Over the past year, there has been a lot of talk about what constitutes real action when it comes to companies taking a stand against systemic bias. Support posts on corporate social media are nice and all, but real change requires opportunities for marginalized voices to be heard and shared. Some mainstream brands are now working to bring more of these stories and talents to light, with help from some of Hollywood’s greatest storytellers.
This spring, Issa Rae and Lena Waithe are teaming up with Lifewtr and Hagen-Dazs, respectively, to support under-represented artists in front of and behind the camera.
Lifewtr andLife Unseen as a way to raise marginalized voices
Last month, bottled water brand Lifewtr launched its Life Unseen initiative, recently described in parent company PepsiCos. Press release as a new platform in the struggle for equitable representation in the arts.
The four components of Life Unseen
Study: Lifewtr, in partnership with the Institute for Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (QSIDE), conducted a study to uncover the biggest representational blind spots in fashion, film, music and the visual arts. The resultant report showed that the most marginalized groups in these areas are women, BIPOCs (Blacks, Aboriginals and people of color), people with disabilities and LGBTQ + citizens.
Collective of artists: Lifewtr has selected 20 artists from the aforementioned under-represented groups to have their work featured on the brand’s bottles available in stores nationwide starting next week.
Competition: Creators in any of the aforementioned demographic categories can share their own concept art for future Lifewtr packaging using the hashtag #LifeUnseenContest from now through July 30. Five winners will have their work featured on Lifewtr bottles, and one winner will receive a Issa Rae mentorship and $ 10,000 to finance their future creations.
Start the video: The Lifewtr launch video highlights five artists from the Life Unseen collective. It was produced in collaboration with Color Creative, a company founded by Rae with Deniese Davis that focuses on creating opportunities for under-represented talent in film, television and digital platforms. “
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Rae described what drew her to Life Unseen during a recent interview at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
I know what it’s like to be in these early stages, and to be like, if someone only sees my work, so just that person who believes you have a platform, then that could be a game-changer. for me, she said. Were trying to create the pipelines. Basically, Lifewtr and I have teamed up to find people, artists and creatives who need this opportunity to see their work.
At the end of March, Hagen-Dazs unveiled his #ThatsDazs countryside in partnership with Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and actress Lena Waithe.
The highlight of the campaign is a $ 1.5 million commitment over the next three years to raise a new generation of creators and creators of diverse taste.
The first donation is $ 100,000 to the Waithes Hillman Grad Productions Mentorship Lab (named after the fictional HBCU from the 1990s sitcom Different world). The Mentoring Lab is a 10-month tuition-free program camaraderie bringing together storytellers from under-represented communities. Hagen-Dazs money will be used for class needs, curriculum development, lessons, and teacher support for the lab.
Waithe, who stars in this month’s new season of the Netflix series Master of None, will also help Hagen-Dazs find new artists and organizations to promote on social media or through a financial commitment.
When big brands talk about wanting to support marginalized designers, investing in those communities is a great place to start. Creating resources for those who want to hone their craft and follow their dreams is a cause close to my heart, Waithe said in the press release announcing the #ThatsDazs campaign.
Both Life Unseen and #ThatsDazs seek to amplify diverse voices in the creative industries by partnering with powerful Hollywood players known to speak out for more opportunities for BIPOC content creators. Waithe and Rae were both signatories for the last few years Hollywood 4 black lives letter, which called for investing in the development, production and distribution of anti-racist content that humanizes and advances nuanced representations of blacks. These corporate partnerships are certainly steps in the right direction – because society has been silent on these marginalized voices for far too long.
Image Credit: Cameron Venti /Unsplash
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