AdAge shared an alarming report that Black creators have been finding fewer brand partnerships this year for Black History Month. In light of this discovery, Mofilm’s very own CEO Michelle Vincent took a moment to share the implications of such shortcomings and why Black voices matter not just during this celebratory month, but every day in between.
Despite many brands claiming they “talk the talk” in their DEI efforts, there remains a failure to follow through with commitments to authentic diverse representation in their communications and media efforts. As cited in a recent AdAge article, Black creators have been finding fewer brand partnerships for Black History Month, with a disturbing drop to nearly zero this year. The implications of this are alarming. When Black creators are not the ones telling their own stories, it ignores the history of the Black community revolutionizing storytelling to be not only authentic, but measurably impactful.
For decades Black characters and stories were often portrayed through a non-Black lens, which has too often resulted in stereotypical and sometimes offensive portrayals. I faced this truth first-hand when our US West Coast team at Mofilm had the privilege of visiting the Academy Museum in Los Angeles this past fall, where we spent time immersing ourselves in an exhibit called “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971.”
Throughout the floor, visitors explored the rich history of Black participation in American cinema, from its humble beginnings in vaudeville to its transformation into a vehicle for change in the civil rights movement. Every emotion was raised in that experience. I felt humbled by the stories of the unfettered resilience of Black talent in the earliest days, while at the same time, I was heartbroken by the pain and humiliation so many had to endure in order to pave the way for us today.
This exhibit is but one example, reminding us that Black creators have been changing the creative landscape and innovating for centuries. Their contributions have and continue to bring new perspectives and voices to the industry, allowing for a broader and more diverse range of stories to be told with a greater understanding of different cultures and experiences.
Black media representation has not only helped to challenge harmful stereotypes, but it has also allowed for greater understanding and empathy among audiences of all backgrounds as we have seen with our own projects for brands like Target and Crown Royal. And this type of representation in branded content does not go unnoticed. When brands reflect actual steps in diversity and representation, younger generations are the first to notice.
Today it is more important than ever to lean in — and not make it the first cut from marketing budgets during times of cost savings — or we may risk reversing the incredibly important act and impact of including diverse faces around all sides of the camera.
As a Black woman whose career journey led me to work and grow at some of the world’s largest tech companies and to where I am today as CEO at Mofilm, Black History Month holds a special significance for me. It serves as a reminder of the many trailblazers and leaders, past and present, who have paved the way for progress and change.
When we honor the legacy of those who came before us, let us also remember that the work is not done. We must continue to strive for a brighter future for generations to come. Because when we come together to share more diverse voices with each other, we create a space that is as diverse as the world we live in.
Photo above come from our project with Target on their Black Beyond Measure campaign.Back