Photographer and founder of 56 Black Men, Cephas Williams, and Mind in Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow have teamed up with out-of-home media owner Clear Channel to promote a message of hope for the future from young Black boys in the community.
One year on from the murder of George Floyd, the eight boys who participated in the campaign have written an open letter to the future detailing the world they hope to see when they grow up.
Inspired by Letters to Zion, the collection of letters forms ‘The World I Want to See’, which features alongside portraits of the boys themselves in the OOH campaign.
The letters were drafted through a series of workshops co-facilitated by Williams and professionals from HFEH Mind. They involved Williams opening up about his own journey of growing up as a Black man in London, with input from HEFH Mind to link Williams’s story to key themes around mental health and wellbeing.
The participating boys then wrote letters to their older selves; imagining the world they would like to see and what would need to be done to realize it. Through writing, it was hoped the boys could explore and process their feelings, particularly drawing on the impact of the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd last year.
Williams previously created the series 56 Black Men – a series of portraits that challenged the lazy and dangerous stereotypes associated with ‘the Black man’ and the negative connotations and stigma attached to the cliche image of a Black man wearing a hoody. For ‘The World I Want to See’, Williams similarly photographed the participating boys in his trademark close-up style.
Clear Channel will be helping amplify this creative across their network of outdoor advertising space as part of their ongoing partnership with Cephas Williams.
Speaking on the necessity of the campaign, Williams says: “It’s great to see an organization like Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind taking the conversation regarding people in the Black community seriously.
“After all the commitments that companies made last year, and the visibility of the Black community, it is evident that we are a long way from where we need to be, and that we need to focus now more than ever on the emotional wellbeing and mental resilience of people within the Black community and the unresolved trauma many of us have faced for years.”
HFEH Mind is creating a toolkit in consultation with the Black boys who took part in the workshop and the charity’s service user co-production group. The toolkit will draw inspiration from ‘The World I Want To See’ and better equip schools to address racism and support those affected.
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