As protests in reaction to the brutality faced by black individuals continue, 56 Black Men and Clear Channel have reignited their effective partnership to amplify a clear message across the UK – ’Let’s Not Forget’.
“This has been a watershed moment surrounding racism and the black community,” contends Cephas Williams, founder of 56 Black Men, in reference to the protests demanding justice for George Floyd who was killed last week (25 May).
“By creating the ‘Let’s Not Forget’ campaign, I am trying to harness some of this rise in consciousness and awareness and use 56 Black Men as a vehicle to further inform people and usher in the much-needed change,“ Williams explains, adding that ’Let’s Not Forget’ is just the start.
The simple but striking campaign serves to remind people of black Americans who have lost their lives unjustly, naming those who did not make it to a hashtag like #JusticeForFloyd has.
Alongside an emotive brand film, 56 Black Men is collaborating for a second time with out-of-home giant Clear Channel, utilizing its network of billboards to bring the message home.
“We have the opportunity, and indeed responsibility, to use our very public medium to talk about difficult subjects – the things people don’t want to get wrong and so often avoid,“ explains Richard Bon, joint managing director at Clear Channel. “By joining forces with 56 Black Men again and amplifying the ‘Let’s Not Forget’ message, we want to play a positive part in the fight against racism and in driving for a more equal world.”
56 Black Men first emerged back in 2018 when Williams endeavored to change the perception of black men through photography. Deconstructing dangerous racial typecasting, the campaign saw 56 black men – including politicians, directors and teachers – pose in hoodies, leveraging the strapline ‘I Am Not My Stereotype’. It worked against the negative portrayal of black men in the media and the stigma attached to them in public.
Clear Channel supported Williams on the campaign by broadcasting the message across OOH sites.
Considering brands that have spoken up and shown solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement this week, Williams has commented in The Drum on the ability of brands to hold global influence on many levels, and the power they have to enact change. ”Now is not the time to be silent, neither is it the time to jump on a bandwagon,” he said.
“It’s a time for real reflection and care with regards to how a brand and its leaders stand by the black community at this time, and move forward with real steps to end racism and injustice globally. Not only on the streets, but in their organisations too.
“Organisations cannot promise that their staff are not racist, but they can promise that they will not tolerate it.”