As October heralds the start of Black History Month in the UK, The Drum takes a look at how brands are celebrating the Black British community in what has been a historic and troubling year.
2020 has been a decisive year for the Black community. After protests took place around the world following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of US law enforcement, people and brands alike are looking with fresh eyes at the systemic issue of racial inequality.
Black History Month UK is an annual event that celebrates the contribution made by the generations of those of African and Caribbean descent living in the UK, who have helped shape Britain's national and cultural life. And, as a month that celebrates Black history, 2020 is certainly one for the history books.
To kick off Black History Month UK, The Drum has pulled together the various initiatives and commitments brands are making this momentous year, which will be updated throughout the month.
See below how brands are celebrating this year:
The Black Farmer: 'Celebrating Black History'
To mark Black History Month, The Black Farmer is challenging the underrepresentation of Black people in the food industry, and its role in perpetuating negative stereotypes, such as in the case of Uncle Ben's rice.
The cross-supermarket campaign aims to raise £100,000 for the Mary Seacole Trust and the Black Cultural Archives, and has seen Tesco, Sainsbury's, Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose, Budgen’s, Ocado and Morrisons commit to in-store promotional space and a share of the profits.
: 'Celebrating Black History'
Instagram has partnered with some of the UK’s most iconic black voices to kick start a month of conversation on the platform.
Throughout October, influential Black British people will spotlight someone via IGTV on Instagram who has inspired them, shaped the black British experience, or who they feel deserves recognition. Alongside Top Boy actor Ashley Walters who fronts the campaign, other notable people driving the campaign include the author of BRIT(ish), Afua Hirschcomedian, Dane Baptiste, the award-winning author, Yomi Adegoke and fashion designer Walé Adeyemi.
Research done by social app Bumble shows that more than 3 in 4 Black people in the UK (79%) think there is a lack of relatable images and stories about dating as a Black person in the UK.
Together with Metallic, and leading British artists, actors, athletes, entrepreneurs and activists, Bumble is working to better document Black Love. #MyLoveIsBlackLove aims to better represent the breadth of Black Love in a real and uniquely British way.
eThroughout the month of October, more than 30 Black British voices will share real, unscripted reflections on what love means to them.
ITV: 'It's All About'
Black culture is brought brightly into focus on ITV as viewers will see brand new on-air trails along with channel idents marking and celebrating Black History Month.
The creative work will complement newly commissioned programmes and content showing across ITV channels and platforms throughout October. The campaign draws on the rich contribution of Black individuals to British life and culture across a wide range of areas from literature, history and science to music, food and fashion to deliver a visually vibrant, upbeat and thought-provoking palette.
: 'It’s All About'
Gap: 'Black History Month Collection'
Meanwhile, Gap has linked up with four up-and-coming Black artists from across the globe to release a collection of collaborative and emotive T-shirts.
Featuring creatives from the UK, France and the US (Mario Hounkanrin, Melissa Hurst, Lo Williams and Stephennie Factor) each unique design represents what Black history means to them from their life experiences.
: 'Black History Month Collection'
Royal Mail: 'Royal Mail Black Postboxes'
Royal Mail has unveiled four special-edition black postboxes around the UK to mark the beginning of this year’s Black History Month.
The social media-activated postboxes are painted black, with a striking gold trim, and each features a figure of significance to the British black community, who has also appeared on a Special Stamp. Those featured include: Sir Lenny Henry CBE; Yinka Shonibare CBE RA; John Barnes, Nicola Adams and Marianne Jean-Baptiste
: 'Black Postboxes'
Depop: 'Black on Depop'
Celebrates the limitless creativity and culture of the Black community, 'Black on Depop' profiles three individuals who are both sellers and buyers on its platform. Within the video, they speak about the visibility of Black culture on Depop and their individual identities as Black creatives, and how that is expressed through style.
: 'Black on Depop'
Ogilvy Roots UK: 'The People Behind the Label'
Ogilvy Roots has partnered with other WPP Roots networks including GTB, and GroupM on 'The People Behind the Label' - a campaign designed for Black Pound Day to mark Black History Month.
The campaign, which was created pro bono by the agencies, aims to point people in the direction of the Black Pound Day directory, where they can discover Black businesses to shop and to also amplify the Black-owned businesses featured in the campaign.
: 'The People Behind the Label'
To mark Black History Month, TikTok has unveiled #myroots, an in-app and out-of-home brand campaign that tells the stories of TikTok creators and artists as they celebrate their Afro-Caribbean heritage.
The campaign will feature singer and songwriter Cat Burns (@catburnss), football freestyler Jeremy Lynch (@jeremylynchofficial), personality and queer Creator Lily Rose (@itslilyrose), actor Michael Dapaah (@michaeldapaah_) and Bedford-based comedian Sherice Banton (@shericebanton).
Creative: TikTok Creative Lab EU
Director: Caleb Femi
Photographer: Aiden Harmitt Williams
Music: MARL of Carly & MARL
Artist: Linnet Rubaya
Post-Production: Unit Studios
: 'Black History is Now'
To mark Black History Month and its continued commitment to giving diverse voices a platform in the UK, Spotify is shining a spotlight on the Black artists and talent who have made a difference in a very challenging 2020. This includes Headie One whose hotly anticipated new album ‘EDNA’ launched in the UK last week, as well as OFB, Arlo Parks and Young T and Bugsy, who will all feature within Spotify’s Black History Is Now hub, as well as in a nationwide campaign.
Black History Is Now will continue to support emerging, aspiring and leading Black talent, with billboards across the UK featuring a whole host of Black artists who have made waves in 2020, many releasing new music in October.
In an unprecedented year, listeners in the UK have increasingly visited the Black History is Now hub to show their support for the Black community, to educate themselves and to be inspired. This includes a 237% rise in streams of music and podcasts visits to the hub on Black Out Tuesday.
In addition to new music content, listeners can expect updated podcast collections and content. Spotify Original podcast Who We Be TALKS - the official podcast partner to the UK’s biggestHip-Hop, Afrobeats, Dancehall and R&B playlist, which celebrates Black music and culture - will record four dedicated Black History Month episodes.
This list will be updated throughout Black History Month.