2021 Power Issue Cover.jpeg
  • Que Jackson

Cirilo Manego Influences Culture with his Media Platform "Black With No Chaser"

Cirilo Manego is a cultural visionary. As our culture experienced its trials and triumphs, Cirilo spotted a need for positive images, positive stories and unapologetic people leading him to create the media platform Black With No Chaser. Cirilo shared his experiences with us.

Who is Cirilo Manego?

Simply put, a human . . . a conscious Black human, who cares deeply about the advancement of Black people and communities. I’m someone who fully appreciates the fact that Black people cannot be free until we are all free. I foster a community wherever I go. In part, I think it’s because I have a certain fervor for life. (Shhhhhhh, don’t tell anybody, but deep down, I’m a lover.) I’m someone that does not believe in taking “no” for an answer. My mother instilled in me that so long as there is breath in my body, it is a chance to get better.

On a professional note, I’m a partner and Chief Innovation Officer of Black With No Chaser. In the role, I’m responsible for strategic partnerships and ensuring that Black With No Chaser is connecting dots among the various verticals it has set forth for itself. I’m also the brainchild of BWNC’s hit show titled The Black Lunch Break, which airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm EST on Black With No Chaser’s Facebook Live. Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, I’m thankful for growing up in a city so rich in culture. The kitchen was central in my parents’ household. Just like back home, I’ve kept that tradition going. Food is culture. I guess that’s why I love it so much.

One thing I’m most proud of is being an uncle to more nieces and nephews than I can count on both hands. I would be remiss if I did not mention Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. My alma mater and the #1 HBCU on the planet. That being said, I’m just a brother on a quest to continue to be my ancestors’ wildest dreams.

What inspired you to create this media platform?

Liberation inspired Black With No Chaser in addition to a chance to tell our stories that were unencumbered by outside forces. But to keep it real, we see ourselves as more than just a media platform. We see it as a safe haven for all forms of Blackness. Media was the insertion point but not the endpoint. But before I give too much tea on our next moves, I would say subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated.

When did you know the time was near for you to start BWNC?

Not sure the exact moment, but it had to be right around the time our CEO CJ Lawrence, ESQ came up with one of Time’s 2014 hashtags of the year: #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. The hashtag went viral throughout the world. It was a chance for Black people, in particular Black men, to confront the negative imagery being used when one of us was gunned down by police. To this day, it’s amazing to see that the content that stemmed from it is still being taught in classes around the world.

What Inspired the name?

Let me first start off by saying, we all feel it. The “it” I’m referring to is the feeling you get d