Honoring Black History Month and Beyond: A Campaign Roundup

PRSA Pittsburgh’s D&I Committee has compiled a list of national and local brands that have expressed their commitment to dismantling racism and advocating for justice. 

by Taylor Fife
D&I Chair

In the summer of 2020, resounding calls for action to dismantle racism prompted brands to take a stand – not only declaring that “Black Lives Matter,” but acknowledging that racism exists and examining the role they’ve played in perpetuating it. 

Brands were called out and held accountable for racially-biased hiring practices, institutional policies, and decades of culturally insensitive and offensive marketing and advertising that causes harm to Black people. 

In turn, we saw a remarkable moment in our history where thousands of brands began to commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, efforts publicly.

The PRSA Pittsburgh D&I Committee recognizes the following brands working to provide sustainable and concrete action:

Ulta Beauty’s MUSE 

Ulta Beauty’s MUSE Black History Month campaign stood out to me because it showed its commitment to magnify, uplift, support, and empower Black voices in beauty. 

As part of this campaign, Ulta showcased Black leaders in the beauty industry — including Nancy Twine, founder and CEO of Briogeo Hair Care, and Cara Sabin, CEO of SheaMoisture — through 30-second videos on Instagram.

These videos were brief but inspiring and impactful, covering essential topics such as representation in the beauty community while bringing to light the issue of hair discrimination (which is still legal in 43 states!). I also like that MUSE was written, directed, and produced by a diverse group of creators — further echoing Ulta’s commitment to D&I.

— Bre Zboran

Hulu’s Celebrate Black Stories

“Do not make your dreams small” is one of the many powerful quotes from Hulu’s Celebrate Black Stories ad that will stay with you long after the ad ends. This campaign aims to highlight the range of Black stories viewers can watch year-round through the streaming platform’s Black Stories hub. My top picks from the hub include Atlanta, Family Matters, Little Fires Everywhere, Sister, Sister, and more.

— Megha Pai

Ben & Jerry’s Black History Month Campaigns and Initiatives

Ben & Jerry’s remained firm in its core beliefs during Black History Month, standing up for anti-racism as a brand—even if the company is based on ice cream.

The ice cream company continually posted about anti-racism, promoting “Who We Are”— a podcast promoting Black voices, its partnership with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and more. In a post on Instagram, the company published a photo set detailing how “There Are Two Americas.” The images highlighted how experiences differ between white people versus people of color to honor Black History Month. The post also detailed each episode of the podcast mentioned above. 

On Feb. 3, Ben & Jerry’s highlighted Colin Kaepernick’s nonprofit, Know Your Rights. The company’s press release revealed a mural that honors him and his dedication to fighting police brutality and systemic racism. Kaepernick also partnered with the company and launched “Change the Whirled,” a vegan, non-dairy ice cream. All of the proceeds are going to his nonprofit.

In a Feb. 12 press release, Ben & Jerry’s wrote “6 Facts about Racial Justice that Will Change the Way You Think about America,” focusing on how the power structure based on race was created in this country and is further perpetuated in modern times. This was also the company’s response to the BLM protests from this past summer.

Overall, the company is fully dedicated to reaffirming its anti-racism beliefs and anti-blackness through its continual push to uplift Black voices and causes affecting them.

— Alex Grubbs

Best Buy & Popsockets Partnership

“I love Best Buy’s Black History Month partnership with Popsockets. The project aims to bring Black teenagers’ designs to store shelves through a mentorship program with Popsockets’ graphic designers. The partnership positively impacts young, Black creatives and lets them know that their art and voices matter. It also helps them feel empowered and celebrates young artists while underscoring the critical need for opportunity and change in an industry where only 3% of designers are Black.”

— Taylor Fife

Plum Borough School District’s Celebrating Student Voices and App Campaigns

“Plum Borough School District has a couple of projects going on that I created for Black History Month. The first project is a four-week app campaign celebrating and educating our community about historical Black figures, milestones, and where we are now. The second project is a video for social media that captures student projects from each school district building.”

— Charlene Payne 

KABOOM!’s Black History Month Campaigns and Initiatives 

KABOOM! is a national nonprofit that works with communities to end playspace inequity and builds unique play spaces for that community. Playgrounds are a racial justice issue: Due to disinvestment in Black and brown neighborhoods, children don’t always have access to a playground where they can feel safe, so they miss out on the benefits of play. One survey states that public playgrounds play an essential role in fostering inclusiveness and play equity. For Black History Month, KABOOM! spoke about racial justice and helped bring attention to some of the young leaders who make a difference in their communities, such as Jakhil Jackson. At eight years old, he founded the nonprofit Project I Am, which helps homeless people by offering them “Blessing Bags” filled with items like socks, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, and more.

In February, KABOOM! announced Lysa Ratliff’s appointment, the first Black woman to lead the organization as CEO, where she will continue to fight for racial equity across playgrounds.

— Kariann Mano

The Rainforest Action Network’s Black History Month Campaign

 

“The Rainforest Action Network featured one not-so-well-known civil rights leader every week during February on their social channels. They shared their image, quotes from them, and some background information about these leaders in their posts. They focused on Bayard Rustin, an openly gay civil rights leader who was one advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963; Gloria Richardson, a leader of the civil rights movement in Cambridge, Maryland; Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer who has saved dozens of people of color from the death penalty and is working to end mass incarceration. He is also the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.; and Fannie Lou Hamer, who never backed down from exercising her right to vote (even though she had been threatened, harassed, and shot at), and was a community organizer, women’s and voting rights activist, and civil rights leader.”  

— Kariann Mano

The PRSA Pittsburgh D&I Committee also encourages members to explore additional Black History Month campaigns and initiatives.

Communications and PR professionals of all identities and seniority levels are encouraged to inquire about joining our Diversity & Inclusion Committee at info@prsa-pgh.org.

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