Read on for a hand picked selection of the good, the bad and the one to watch in the world of social impact communications. This week, we’re highlighting Black History Month, and the campaigns of companies, activists and industries created to celebrate it.
| NAILED IT: The Black Farmer
The Black Farmer (aka Wilfred Emmanuel Jones) is showing companies across the UK how you can celebrate Black History Month and ensure real commitments to lasting change.
The Black Farmer brand launched a number of new Carribean inspired products featuring the faces of black British heroes such as nurse Mary Seacole and pilot Lincoln Orville Lynch. These products will go on sale across all supermarkets except Iceland. The proceeds from these products will be donated to the Black Cultural Archives and the Mary Seacole Trust, with supermarkets donating their profits and promotional space to the campaign.
The Black Farmer, who has been campaigning for increased diversity and representation in the agricultural sector, will also run a TV advertisement depicting Black British heroes, as he pushes for companies to use Black Friday in November as a way to promote black suppliers.
| ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Royal Mail Fail
Royal Mail’s contribution to Black History Month is four black post boxes. That’s one each for the whole of London, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow, out of a total 115,500. Royal Mail says the campaign aims to “celebrate the contributions that black people have made to this country over many generations”.
But a backlash is afoot, with the comedian Munya Chawawa accusing Royal Mail of tokenism in a parody video, and All Black Lives Matter UK arguing that institutions should campaign for practical reform instead.
To put Royal Mail’s efforts into perspective, they painted 110 boxes gold to honour British gold medal winners at the 2012 Olympics. Whoever decided that just four was appropriate to honour and celebrate millions of people has some serious reflecting to do.
| THE ONE TO WATCH: #ShareTheMic to share the space
Black women, including Booker prize winner Bernadine Evaristo and journalist Yomi Adegoke, have taken over the Instagram accounts of high-profile white women, as part of a Black History month campaign aiming to amplify black female voices.
Too often, Black stories are ignored, erased or reduced in mainstream media. Black women, in particular, feel the brunt of this as they feel the dual impact of sexism and racism. The #ShareTheMic campaign, therefore, fights against this by giving voice to the lived experiences of Black women around the world.
Rather than empty gestures (think: black squares on Instagram), #ShareTheMic amplifies the experiences of Black women in the hope of inspiring radical and systemic change whilst simultaneously bridging the gap of understanding.
You can find a list of accounts participating here.