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Black Power


Ta-da! The New York City Commission on Human Rights has been released and naturally, it’s a dismissal assessment. Keep in mind that these benchmarks were laid out about the sixteen participating agencies themselves and some of these failed to hit their goals.

Still, on average, the 15 agencies set a goal of hiring 18% minorities and hired 25% minorities. Someone give them a piece of candy, yeah? The minorities that were hired were predominantly Asian-Americans. Bully to them, but it’s almost too predictable that the figures for African-Americans and Hispanics fell far behind.

In AdAge, Sanford Moore, the former BBDO exec who pushed for the probe said:

“What Madison Avenue is doing is creating minorities of choice. In this structure, blacks fall at the bottom. Whereas they talk about diversity, this is really a ploy for the continued marginalization and exclusion of African-Americans on Madison Avenue.”

The natural next question should be – what were these people’s titles? Are they janitors or copywriters, assistant account execs or creative directors? I of know very few black creatives working in the business and really, lets just focus on general market agencies. Forgot the specialists agencies for a second. So, yes, there is Feh Tarty over at W+K. There’s Geoff Edwards at TAG McCann. There’s Jayanta Jenkins who also spent some time at W+K, but is now freelance. Who else? Jimmy Smith, EVP of BBDO. Andrew Thompson at Digitas. There have to be more! Comments section please.

How about producers and account executives? I bet the whole list wouldn’t top 75 names. Ugh. There are people taking action such as David Brown of Brown Partners. That’s one end of the problem, but what about all those black men and women who don’t get hired even with the qualifications? What about all those creatives who have to deal with folks who don’t believe they are art directors upon introduction (yes, this happens)? Hunh. How many agencies don’t even have one black employee and yet, are marketing to black consumers?

We, black and white and everybody else, have some work to do.

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