Over the past 34 years, McDonald’s has been a supporter of BET, this past Sunday the company celebrated the 20th anniversary of the BET Awards in a special way – by giving away nearly all of their previously-purchased ad space to amplify Black voices across the country, providing a national stage for their messages.
What viewers saw and heard Sunday, and will see across encores airing in July, are impactful and inspiring personal stories from 13 people. They are inspiring Black voices like Melissa Butler, founder & CEO of the Lip Bar, a beauty brand she created to remind Black women that they are enough.
After the death of George Floyd, Butler and two partners founded “The Blkpact,” a pledge of Black allegiance to eradicate racism through economic empowerment. Started only two weeks ago, the organization has amassed nearly 32,000 Instagram followers. “I started my company, the Lip Bar, to remind Black women that we are enough,” Melissa Barr told me via e-mail.
“And the Blk Pact was born from the need to stimulate Black economic empowerment. Black voices have been suppressed in this country for far too long, and these are both messages that I believe need to be shared and heard. McDonald’s giving people a platform to express their sentiments on the state of this country is powerful. And it gives us a greater platform and deeper penetration to propel and inspire the change we want to see.”
Other voices include entertainment industry executive Kenny Burns; and professor, writer, historian and scholar of race and discriminatory policy Ibram Kendi. Melissa, Kenny and Ibram are just a few of the countless Black women and men who are creating opportunities for their communities whose voices should be heard.
“I’ve used my TKBS (The Kenny Burns Show) platform to bring balance,” Kenny Burns told me via e-mail.
“It gets very heavy seeing news and images of police brutality, so I’m using my super powers to provide education and awareness and introduce my audience to people who are making a difference. The fact that McDonald’s is helping amplify voices like mine further shows their commitment to Our Community.”
On the road leading up to Sunday, McDonald’s reached out to nearly 50 members of the Black community representing a multitude of diverse interests, including education, activism, art and entertainment, and more. As the company works to be a catalyst for change, McDonald’s is listening to the voices of those who are in and of the community.
The “Voices” spots started airing on BET and simulcast on CBS during the June 28 BET Awards’ 20th Anniversary Show.