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Nike launches ‘EQUALITY’ campaign with film to air during the 59th Annual Grammy Awards

“Is this the land history promised?”

That’s the question Michael B. Jordan asks in the new short film EQUALITY, launching Nike’s new campaign of the same name, the goal of which is to encourage “people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field,” the company says. Back in January, to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Nike announced partnerships with two community organizations, PeacePlayers International and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.

Now, Nike is coming into your living room with its message. The film is set to air during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards and again during NBA All-Star Weekend. Nike brought the stars out to help push the message, too. As far as athletes go, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, Gabby Douglas and Victor Cruz all make appearances. On the nonsports entertainment side, Alicia Keys appears in addition to Jordan. Directed by Melina Matsoukas, who’s won a Grammy for her work on Rihanna’s “We Found Love” video, the 90-second black-and-white treatment sends an upfront message about changing impressions regarding the concept of boundaries.

“Here within these lines, on this concrete court. This patch of turf. Here, you’re defined by your actions. Not your looks or beliefs,” Jordan continues. “Equality should have no boundaries. The bonds we find here should run past these lines. Opportunity should not discriminate. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. Worth should outshine color.”


Courtesy of Nike.

As the scenes continue and overhead drone shots of urban playing spaces take up the frame, the unforgettable sound of a spray paint can interjects. Using a street art metaphor to make a point about in-your-face activism is not only effective, but for many who’ll likely see this ad, perhaps familiar.

The EQUALITY initiative’s social media and clothing efforts are also a big part of this push. Hashtags and T-shirts make the world go ’round these days, and Nike certainly has plenty to offer as part of its “unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Needless to say, the tees fit right in thematically with the rest of their annual Black History Month collection.

On this day in Black History: The NAACP is born, so is Bill Russell and we get a Negro national anthem Black History Month The Undefeated Edition Feb. 12

1900 – Negro national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed
To celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, James Weldon Johnson wrote the poem Lift Every Voice and Sing, which was turned into a song that was first performed by a group of 500 students in Jacksonville, Florida. It was later adopted by the NAACP as its official song.

1909 – NAACP founded
Founded in 1909 in New York City by a group of black and white citizens committed to social justice, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is one of the nation’s largest civil rights organization. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes.

1934 – Happy birthday, Bill Russell
William Felton “Bill” Russell is considered the greatest of all time in the NBA. He was player-coach of the Boston Celtics in 1968 and 1969. Russell was born in Monroe, Louisiana. The five-time MVP holds more championship rings than other player. His Celtics won 11 NBA championships and went to 12 finals during his 13 seasons. From 1959-1966, they won eight straight.

1956 – Happy birthday, Arsenio Hall
Hall was the first black late-night talk show host. The Arsenio Hall Show ran from 1989-1994.

Yesterday in black history: Nelson Mandela released from prison and Buster Douglass knocks out Mike Tyson Black History Month: The Undefeated Edition Feb. 11 presented on Feb. 12

1977 – First black Secretary of the Army confirmed Clifford Alexander Jr. would hold the position until the end of President Jimmy Carter’s term. 1989 – Barbara C. Harris was ordained bishop in the Episcopal Church Born in Philadelphia, Barbara C. Harris was ordained bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on Feb. 11, […]

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