Each Black History Month for the past three years, Gavin Barrett has written daily short profiles of Black talent in the industry.
Barrett, the co-founder and chief creative officer of Barrett Welsh, has been calling for the industry to do better when it comes to race and representation, well before the industry seemed to (finally) wake up to the problem after the murder of George Floyd. Writing about Black people in the industry—from all corners: client, agency, PR, and production—is just one way to push the industry to do better.
He explained why he wanted to write the profiles—which he stresses are adopted from an idea by Derek Walker, owner of the South-Carolina ad agency Brown and Browner—in a piece for The Message in 2020. “First, we want to fight invisibility: We want to celebrate the Black talent that exists in our business so loudly you have to see it. Secondly, we are attempting to create a sense of community for Black advertising professionals, who too often experience the “only Black person in the room” syndrome.”
Barrett has previously posted the profiles to LinkedIn, and we’ve shared a few of them here at The Message. But this year, we asked if he’d be interested in The Message doing more than that, and posting every profile he writes. He agreed, and so starting next week, we’ll be posting all of the profiles for Black History Month.
Barrett already has written a number of profiles, with others on the list for later in the month. But if you or someone you know wants to volunteer, you can contact Barrett directly via email, and he can send you the questions. One request: before you suggest someone, please make sure they’re willing to be profiled.