Bringing Black History Month to life

Bringing Black History Month to life

How we told the story of “Generational Resiliency” and what it means for our world and industry

Bringing Black History Month to life

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise

–Maya Angelou

 

RPA Represent’s Black History Month 2020 theme was “Generational Resiliency.”

 

The story of black history is a story of perseverance giving birth to creativity, liberation,and social transformation.

 

As a core part of the RPA Represent diversity initiative, our Black History Month committee was honored to amplify this spirit with a human exploration of the black experience. We looked to figures in history and paid tribute to each of their journeys: how they faced their greatest obstacles and achieved success in areas from technology and business to art and music.

 

Week to week, we showcased new segments of this educational timeline on our agency screens, revealing inspirational stories in history, starting with the post-slavery Reconstruction Era and the first African-American female millionaire Madame C.J. Walker (whom you can learn more about by watching Netflix’s Self Made, starring Octavia Spencer), and ending the month with Neo Soul music in the post-2000s era.

 

For every historical figure being highlighted, we were interested in three key questions that could bring their stories to life in today’s terms:

·        What was the black community facing at that time?

·        What did this person change?

·        What did this person influence in the future?

 

But while the black experience has been one of challenge and resiliency, it’s also been one of celebration and joy in the face of the impossible. To cap off our month of educational programming, we not only created an additional timeline teaching the rich history of jazz at our agency Happy Hour, we also featured live jazz by members of the very talented Katalyst Collective (David Otis, Greg Paul, Marlon Spears, Brandon Cordoba). We also served delicious vegan soul food by Plate Of Hue’s Stephan “Chefan” Houston.

 

RPA Represent invites you to appreciate and be mindful of the perspectives and experiences of every community that makes up our social fabric, every month of the year. Seek out stories of strength and support their creators.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.