MTV goes black and white on MLK Jr. Day

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

MTV Takes A Bold And Powerful Approach To Discuss Race On MLK Day.

“The device of turning us black and white is going to be really— visually— a jolt to say, you know what, there are differences and if we are going to ever get to a freer, more equal society the best thing we can begin to do is talk about them,” MTV President Stephen Friedman said. The retro-look programs will air for 12 hours and will include personal reflections on race from entertainers and public officials, including Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Jordin Sparks, Pete Wentz, Sen. King’s legacy by using their massive platform to address — and help resolve — racial issues in America. #TheTalk is a strong effort attempting to eliminate bias by inviting and encouraging others, especially millennials, to join the discussion and have candid and ‘color brave’ conversations on race.

The broadcast event is the latest initiative to come out of MTV’s Look Different anti-bias campaign, which promotes dialogue about race, gender and sexuality. The campaign partnered with NAACP and other civil rights groups last summer to create commercials after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The project also aired a special segment called Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, in which the Orange Is the New Black actress took viewers inside the lives of transgender youth.

Lewis, one of the student leaders working with King, suffered a skull fracture when Alabama state troopers, sheriff deputies and possemen wielding bullwhips, clubs and tear gas advanced on the marchers on the outskirts of Selma. “We thought what better day than MLK Day to really use, not only the history and the power of what Dr. King said with the “I Have a Dream” speech, but hear it from artists, political leaders and the audience to really spark a national conversation,” Friedman said. The network commissioned researcher Luke Hales to find out how much of their young audience “knew about bias,” “talked about bias,” and “cared about bias.” Hales polled a nationally representative sample of people from the ages of 14-24.

Hale concluded that only about twenty percent of the young people involved in the study were comfortable talking about bias. “When we first introduced what we’d be talking about, people became really uncomfortable.” Hale continued, “There’s this weird kind of snake-eating-its-tail thing where so many of our audience was brought up to be colorblind, to not talk about race.” Hale’s research found that a large majority of respondents believed people should be treated the same, regardless of race. Especially, Friedman says, when viewers will be encouraged to start these conversations after watching segments of Cory Booker discussing how race has affected his ability to date, Kendrick Lamar talking about his conversations with his father on prejudice or listening to David Oyelowo talking about the bias he confronts every day by being in an interracial marriage. “We hope it will be a stark and eye-opening moment to understand on one level how far we’ve come, but also to hear from national figures how much things have not changed and how far we need to go,” Friedman said. “I think the audience will be surprised.” According to the research, many millenials were raised to believe they should treat everyone the same, and not acknowledge racial differences and other cultural distinctions.

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