MTV goes ‘color blind’ for conversation on race

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

“Our aim is to jar audiences into having what we’re calling ‘The Talk’ – candid, confident and ‘color brave’ conversations on race and bias,” a MTV rep tells PEOPLE.Viacom’s MTV said its programming would appear in black and white on Monday, January 19, in an effort to generate talk about racial issues on Martin Luther King Day. “Our audience is looking for a way to bring the national conversation on race into their homes and this campaign will give them a forum to express true color bravery,” said Stephen Friedman, president of MTV, in a statement.

Throughout the day, every commercial block will begin with personal reflections on race from familiar faces including Selma director Ava DuVernay, the film’s star David Oyelowo, rappers Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean, singer Jordin Sparks, rocker Pete Wentz, Sen. Cory Booker and more. “America and race relations – we have to acknowledge it,” Common says in the video. “I think everybody overall wants the same results and that’s a better place, a place where everybody can just connect and not worry about like what color this person is or what their religion is.” “MLK today means hope. … He means love,” Common continues. “He means a human being that has shown us that we can not only be heroes but that we are people an we can do great things.” 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 Dream” speech, but hear it from artists, political leaders and the audience to really spark a national conversation,” Friedman said. Instead, #TheTalk is an expansion of MTV’s “Look Different” project, a multiyear anti-bias campaign that launched in April and has since aired dozens of specials dedicated to denouncing discrimination across race, gender and sexual orientation. “We did a study and found that 73% of 14 to 24-year-olds believe that having more open, constructive conversations about bias will help people become less prejudiced, yet only 10% report having those conversations often,” Friedman said. “That’s just not good enough.” Friedman says understanding and uncovering bias is the first step to confronting and addressing it — and #TheTalk is a one solution MTV has proposed to help bridge this divide. 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.

The campaign created commercials with civil rights groups including the NAACP in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer.

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