Sunday, July 31, 2022

15910: Nichelle Nichols (1932-2022).


From The New York Times


Nichelle Nichols, Lieutenant Uhura on ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 89


She was among the first Black women to have a leading role in a TV series. She later worked with NASA to recruit minorities for the space program.


By Bruce Weber


Nichelle Nichols, the actress revered by “Star Trek” fans everywhere for her role as Lieutenant Uhura, the communications officer on the starship U.S.S. Enterprise, died on Saturday in Silver City, N.M. She was 89.


The cause was heart failure, said Sky Conway, a writer and a film producer who was asked by Kyle Johnson, Ms. Nichols’s son, to speak for the family.


Ms. Nichols had a long career as an entertainer, beginning as a teenage supper-club singer and dancer in Chicago, her hometown, and later appearing on television.


But she will forever be best remembered for her work on “Star Trek,” the cult-inspiring space adventure series that aired from 1966 to 1969 and starred William Shatner as Captain Kirk, the heroic leader of the starship crew; Leonard Nimoy (who died in 2015) as his science officer and adviser, Mr. Spock, an ultralogical humanoid from the planet Vulcan; and DeForest Kelley (who died in 1999) as Dr. McCoy, a.k.a. Bones, the ship’s physician.


A striking beauty, Ms. Nichols provided a frisson of sexiness on the bridge of the Enterprise. She was generally clad in a snug red doublet and black tights; Ebony magazine called her the “most heavenly body in ‘Star Trek’” on its 1967 cover. Her role, however, was both substantial and historically significant.


Uhura was an officer and a highly educated and well-trained technician who maintained a businesslike demeanor while performing her high-minded duties. Ms. Nichols was among the first Black women to have a leading role on a network television series, making her an anomaly on the small screen, which until that time had rarely depicted Black women in anything other than subservient roles.


In a November 1968 episode, during the show’s third and final season, Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura are forced to embrace by the inhabitants of a strange planet, resulting in what is widely thought to be the first interracial kiss in television history.


Ms. Nichols’s first appearances on “Star Trek” predated the 1968 sitcom “Julia,” in which Diahann Carroll, playing a widowed mother who works as a nurse, became the first Black woman to star in a non-stereotypical role in a network series.


(A series called “Beulah,” also called “The Beulah Show,” starring Ethel Waters — and later Louise Beavers and Hattie McDaniel — as the maid for a white family, was broadcast on ABC in the early 1950s and subsequently cited by civil rights activists for its demeaning portraits of Black people.)


But Uhura’s influence reached far beyond television. In 1977, Ms. Nichols began an association with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, contracting as a representative and speaker to help recruit female and minority candidates for spaceflight training; the following year’s class of astronaut candidates was the first to include women and members of minority groups.


In subsequent years, Ms. Nichols made public appearances and recorded public service announcements on behalf of the agency. In 2012, after she was the keynote speaker at the Goddard Space Center during a celebration of African American History Month, a NASA news release about the event lauded her help for the cause of diversity in space exploration.


“Nichols’s role as one of television’s first Black characters to be more than just a stereotype and one of the first women in a position of authority (she was fourth in command of the Enterprise) inspired thousands of applications from women and minorities,” the release said. “Among them: Ronald McNair, Frederick Gregory, Judith Resnick, first American woman in space Sally Ride and current NASA administrator Charlie Bolden.”


Grace Dell Nichols was born in Robbins, Ill., on Dec. 28, 1932 (some sources give a later year), and grew up in Chicago. Her father was, for a time, the mayor of Robbins, and a chemist. At 13 or 14, tired of being called Gracie by her friends, she requested a different name from her mother, who liked Michelle but suggested Nichelle for the alliteration.


She was a ballet dancer as a child and had a singing voice with a naturally wide range — more than four octaves, she later said. While attending Englewood High School, she landed her first professional gig in a revue at the College Inn, a well-known Chicago nightspot.


There she was seen by Duke Ellington, who employed her a year or two later with his touring orchestra as a dancer in one of his jazz suites.


Ms. Nichols appeared in several musical theater productions around the country during the 1950s. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, she recalled performing at the Playboy Club in New York City while serving as an understudy for Ms. Carroll in the Broadway musical “No Strings” (though she never went on).


In 1959, she was a dancer in Otto Preminger’s film version of “Porgy and Bess.” She made her television debut in 1963 in an episode of “The Lieutenant,” a short-lived dramatic series about Marines at Camp Pendleton created by Gene Roddenberry, who went on to create “Star Trek.”


Ms. Nichols appeared on other television shows over the years — among them “Peyton Place” (1966), “Head of the Class” (1988) and “Heroes” (2007). She also appeared onstage occasionally in Los Angeles, including in a one-woman show in which she did impressions of, and paid homage to, Black female entertainers who preceded her, including Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey and Eartha Kitt.


But Uhura was to be her legacy: A decade after “Star Trek” went off the air, Ms. Nichols reprised the role in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” and she appeared as Uhura, by then a commander, in five subsequent movie sequels through 1991.


Besides a son, her survivors include two sisters, Marian Smothers and Diane Robinson.


