Culture Hack

Culture Hack

When Will Supporting Multicultural Groups Be More Than Just a Corporate Trend?

In 2020, our society was witness to the injustice and inequality against multicultural communities like it had never before been. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, and so many others brought more attention to the problem of systemic racism that has been prolonged in this country. As a result of protests against institutions that contributed to the vicious cycle of prejudice and destruction, certain industries — including media and advertising — wanted to be part of change and part of a movement to right the wrongs of the present to build a better future. 

With this movement came promises. A commitment to support, promote, and uplift BIPOC-owned businesses that have too often been given the ends of sticks in their fields was established. A dedication to emphasize the talent and importance of minority creators was spread throughout most of the country by corporations. The summer of 2020 was filled with much hope that there could be a halt to systemic prejudice; there could be a world where the historically overlooked trendsetters and pioneers could finally be appreciated. But, like most politically-focused trends, the corporate idea of BLM started to fade out.

During a recent open letter to the public, musical artist and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy Combs” expressed his frustrations with the loss of energy and excitement towards promoting Black-owned media companies. Combs, who has owned media and television company REVOLT for nearly a decade, felt like it was unfair for his company to be used as a model of success for press purposes if it was still struggling for business. “No longer can Corporate America manipulate our community into believing that incremental progress is acceptable action,” stated Combs, re-emphasizing the disappointment in the unfulfilled promises. 

Although the successful rapper and media mogul’s statement has drawn attention to the lack of progress caused by big corporations, the deeply rooted racism is a sign in itself that “progress” really meant more publicity. For decades, BIPOC culture has been seen as the hip and cool trend. The Supremification of our culture has meant that Black culture is now owned and cloned by white companies for personal profit with no intention of uplifting the Black voice. From something as seemingly simple as fashion to something as complex as perspective, BIPOC creators and change makers and always used as inspiration rather than being admired front and center for their contributions to the culture. 

The easiest thing for corporations and big advertisers to do it to showcase the BIPOC culture. Tapping a few buttons on a screen to create a post with the letters “B-L-M” in bold is in effective. Copy and pasting thoughtful words from a Black or Brown creator is simple. Featuring activists and supporting the continued fight that goes into protecting these lives requires connection, understanding, and support. You find it in the commitment to support Black-owned businesses every year, on-boarding those that use their craft for change to promote change, focusing less on the idea of progress and more on the step necessary to make it. 

The cycle of racism has been driven by the convenience of taking culture and suppressing BIPOC voices in the process for too long. Promoting the Black voice can no longer coincide with the intentions of trendsetting. Corporate America needs to recognize that success should be determined by the roles they take up as allies in the journey to progress. You cannot fix the system in one year, let alone one summer. Change needs full dedication and action from those that have had the upper hand all along.