From The Message… on race, representation and the need to do better

We debated if we should say anything about what has been happening this week in the United states and, to a lesser degree, in Canada.

Not because we don’t feel strongly, but because we were unsure if we could say anything meaningful at a noisy timesomething beyond hollow platitudes from two white men.

But we also said when we launched The Message that we wanted to be a platform for change. A place to talk about issues like equality, diversity and representation, and how the industry can be better. Has to be better.

And while we are a media outlet for a specific industry, the long-overdue discussion happening across society right now should have unique resonance within this community.

At its core, the job is still simply to sell more stuff. We know that. But it’s also one that depends on an understanding of the human experience. At its best, it’s an industry that not only reflects culture, but has some power to help change it.

It’s easy to say we are against racism, to create a few ads about equality. But are we—as employers, employees, managers, clients, colleagues, co-workers—against systemic racism? That question raises other difficult questions that need to be asked if the industry is to be a positive force to address some of the deep-seated problems brought to the surface in the last week.

Fundamentally, that starts with representation. By our count we’ve only done four pieces on race and representation within the industry since launch. We have to be better.

We’re re-sharing those pieces here. They feature people calling for change from within. They’re the type of voice we need to hear from more often.

Dear Canadian advertising: There’s a difference between inclusion and tokenism
Enough talk about diversity and equality—it’s time for action, says Gavin Barrett. Read his column here.

Celebrating talent and fighting invisibility for Black History Month
Gavin Barrett’s daily profiles help debunk the excuse that it’s hard to find black talent in advertising. Read the article here.

McCann networking event looks to foster interest in marketing among Black women
The event is aimed at creating a support network for Black women interested in entering the marketing profession. Read it here.

Business as usual: I’m a CEO and ‘the only Black person in the room’
Why MediaCom Canada’s CEO is working with young, black professionals to develop their strong, confident inner voice. Read his column here.

David Brown