We just plopped a photo of MTV's VP of Public Affairs, Jason Rzepka, into a proposal I'm presenting on Thursday. It's a big proposal, I hope we get it. And we listed Jason as a core member of the team that will work on the partnership because of Jason's passion, innovation and innate ability to channel Millennial force. In other words, we "dog-and-ponied" Jason! And then I sit here reading the pitch deck, staring at Jason's bio, and think about what Jason's actually doing at MTV. He's propelling a legacy. He is using the power of MTV for good. I work here because I fucking believe in this place. In the power of a new generation -- not even my generation -- that's inherited MTV and is entitled to speak through it as their own. Jason's someone who helps make that happen with stuff like this: MTV's good deed of the week: Affecting new spots tackle sexting, condoms, and abuse by Jennifer Armstrong Is it just me, or is MTV building up quite the karmic surplus as of late? Sure, they’ve been testing this good-and-true programming track for about six months now, and, thank goodness, it must be working — the sweet-hearted Buried Life is shooting a second season, 16 and Pregnant will be back in the fall to continue the world’s most effective ongoing ad for condom use, and Teen Mom is currently in its second (and ever-more-arresting) season of de-glamorizing young motherhood. Now come the similar-in-spirit public service ads that paint a painfully sympathetic portrait of modern girlhood, with Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Jessica Stroup (90210), and Rosario Dawson reading eloquent monologues from Eve Ensler’s bestseller I am an Emotional Creature: the Secret Life of Girls Around the World: Without even a hint of preaching, the spots address sexting, “asking the question” (the question being, “Can you please use a condom?”), and the disturbingly ambivalent reaction many teen girls had to Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna. The campaign echoes themes found in the network’s equally excellent It’s Your (Sex) Life and A Thin Line PSAs — nobody makes contraception cool and digital abuse uncool like MTV. It’s all almost enough to make up for The Jersey Shore and The Real World — which also, once upon a time, kids, used to have quite the social conscience itself.
Our new, multi-year pro-social campaign, A THIN LINE, launched today, in partnership with Facebook, MySpace, The Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Anti-Defamation League and more. Our goal is to empower youth to stop the spread of digital abuse in the form of "sexting," cyberbullying and digital dating abuse. A new study conducted by MTV and Associated Press uncovered these staggering figures: - 50% of 14-24 Year Olds Have Experienced Digital Abuse - 3 in 10 Have Sent or Received Nude ‘Sext’ Messages - 61% who have “sexted” report being pressured to do so at least once - 29% have shared naked images of themselves with someone they only knew online - Targets of digital abuse are almost 3x as likely to contemplate suicide - Targets of digital abuse are 3x more likely to consider dropping out of school - Only 1 in 4 believe that their digital actions could have legal consequences Watch these powerful new PSA's we're premiering today... My friend and colleague, Jason Rzepka, said today: "They're dealing with a reality that no generation before them has ever encountered -- being connected 24/7, all week long, across myriad digital platforms. It's part of being a young person from now on. There's no roadmap. And so far, a true code of ethics hasn't emerged. We're going to partner with young people to be a resource, connect them to help when they need it, open up a conversation, and hopefully help figure it out. We want every member of our audience to be empowered to draw their own line." My boss, MTV General Manager Stephen Friedman, said it well: "Our audience lives online, and while every generation deals with their own set of abuse issues, the digital sphere exponentially increases opportunities for misuse. There is a very thin line between private and public, this moment and forever, love and abuse, and words and wounds. A Thin Line is built to empower our audience to draw their own line between digital use and digital abuse." Please join me in supporting this critical new effort.
A few months ago, Brett Ratner came to the office and, among other things, asked what we were going to do about this kid Darius Weems. Darius suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) -- the leading genetic killer of young people worldwide, which took his brother's life at age 19. When he was just 16, Darius traveled across the country to raise awaress and funding for DMD, and he made a documentary about his quest to pimp his wheelchair on MTV. So far, he's raised nearly $2 million for DMD research. Last Sunday, on his 20th birthday, MTV helped Darius reach millions more by broadcasting his award-winning documentary "Darius Goes West." Here's Darius with my colleague and friend, Jason Rzepka, talking about the documentary on CNN: Learn more about this amazing kid here. Follow Darius on twitter. Scientists say they're getting closer to a cure for DMD. Want to bring us closer? TEXT the word "spin" to the number 90999 and donate $5. It's easy, and it will make you feel better than reading a blog.
Props to Courtney Holt for setting up this incredible show last night at the Blender Theater, as MySpace Music hosted Jay-Z. David Saslow, Jason Rzepka, Tuma Basa, Richard Kang and others watched what was supposed to be Hova's 45 minute set. Instead, it became a warm up for Jay's 9/11 concert. As Jay put it, "There's a lotta love in this room. I'm gonna do another hour. What can I say, I'm greedy." And that's why he's the king. So here's some more from the one and only... Then Jay-Z destroyed us with...