It is a rare sight in Milwaukee to see a man of color start his own media company, let alone build it into a successful and disruptive business. But Jeff Cannady matched his determination and entrepreneurial skills with emerging technologies to develop one of the first live streaming video services in his hometown.
Originally designed to give the underserved communities in Milwaukee a voice, and access to a broadcast platform not controlled by the local news services, Cannady evolved PWR FWD Media into a leading live streaming video provider. The success has allowed Cannady to train a new generation youth to be videographers. He also sees the creative hub of John Ridley’s Nō Studios as an important pipeline for talent of color and a community resource.
Cannady sat down with the Milwaukee Independent during the city’s first snow storm of the season at Nō Studios, to talk about his influences and interests, and how he went from being overlooked and undervalued to always being in demand and working with Fortune 500 companies.
“So yes, people see me with a camera, but I’m not like the average cameraman. I don’t even like to be called a cameraman. It really is not an insult to me. But deep down I’m offended if someone just thinks of me as cameraman, because I’m a businessman. I’m an entrepreneur. And if anyone just looks at a cameraman, they could easily write me off as some guy in a room with a camera. They won’t see the genius and what I’m doing, or see the disruption. They just see a guy with the camera.” – Jeff Cannady