Business development and production firm Posro Media has been dedicated to its mission of portraying positive images of African Americans via more than a dozen multi-media initiatives since being launched by Roland Laird more than two decades ago. Today, the firm is owned & operated as a joint venture between CEO Laird and his wife, Taneshia Nash Laird, who serves as President. It is increasingly integrating outreach and philanthropic endeavors with other innovative partnerships throughout the greater New York region, while its impact is leading the charge as a sought-after example of entrepreneurial minority-driven ingenuity across the nation.
Posro came to prominence in the early 1990s as publisher of comic book “MC Square: A Man with a Serious Game Plan” and comic strip “The Griots.” The company quickly made its mark by syndicating the latter nationwide to Black-owned newspapers. This prompted a profile in The New York Times in 1993, and following the company’s expansion into television, films and book publishing, features in The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Source, Black Enterprise, NBC’s “Sunday Today Show” and MTV.
In 1997, the Lairds co-authored the critically lauded book “Still I Rise: A Cartoon History of African Americans,” (W.W. Norton). Updated in 2008 as “Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans” (Sterling), the groundbreaking tome delivers the history of Black America—from the arrival of the first Africans in America in 1619 through Barack Obama’s groundbreaking presidential campaign—via a 216-page graphic-novel form. The text has been utilized in countless educational curriculums, from middle schools through the university level, in subjects ranging from history and English to sociology.
Among current culturally driven enterprises, Posro is collaborating with other minority-owned businesses to develop outposts that serve both African-American and Latino artists and entertainers. Its most ambitious project is MIST (for “My Image Studios”) Harlem, a $21 million state-of-the-art entertainment center based at the Kalahri Condominiums in Harlem, aimed at being Harlem’s “living room” of culture and entertainment.
Set to open in November 2012, Posro Media CEO Roland Laird serves in the role as CEO of My Image Studios LLC with Taneshia Nash Laird serving as Chief Marketing Officer. MIST Harlem is co-owned by Roland Laird with Carlton Brown and Walter Edwards, principals of real estate developer Full Spectrum of NY. The 20,000 square-foot facility, which comprises a 130-seat restaurant called Harvist, a 162-seat auditorium and two 91-seat theaters, will serve as a forum for live music, spoken word, independent films and comedy from the Black and Latino performers and filmmakers from throughout the world. MIST Harlem also offers post-production film and digital media facilities.
Posro is also developing a number of film projects, both narrative and documentary. The slate includes two documentaries about local African American history. First is “Trenton Six,” about wrongly accused young black men in Trenton, N.J. —the Lairds’ adopted home city—whose case was championed by historic figures of the time period, including Albert Einstein; along with a film about the 1943 Hedgepeth-Williams case, in which two mothers took action against Trenton’s Board of Education as a result of racial discrimination against their children. That was the precursor to—and used as evidence in—the more-renowned landmark 1954 Brown v Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court declared state school segregation laws unconstitutional.
Among other real estate developments, Posro conducted research for an attraction in which Roland provided historical perspective of African American and Latino-American heritage aimed at an diversified media entertainment company’s development of a live stage production, amusement ride, film, books and additional merchandising. Posro is also aligned with a former NBA player aiming to refurbish a historic inner city African American locale and establish a program there for children in need. Likewise, the company is developing a series of sports-oriented television and film concepts based on Black athletes who made their mark on U.S. culture.
In addition to its capital endeavors, Posro is associated with a number of philanthropic causes, including the Ethel Tremaine Robinson Foundation, co-founded by Roland and affiliated with the New York Area chapter of the Inman Page Black Alumni Council of Brown University, whose mission is to promote strategic African-American philanthropy among Brown alums. He is also a Board Member for Passage Theatre Co., which develops and produces boundary-pushing works for a diverse audience. Taneshia serves on the Board of Directors for both The ArtPRIDE New Jersey Foundation, which aims to fortify the arts in New Jersey; and the Henry J. Austin Health Center, providing quality, primary health care services in the Trenton community.
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