth to at least twice as much alcohol advertising as all youth.10
- Five magazines generated at least twice as much exposure to African-American youth compared to all youth, and accounted for 20% of all African-American youth exposure to alcohol ads, including Jet, Vibe, Essence, Ebony, and Black Enterprise. Vibe also exposed African-American youth more effectively than African-American adults.11
On the radio:
- In a sample of 255,265 occurrences of advertising airing on local radio stations in 11 Personal People Meter (PPM) and 311,120 occurrences in 43 diary markets in 2009,12 African-American youth heard 26% less alcohol advertising per capita than youth in general, but 32% more advertising for distilled spirits in PPM markets and 53% more in diary markets.13
- Eight brands accounted for more than 57% of African-American youth exposure in PPM markets, and four brands accounted for almost 19% of exposure.14
- Two formats of stations delivered significantly more exposure to African-American youth than all youth in PPM and diary markets: Urban and Urban Adult Contemporary.15
- Nielsen reports that African-American youth ages 12-20 watched 53% more TV than all youth in 2010.16
- Thirty-nine percent of African-American teens ages 12 to 17 are among the most frequent viewers (the top quintile) of cable TV, a fast-growing medium for alcohol advertisers, versus 16% of non-African-American teens.17
- In 2009, there were a total of 179,949 alcohol product advertisements on national broadcast network and cable television, for which advertisers spent a reported $855,945,045.18
- Nineteen brands, accounting for 47% of all African-American youth exposure, generated at least 20% more exposure than to youth in general.19
- Several networks generated the greatest amount of exposure to African-American youth than to youth in general: TV One (453% more), BET (344% more), and SoapNet (299% more).20
Alcohol marketing and the African-American community:
- The marketing of alcohol products in African-American communities has, on occasion, stirred national controversy and met with fierce resistance from African Americans and others. Charges of over-concentration of alcohol billboards in African-American neighborhoods have prompted protests and legislative fights in Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Los Angeles and elsewhere.21
- Battles over the heavy marketing to the African-American community of malt liquor, a stronger-than-average beer, resulted in the banning of one new brand, PowerMaster, in the summer of 1991, and fines against the makers of another, St. Ides Malt Liquor, by the states of New York and Oregon, for advertising practices that allegedly targeted youth and glamorized gang activity.22
- African-American youth culture already abounds with alcohol products and imagery. A content analysis of 1,000 of the most popular songs from 1996 to 1997 found that references to alcohol were more frequent in rap (47% of songs had alcohol references) than other genres such as country-western (13%), top 40 (12%), alternative rock (10%), and heavy metal (4%); and that 48% of these rap songs had product placements or mentions of specific alcohol brand names.23
- Rap music videos analyzed for a study published in 1997 contained the highest percentage of depictions of alcohol use of any music genre appearing on MTV, BET, CMT and VH-1.24
- A recent study of alcohol mentions in rap music found that from 1979 to 1997 such references increased five-fold, with a particular increase in appearances of liquor and champagne brands after 1994. From 1994 to 1997, 71% of the rap songs that mentioned alcohol in this study's sample named a specific alcohol brand.25
Updated June 2006. NSDUH data updated January 2012 (Reference 2).
- J.M. Wallace Jr. et al., "The Epidemiology of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use among Black Youth," Journal of Studies on Alcohol 60 (1999): 800-809.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-41, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4658. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011.
- Mulia N, Ye Y, Greenfield TK, Semore SE. Disparities in alcohol-related problems among white, black, and Hispanic Americans. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2009;33(4):654-662
- R. Caetano and C.L. Clark, "Trends in alcohol consumption patterns among Whites, Blacks and Hispanics: 1984 and 1995," Journal of Studies on Alcohol 59 (1998): 659-668.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2007) [cited 2012 Oct 16]. Available from URL: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars
- Simmons Market Research Bureau Adult Fall 2004 and Teen 2004 National Consumer Surveys.
- Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Exposure of African-American Youth to Alcohol Advertising, 2008 and 2009. Baltimore, MD: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2012, 5.
- Ibid., 5..
- Ibid., 5.
- Ibid., 5.
- Ibid., 5.
- Personal People Meter (PPM) technology uses inaudible codes embedded in radio signals that precisely identify the station and date and time of listening along with demographic information about the survey participant. PPMs are gradually replacing paper diaries, which require the participant to recall and record listening in 15-minute increments. Where paper diaries were distributed twice or four times per year for 12-week surveys, PPMs provide continuous monitoring.
- Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Exposure of African-American Youth to Alcohol Advertising, 2008 and 2009. Baltimore, MD: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2012, 7.
- Ibid., 7.
- Ibid., 7.
- Ibid., 10.
- Ibid., 8.
- Ibid., 9.
- Ibid., 10.
- See e.g., D. Jernigan and P. Wright, eds., Making News, Changing Policy: Using Media Advocacy to Change Alcohol and Tobacco Policy (Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1994); B. Gallegos, Chasing the Frogs and Camels out of Los Angeles: The Movement to Limit Alcohol and Tobacco Billboards: A Case Study (San Rafael, CA: The Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems, 1999).
- See e.g., D. Jernigan and P. Wright, eds., Making News, Changing Policy: Using Media Advocacy to Change Alcohol and Tobacco Policy (Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1994).
- D.F. Roberts et al., Substance Use in Popular Movies and Music (Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1999).
- R.H. DuRant et al., "Tobacco and Alcohol Use Behaviors Portrayed in Music Videos: A Content Analysis," American Journal of Public Health 87, no. 7 (1997): 1131-1135.
- D. Herd, "Changes in the Prevalence of Alcohol Use in Rap Song Lyrics, 1979-1997," Addiction 100 (2005): 1258-69.