If you don’t know the name Alberto Marzan, you will in the very near future. A visionary and innovative entrepreneur, Marzan’s latest transformative venture, AfroLife.TV, the world’s first streaming service with content curated for people of color, launches on Thursday, June 14, 2018.
The genesis for this revolutionary platform began innocuously. When Marzan’s family immigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic, they settled in Davie, Florida, where it was not uncommon to see KKK members riding horses down the street. His refuge from the outside world was watching television shows, but he found it confusing when he didn’t see a lot of people who looked like him or others in his family. However, there were a few shows that gave him a feeling of connection—shows like Diff’rent Strokes, The Jeffersons, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Heck, his father had a sweater just like the one that Uncle Phil wore, but what he saw on the screen was a stark contrast to the community in which he lived. However, the theme of seeking connectivity would follow him throughout his professional career.
Marzan founded and led a few media and marketing agencies in Minneapolis-St. Paul, partnering with giants with multicultural desires such as Disney, General Mills, and Honeywell. His tenacity and knack for bringing people together landed him the opportunity to become CEO of the International Children’s Heart Foundation, which not only led him back to the Dominican Republic, but also to directing an initiative to bring life-saving pediatric cardiology centers and physician training to the country. He later founded the Grand Art Group and produced musical events globally featuring world-class performers. These experiences opened his heart and inspired his vision to seek a more global way to bring people of color together – sharing culture, values, and the multiple representations of their lives. He wanted to create a destination where these consumers could call home because people looked like them and the entertainment reflected their beliefs. That destination manifested as AfroLife.TV.
With the overwhelming success of films such as Black Panther, Hidden Figures, and Girls Trip, it’s clear that there is a huge group of consumers hungry to devour such content—and studios and other content providers realize it as well. Sony signed on early to become one of AfroLife’s launch partners and Warner Bros. came with a slate of studio content and a subsidiary, Stage13, which has licensed AfroLife exclusive content.
As CEO and Founder of AfroLife.TV, Marzan emphasizes the scale of the platform, “Through the ecosystem, we’re building a destination for people to connect over content to share experiences globally.”
Marzan sees the on-demand digital space as a blank canvas, with a plethora of opportunities to showcase the diaspora.
Concludes Marzan, “I get energized when I think about the impact our streaming service will have on the African American community and our viewing audience. Our goal is to empower, educate, and entertain our customers while providing another outlet to content creators and studios to sell and license content.”
AfroLife.TV’s launch will include digital streaming of original, classic, popular, emerging, and independent premium content. The premiere screening of one of its original series, The Incredible Life of Darrell, will be debuted at the American Black Film Festival on June 15 at 2 p.m. at the Betsy Hotel.