Black folks are everywhere, and it is imperative that major companies recognize the value of Black creators and their stories. It's crucial that they invest in spaces and mediums that prioritize and reflect the worth of Black innovation across the diaspora for the opportunity for more diverse voices to be heard and amplified is now.
At the 2022 Cannes Lions: International Festival of Festivity, EBONY partnered with Bloomberg Equality for an engaging panel discussion called Diverse Creators, Leaders and Owners. The discussion highlighted the significance of uplifting the endeavors and artistry of Black creative entities and how to give them the support they need through intentional visibility as well as through financial backing.
Opening up the panel, J. Ivy, a Grammy-nominated poet and lead writer of Netflix's Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, shared an exciting piece regarding leading with love and connecting with each person's respective creative path.
Bloomberg and EBONY's panel was gracefully moderated by Bloomberg News' Samuel Etienne and boasted a phenomenal line up of speakers that included EBONY March 2022 cover star—the actress and CEO of Pattern Beauty—Tracee Ellis Ross, filmmakers Coodie & Chike, EBONY's very own Editor-in-Chief and SVP of Programming Marielle Bobo and AdCouncil's Chief Equity Officer Elise James-DeCruise.
EBONY's Editor-in-Chief Marielle Bobo illuminated the ways in which EBONY, a rich legacy brand for the Black diaspora, has always been a place that highlighted and educated the masses and its continual purpose in "moving Black forward." She discussed the ways in which the brand is evolving to sustain its promise to the Black community in the digital era. She also spoke of EBONY's continual effort in seeking out and nurturing new Black talent, such as working with artist Brandon Breaux for EBONY's tribute to André Leon Talley after being introduced to his work via Instagram. As a result of the viral cover that he produced for EBONY, the wide media attention has given his platform a large boost in visibility and in partnership growth.
Tracee Ellis Ross spoke of the business model she has adapted with Pattern Beauty and how she has experienced first hand the impact that the creation and inception of a product has on the scope of representation. "For me [representation] is an integral part of who I am and it finds its way into what I do. If I talk specifically about Pattern, just the idea that we are a haircare brand for the curly, coil and tight-textured masses, in and of itself, is part of what changes the narrative and the dynamic and the paradigm of how the beauty industry sees us," said Ellis Ross. She also spoke about alignment with individuals and brands who put representation and inclusion first in their own missions.
Cinematographers Coodie & Chike elucidated on their brand deal with Netflix for their project Jeen-Yuhs and how it was a testament to them knowing their worth and sticking to their convictions.
Chief Equity Officer Elise James DeCruise drove home the merit in companies abiding by principles of diversity, equity and inclusion as they seek out ways to fund creative projects and work with new voices. Through doing so, it creates a precedent of accountability within the creator eco-system that makes the storytelling feel both authentic and holistic.
You can catch the group's pearls of wisdom and more by watching the full panel discussion below: