THE BRONX — A Bronx-based production company is launching a new online television channel called The Blox that aims to celebrate the culture and community of the borough.
Marco Shalma, founder of the production company Round Seven, said he is frustrated by how many people still have a negative perception of his borough, and he hopes to use programming on The Blox to counter this image of it.
"We always say we've got to blow up the Internet with some good, positive content about what’s really happening," Shalma said.
The company has already started releasing videos on its YouTube channel, which contains several episodes of a program called "Bloxpedia." The show aims to define various important people, places and things in the borough, such as Yankee Stadium, the Piccirilli Brothers and Arthur Avenue.
The YouTube channel currently serves as the home base of The Blox, but Round Seven is building a standalone website for The Blox as well.
The Blox is planning to air multiple shows in addition to "Bloxpedia," and Round Seven co-founder Gillian Todd said she anticipates having most of them ready to launch at the end of January or beginning of February.
They include a talk show on arts and culture called "Stylin' Out" hosted by Bronx fashion designer Jerome LaMaar, a show called "Bronx Born" that will chronicle entrepreneur Henry Obispo's effort to open a juice bar in The Bronx, and a show on low budget, quality cooking called "Rice and Dreams."
LaMaar echoed Shalma's concern that many people still have an inaccurate impression of the borough, and he intends to use "Stylin' Out" as a platform to combat this.
"I hope that it kind of opens the eyes to the world of what is really happening in The Bronx and how cool things are," he said.
Obispo, whose restaurant is set to open sometime in the spring, said he hopes people watching "Bronx Born" identify with what he is trying to do and gain a greater appreciation for the importance of eating healthy foods.
"I hope that they get that health is something that they can actually reach," he said, "that even though there aren’t many places around, that there is a place that they can go."
The Blox also aims to boost the borough by letting people know that "making it" does not necessarily mean they have to leave, something Todd hopes it will accomplish by highlighting positive things happening in the borough and by using The Blox as a chance to help young filmmakers or hosts find their voices.