How a not-for-profit creative collective is confronting racial injustice.
Addressing any entrenched social issue is not for the faint of heart. It takes monumental commitment. But when that issue is racial injustice, the energy required is exponential. Now imagine taking it on as your side project.
Welcome to Saturday Morning.
In Episode 2 of Meet the Makers, we meet Keith Cartwright and Jayanta Jenkins – two of the cofounders of Saturday Morning. This not-for-profit collective is changing attitudes inside and outside the industry. Keith and Jayanta have four pieces of advice for us all.
1. Diverse thinking breeds better creativity and improves any business’s bottom line.
Creative businesses know employee diversity is an asset. A mix of ages, genders, and races gives any project a range of thinking. Better thinking.
However, racial diversity is still hugely undervalued. When Cartwright and Jenkins met with Geoff Edwards and Kwame Taylor-Hayford in 2016 and started sharing stories, they realized their experiences were not just similar. They were almost identical.
As Keith says; “The microaggressions that we, as African American men, suffer through are like 1000 mini car accidents that we go through day-to-day.”
That conversation became a rallying cry for the advertising industry. A cry heard by P&G. And ultimately, that led to Saturday Morning.
2. Do the work internally before you push a message externally.
For P&G, diversity and inclusion are not buzzwords. They’re living it. Whether it’s gender equality, gay rights, or opportunity for the disabled, P&G is breaking stereotypes. Its ethos of “Great minds do not think alike” helped the company onto Forbes magazine’s list of the best Employers for Diversity in 2020.
So, P&G was the perfect client partner for Saturday Morning. As Jenkins reveals; “They have demonstrated very authentically commitment to undoing some of the tropes that have existed in advertising. And taking it on in a way that brings people together.”
3. Education and information is progress.
When addressing a social issue of this magnitude, the easiest path is to pour gas on the fire. To increase the distance between points of view. Saturday Morning was determined to find a way to change minds by closing the gap, not making it worse.
Cartwright explains; “To reduce it all the way down to the core element, what divides us? It’s melanin. It’s skin. That’s the thing that gets in the way of us being united.”
4. Invite people into the discussion to be part of the conversation
Importantly, Saturday Morning is not in the ‘blame’ business. Its objective is not to point fingers. Instead, it’s trying to include everyone in the conversation through education. Many of the struggles of Black Americans are still hidden from view. By sharing these stories, Saturday Morning is changing minds and attitudes.
Cartwright asks the most important question; “Can Saturday Morning be a day where we, no matter your religious beliefs or your color, come together and help us find equality and kinship through understanding?”