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Procter & Gamble’s ‘The Talk’ Ad stirs race debate

Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor) | 8/12/2017, 6:44 p.m.
Procter & Gamble kicked off the 10th anniversary celebration of the “My Black is Beautiful” campaign by releasing a commercial ...
Procter & Gamble’s “The Talk” ad has sparked controversy across the nation and conversations about race. “The Talk” television commercial features featuring African-American women discussing the realities of being Black in America and warning their children about racism. (Screenshot/YouTube.com)

Procter & Gamble kicked off the 10th anniversary celebration of the “My Black is Beautiful” campaign by releasing a commercial titled “The Talk,” featuring African-American women discussing the realities of being Black in America and warning their children about the perils of racism.

Video

The Talk - Procter & Gamble (My Black is Beautiful) 2017

“The Talk” sparked fierce reaction across the nation; ironically, conservative media outlets attacked the campaign, calling it divisive and racist.

Kristine Decker, Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) North American Media and Brand Operations Director said that the company wasn’t trying to alienate anyone with “The Talk.”

“We felt like it was an opportunity to start a dialogue about bias,” said Decker. “We’ve been on a mission to talk about bias in many forms and we decided, as part of our ‘My Black is Beautiful’ campaign, to take on the topic of bias from a racial bias perspective.”

The online campaign celebrates the diverse collective beauty of Black women and encourages them to define and promote their own beauty standard—one that’s an authentic reflection of the indomitable spirit of African-Americans, Decker said.

Decker continued: “We went back to the 1950s and we felt that this is something that we have to talk about and we listened to our consumers and we spent time trying to understand what other stories needed to be told.”

In the short video, a young, African-American girl tells her mother that someone said that she’s, “pretty for a Black girl.”

Another scene, set in the present, shows a mother sitting in the passenger seat of a car, preparing to give her daughter a driving lesson. The mother begins to tell her daughter what she should do when she’s pulled over by the police.

“This is not about you getting a ticket,” the mother says. “This is about you not coming home.”

At the end of the video, viewers are urged to “talk about ‘the talk,’ so we can end the need to have it.”

Decker said that many parents have the ‘birds and the bees’ talk, but Black parents have a very different conversation they need to have with their children.

“It’s about race and what it’s like growing up Black,” said Decker.

While some condemned the ad, others expressed support.

“I think it is horrible that we live in this reality where this ad is even needed,” said Rafael Navar, an advisory board member for the Dream Defenders, a civil rights group that launched in Florida in the wake of the 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

“The realities depicted in the ad are all too real for too many young people living in the United States and it’s a travesty that this is the case,” Navar said.

Even though, Navar recognized that the conversations depicted in the video are all too real for many people, he was concerned with the P&G using a highly sensitive, real and hurtful subject to promote their brand.

Black Lives Matter officials called the ad encouraging and an example of how other multi-billion-dollar companies can begin supporting conversations around race and police violence.