P&G Aims to Improve Portrayal of “Black Life” on Screen, Expands Inclusion Efforts for Black Creators

CINCINNATI—The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) today announced the creation of an expansive content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables and advocates for increased inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and television industries. Titled “Widen The Screen,” it will include new films and initiatives that feature more diverse storytellers, combat bias against all people fueled by misrepresentation, increase investment in Black-owned and operated media and employ more diverse creators in a way that improves their trajectory for long-term success.

The anthem film “Widen The Screen” premiered during the 2021 NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, March 27 with a call to action to portray a more holistic view of Black life – one that is layered, beautiful and dynamic – not one that simply reinforces commonly told stereotypes. The film, created and produced by a team of largely Black creators in collaboration with Grey, and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali, ends with the line “Let’s widen the screen to widen our view” and challenges the expectations viewers have about the characters and stories often played by Black actors – fueled by a limited view of Black Life on screen.

The film and additional content at www.pg.com/widenthescreen helps people learn about how disparities in representation behind the camera lead to misrepresentation of people and communities that fuel bias in real life.

“While we’ve made equality a top priority within P&G and worked with other companies to do the same, we recognize that is just not enough. We have to address the systemic inequalities that exist in our industry, and that’s why ‘Widen The Screen’ is a critically important initiative, not just for P&G, but for the industry,” said Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble. “In stepping up and leveling the playing field for Black creators, we will enable change that will benefit all under-represented groups and result in higher quality, more relevant film, television and advertising content that deepens our appreciation of the richness of our society.”

“It is my hope, through this campaign, to encourage image makers to reveal the fullness of who we are as Black people. We don’t have to be ‘exceptional’ to be respected and valued. Our humanity isn’t dependent upon us being doctors, lawyers, engineers, or famous,” said Kevin Wilson, Jr., Director, Widen the Screen. “Yes, we are those things, but we also take up many spaces in this world and the love we share should be depicted as well. We are more than the brutality we often see in our depictions in television and film. We are the joy we experience with loved ones and the passion we have for one another.”

Widen The Screen is a significant expansion of prior P&G efforts aimed at increasing inclusion and representation of people of color in the advertising industry. Building on this success, Widen the Screen will provide even greater access and opportunity to break into an industry notorious for being difficult to enter, with an immediate focus on Black creators, and runway for future expansion.

Queen Collective, P&G’s signature multicultural talent development initiative returns for its third year in 2021. A partnership with Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment and Tribeca Studios, this effort accelerates gender and racial equality behind the camera by opening doors to the next generation of up-and-coming Black women directors through mentorship, production support, and distribution opportunities. Two films were produced in each 2019 and 2020, and P&G is doubling production in 2021, greenlighting four documentary-style productions for women filmmakers.

This summer, P&G is increasing creative output for Black creatives and filmmakers in partnership with UNINTERRUPTED and SATURDAY MORNING, Black-owned creative and production partners, to help the world see their passion, potential and power – and to tell previously untold stories. P&G and UNINTERRUPTED, an athlete empowerment brand within The SpringHill Company built by LeBron James and Maverick Carter with the mission of empowering greatness in every individual, are collaborating on a project that will take viewers on a journey of a father and his son using the power of imagination to explore a range of opportunities beyond athletics. The film and associated community programs are intended to show young Black men that they can follow and achieve their dreams outside of sports, which aligns with UNINTERRUPTED’s “More Than An Athlete” mantra. P&G’s partner for “The Look,” SATURDAY MORNING is a creative agency that brings awareness to and shifts perceptions on racial bias and injustice. With SATURDAY MORNING, Tribeca and dozens of black creatives, P&G is creating scripted stories told in 8 minutes and 46 seconds to tell life-affirming stories of joy, love, and resilience.

P&G also announced support for efforts to increase the number of Black creators entering the industry through programs like the Marcus Graham Project and the One Club for Creativity’s One School Initiative; continued support of critical talent development initiatives like ADCOLOR; and increasing investment in a broad range of Black Owned and Operated companies and media platforms. Widen The Screen also includes important collaborations with a variety of majority-owned advertising agencies and partners, as they too strengthen their efforts to ensure increased representation and inclusion.

