Channel 4’s commitment to anti-racism – in six parts
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Channel 4’s name was among the more than 200 signatories of an open letter from advertising bosses calling for action following the death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020.
Keen that this statement should be more than hollow words scrawled on a digital page, the UK broadcasting behemoth has published its own commitment to combatting racial inequality. Zaid Al-Qassab, CMO of Channel 4, spoke to Marketing Week to shine a light on the ways in which the brand is holding itself accountable and the reasons why they are actively pursuing anti-racism.
Its commitment comes in the form of a six-part strategy, anchored in tangible goals. From making sure a fifth of its colleagues – including a fifth of its top 100 most highly-paid – are from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to doubling commissions from BAME-led independent producers, the numbers will reveal the strategy’s success – or failure.
As Al-Qassab explains to Marketing Week, “In the light of the George Floyd events, we felt it was appropriate to make a commitment and redouble our efforts particularly on one part of having a diverse and inclusive society, which is race. We felt it was right to go further than we have before in declaring ourselves a deliberately anti-racist organisation. That’s new terminology for us and we felt it was the right thing to say.”
The strategy has had an impact on programming, with the scheduling of content delving into the subject of race. Viewers will have access to documentaries such as ‘Take Your Knee Off my Neck’, exploring race in contemporary Britain, and an upcoming series entitled ‘The School That Tried to End Racism’, in which the topic of unconscious racial bias is unpicked.
Al Qassab goes on to note the need for continued movement, not platitudes. He emphasises that Channel 4’s “approach has been to focus on concrete steps that we can take rather than empty promises. Brands need to make demonstrable change in what their core business is rather than just make statements.”
In a week that saw the Bank of England and the Church of England, among other UK institutions, apologising for their historic slave trade links, it marks a time for companies to turn the lens inwards, self-reflect, and change the way they work; from the inside out.
Read the full article in Marketing Week here
“Ideas are everything. We’re nothing without an idea. So, I go where the ideas lead”
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This week’s tip comes from the Innovation team as a collective.
As part of Pride month, we are educating ourselves on LGBTQ+ issues. This week we’d like to spotlight five objects that were recently added to the British Museum and to recommend some reading.
The British Museum has added five LGBTQ+ objects to their artifacts collection to improve diversity. The five objects will be displayed permanently in the museum and include a “Bank of Duckie Nine Bob note” a play on the old ten-shilling note that was withdrawn from circulation in 1970. This particular version was made for use in a club event by Duckie, Gay Shame Goes Macho. The night was a protest against the commercialisation of Gay Pride events and the note features East End gangster Ronnie Kray, a man known to be gay, instead of the Queen. You can read about the five objects here
Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ + Culture, by journalist Amelia Abraham combines journalism and personal experience to answer the urgent challenges and broader questions LGBTQ+ people face, as well as exploring the joys and pains of being LGBTQ+ today. Abraham covers a lot of ground, moving from the first same-sex marriage in the UK to visiting a transgender model agency and marching at Pride parades across Europe. You can buy it here