Back in April, MultiCultClassics commented on the 4As 2009 Leadership Conference, and wondered about a function organized by The Marcus Graham Project and Diversity in Media. Kenji Summers and Lincoln Stephens recently delivered a few details, attaching a press release for the event.
Under The Influence took place on April 28 in San Francisco, following a 4As panel discussion on diversity and inclusion. The industry mixer sought “to highlight new realities emerging in the advertising world by showcasing organizations and individuals who are leading the change in developing the next generation of diverse media & advertising industry professionals.”
Participants included Erin O. Patton, author of Under The Influence: Tracing the Hip Hop Generation’s Impact on Brands, Sports & Pop Culture. Patton made a brief presentation and signed books, with proceeds benefiting The Marcus Graham Project.
Here’s what Lincoln Stephens had to say:
“The 4As conference was a great opportunity for The Marcus Graham Project to make its industry debut, as we prepare to launch and pilot our programs. The panel that we were invited to participate in was called A New Reality in Diversity & Inclusion. Following the panel, The Marcus Graham Project hosted a networking event entitled Under The Influence that featured presentations by various organizations.
One of the disappointing facts is that out of the 300 CEO and attendees of the conference, many of which received invitations to our event, only two CEOS actually attended, Nancy Hill, CEO of the 4As, and Larry Woodard, CEO of Vigilante.
The challenge is to engage these CEOS to even attend events like Under The Influence, which featured comments from the brand architect behind brand Jordan, Erin O. Patton. The disappointment in their [lack of] attendance did not discourage me or the effort, though—it just gave it even more reason to be.”
Stephens’ spirit is strong and admirable. He’s moving in the right direction, and The Marcus Graham Project is sure to be a success and a force.
Yet one must express puzzlement over the no-shows. After all, this was the place where Nancy Hill continued to address diversity, and Dan Wieden delivered his controversial call-to-action. You’d think Wieden would have led his culturally clueless comrades to the affair. Instead, it looks like the CLIO Lifetime Achievement Award recipient talked the talk, then walked.
In Wieden’s own words, “Now that’s fucked up.”