“True inclusion leads to greater creativity and innovation, provides access to opportunity, and leads to equity in income and wealth creation. Our hope is that we will create a ripple effect and the rest of the industry will follow suit,” Pritchard added.

Source and photo: Procter & Gamble/Business Wire


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CyberEarth21 A BDPA Virtual Earth Day Tech Summit April 22-24, 2021

Call for “SMART City” presenters or panelists on or before April 10th, 2021. Email us at → events@bdpadc.org or visit → https://www.bdpadc.org/cyberearth/

Google Cloud is named exclusive cloud partner, providing core technologies for Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, and new SoFi Stadium

SUNNYVALE, CA ― As fans eagerly await the return of NFL football, Google and Hollywood Park today announced a multi-year partnership for Google Cloud to power SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park’s digital innovation experiences—and YouTube to become the official video streaming sponsor of the Rams, Chargers, SoFi Stadium, and Hollywood Park, with more details to be announced later this year.

“Google is a world-class company, leading the way in technology,” said Jason Gannon, managing director, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. “Their innovation and services are a critical component to deliver Stan Kroenke’s vision to create the ultimate sports and entertainment destination, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park.”
Google CloudGoogle will drive both business operations and consumer experiences at the 298-acre sports and entertainment destination, which is being developed by Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke. SoFi Stadium will host the Super Bowl in 2022, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics in 2028, and many other marquee events. Google Cloud technology will help transform the site into a premier entertainment destination in several key ways:

  • A “personal concierge” app, powered by Google Cloud and built by Deloitte, will help fans discover SoFi Stadium events; wayfind within the stadium; locate parking; optimize transportation for game day (including up-to-the-minute Google Maps routing); provide digital credentials for building, club, and suite entry; and present personalized offers for tickets, food, shopping, and more.
  • Cloud-based media workflow and optimization will power the largest video board in sports. Working with Google Cloud engineers and using the latest in cloud technologies, Hollywood Park will be able to efficiently store digital content, as well as prep, transfer, and present groundbreaking video on game day.
  • Advanced data analytics will track business performance and enable Hollywood Park to offer unique and personal recommendations to fans and guests. Using Google Cloud products such as Cloud Scheduler, App Engine, Dataflow, BigQuery, and more, Hollywood Park will be able to store and analyze data from multiple sources; create operational dashboards with real-time data; track key performance indicators after events; and better forecast attendance, revenue by product, and other important business metrics.
  • Modern collaboration tools from Google Cloud’s G Suite software—including Gmail for business, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and Meet—will help Hollywood Park employees work faster and smarter, and meet safely and securely from anywhere.
  • In the future, Google and SoFi Stadium will explore media streaming and high-speed wireless solutions to enable visitors to get replays, unique angles, and exclusive 4K coverage on their mobile phones while attending events at SoFi Stadium. In addition, SoFi Stadium will have the world’s first 4K/HDR live production capabilities within a sports facility.

“It’s an incredible honor to work with SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park as they create an interactive, smart experience destination enjoyed by sports and entertainment fans, residents and shoppers alike,” said Rob Enslin, global president, Google Cloud. “This partnership shows the world what’s possible when you combine the power of data with the excitement of entertainment and sports, and we’re excited that Google Cloud will underpin the visitor experience.”

“We couldn’t have picked a better partner to manage our technology needs,” said Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. “Incorporating Google’s solutions into critical areas of our business ensures we can usher in a new era of innovation in sports and entertainment, raising the bar on what the ultimate fan experience looks like globally.”

“A special thank you to our partner Legends, and their Global Partnerships group, which sourced, negotiated, and represented SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park in securing this comprehensive technology and marketing partnership. They continue to work as best-in-class partners to bring innovation and unique brand engagements,” said Gannon.

September 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/
Images: Sofi and Google

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Remembering Chadwick Boseman

Actor Chadwick Boseman, star of Marvel Studios’ groundbreaking film Black Panther, has passed away at the age of 43.

By Ryan Coogler

Before sharing my thoughts on the passing of the great Chadwick Boseman, I first offer my condolences to his family who meant so very much to him. To his wife, Simone, especially.
 
I inherited Marvel and the Russo Brothers’ casting choice of T’Challa. It is something that I will forever be grateful for. The first time I saw Chad’s performance as T’Challa, it was in an unfinished cut of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. I was deciding whether or not directing BLACK PANTHER was the right choice for me. I’ll never forget, sitting in an editorial suite on the Disney Lot and watching his scenes. His first with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, then, with the South African cinema titan, John Kani as T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make this movie. After Scarlett’s character leaves them, Chad and John began conversing in a language I had never heard before. It sounded familiar, full of the same clicks and smacks that young black children would make in the States. The same clicks that we would often be chided for being disrespectful or improper. But, it had a musicality to it that felt ancient, powerful, and African. 
 
In my meeting after watching the film, I asked Nate Moore, one of the producers of the film, about the language. “Did you guys make it up?” Nate replied, “that’s Xhosa, John Kani’s native language. He and Chad decided to do the scene like that on set, and we rolled with it.” I thought to myself. “He just learned lines in another language, that day?” I couldn’t conceive how difficult that must have been, and even though I hadn’t met Chad, I was already in awe of his capacity as actor. 
 
I learned later that there was much conversation over how T’Challa would sound in the film. The decision to have Xhosa be the official language of Wakanda was solidified by Chad, a native of South Carolina, because he was able to learn his lines in Xhosa, there on the spot. He also advocated for his character to speak with an African accent, so that he could present T’Challa to audiences as an African king, whose dialect had not been conquered by the West. 
 
I finally met Chad in person in early 2016, once I signed onto the film. He snuck past journalists that were congregated for a press junket I was doing for CREED, and met with me in the green room. We talked about our lives, my time playing football in college, and his time at Howard studying to be a director, about our collective vision for T’Challa and Wakanda. We spoke about the irony of how his former Howard classmate Ta-Nehisi Coates was writing T’Challa’s current arc with Marvel Comics. And how Chad knew Howard student Prince Jones, who’s murder by a police officer inspired Coates’ memoir Between The World and Me.
 
I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly. He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that seen much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.    
 
That was the first of many conversations. He was a special person. We would often speak about heritage and what it means to be African. When preparing for the film, he would ponder every decision, every choice, not just for how it would reflect on himself, but how those choices could reverberate. “They not ready for this, what we are doing…” “This is Star Wars, this is Lord of the Rings, but for us… and bigger!” He would say this to me while we were struggling to finish a dramatic scene, stretching into double overtime. Or while he was covered in body paint, doing his own stunts. Or crashing into frigid water, and foam landing pads. I would nod and smile, but I didn’t believe him. I had no idea if the film would work. I wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing. But I look back and realize that Chad knew something we all didn’t. He was playing the long game.  All while putting in the work. And work he did. 
 
He would come to auditions for supporting roles, which is not common for lead actors in big budget movies. He was there for several M’Baku auditions. In Winston Duke’s, he turned a chemistry read into a wrestling match. Winston broke his bracelet. In Letitia Wright’s audition for Shuri, she pierced his royal poise with her signature humor, and would bring about a smile to T’Challa’s face that was 100% Chad. 
 
While filming the movie, we would meet at the office or at my rental home in Atlanta, to discuss lines and different ways to add depth to each scene. We talked costumes, military practices. He said to me “Wakandans have to dance during the coronations. If they just stand there with spears, what separates them from Romans?” In early drafts of the script. Eric Killmonger’s character would ask T’Challa to be buried in Wakanda. Chad challenged that and asked, what if Killmonger asked to be buried somewhere else?
 
Chad deeply valued his privacy, and I wasn’t privy to the details of his illness. After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.
 
I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take. 
 
It hurts more to know that we can’t have another conversation, or facetime, or text message exchange. He would send vegetarian recipes and eating regimens for my family and me to follow during the pandemic.  He would check in on me and my loved ones, even as he dealt with the scourge of cancer. 
 
In African cultures we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was because from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him. It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again. 
 
Ryan Coogler 

Press release and photo ©2020 Marvel Studios

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