Ms. Nichols was married and divorced twice. In her 1995 autobiography, “Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories,” she disclosed that she and Roddenberry, who died in 1991, had been romantically involved for a time. In an interview in 2010 for the Archive of American Television, she said that he had little to do with her casting in “Star Trek” but that he defended her when studio executives wanted to replace her.


When she took the role of Uhura, Ms. Nichols said, she thought of it as a mere job at the time, valuable as a résumé enhancer; she fully intended to return to the stage, as she wanted a career on Broadway. Indeed, she threatened to leave the show after its first season and submitted her resignation to Roddenberry. He told her to think it over for a few days.


In a story she often told, that Saturday night she was a guest at an event in Beverly Hills, Calif. — “I believe it was an N.A.A.C.P. fund-raiser,” she recalled in the Archive interview — where the organizer introduced her to someone he described as “your biggest fan.”


“He’s desperate to meet you,” she recalled the organizer saying.


The fan, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., introduced himself.


“He said, ‘We admire you greatly, you know,’” Ms. Nichols said, and she thanked him and told him that she was about to leave the show. “He said, ‘You cannot. You cannot.’”


Dr. King told her that her role as a dignified, authoritative figure in a popular show was too important to the cause of civil rights for her to forgo. As Ms. Nichols recalled it, he said, “For the first time, we will be seen on television the way we should be seen every day.”


On Monday morning, she returned to Roddenberry’s office and told him what had happened.


“And I said, ‘If you still want me to stay, I’ll stay. I have to.’”


Eduardo Medina contributed reporting.

15909: Bill Russell (1934-2022).


RIP Bill Russell.


15908: Menthol Cigarettes And Smoking Guns…?


USA TODAY reported on the FDA’s attempt to ban menthol cigarettes—heavily marketed to Blacks for many decades—which has sparked debates even within the Black community. The publication provided in-depth coverage on the ways that the product has been advertised and promoted, likely with budgets well beyond the standard crumbs allocated to campaigns of color and multicultural advertising agencies. It all exposes yet another form of racist inequity prevalent in Adland that definitely ain’t cool—any way you spell it.


Targeted menthol cigarette ads helped lead to high Black usage. Should they be banned?


By Tiffany Cusaac-Smith


After decades of Big Tobacco advertisements splattered across billboards, tucked inside buses and hung outside corner stores in Black and Latino neighborhoods, Henry McNeil “Mandrake” Brown had seen enough.


Using the alias “Mandrake,” Brown started painting over cigarette and alcohol advertisements in his Chicago community in the 1980s and 1990s, according to historians and media archives. He called the advertisements a multipronged practice “to sustain and expand sales to minorities, to women and the poor.”


At the same time, a handful of Black leaders and doctors were fighting against an overabundance of these advertisements in African American communities compared with whiter areas. The Rev. Calvin Butts, the pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, painted over billboards in New York City.


Uptown cigarettes, a mentholated brand geared directly to Black consumers — would’ve been tested in Philadelphia, but grassroots opposition and resistance from then-Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Louis Sullivan led R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to cancel those plans in 1990.


After the release of director Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” a tobacco company created Menthol X, which was booted in 1995 after a significant outcry. Its box featured a large X like the film’s poster and the Pan-African flag colors — black, red, and green, according to newspaper archives.


These earlier forms of resistance are, in many ways, fundamental to the Food and Drug Administration’s move to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes. The public can submit comments on the proposed change through Aug. 2, according to the FDA.


Over the course of decades, marketing menthol cigarettes to Black people fostered an environment where today, most Black smokers use the product.


“The net result of these predatory marketing strategies is the Black community is suffering unfairly and disproportionately from tobacco-related disease,” according to a statement from the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, a health care advisory task force for the caucus.


Dr. Alan Blum, director of the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, said when it comes to Black people smoking menthols, “advertising works.”


“If in Ebony and Jet and billboards and convenience stores the only brands you see advertised are menthol brands, there’s no mystery,” he said.


The proposed ban has caused a divide within the Black community. Anti-smoking advocates and many in the medical community who support the ban have pointed out that smoking contributes to cancer, and African Americans are more likely to develop and die of lung cancer.


On the other side, some Black clergy, law enforcement groups, and publications — many of whom have received money or advertisement revenue from the tobacco industry — say Black people have the choice to use mentholated products and that banning them could lead to negative interactions with police.


Black community divided over proposed menthol ban


Tobacco companies began targeting Black consumers in the mid-1960s, chasing after a new urban market created by the Great Migration. They avoided scrutiny in part through lavish donations to Black civic organizations.


In 2019, there were more than 18.5 million menthol cigarette smokers, according to the FDA.


Between 1980 and 2018, menthol cigarettes were responsible for 157,000 premature deaths and 1.5 million life-years lost among Black people, according to a study from the University of Michigan.


Keith Wailoo, a history and public affairs professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, said the marketing of menthol products to Black people linked itself to Black identity and aspirations while seeking to avoid backlash from possible white consumers of the product.


“It’s not that they (tobacco companies) are earnestly concerned with Black representation in advertisements,” he said. “They’re concerned with how the incorporation of Black imagery in ads can help with sales, but not to the extent that it alienates non-Black consumers."


In the spring of 1963, Black people represented 19% of the menthol cigarette market, historians and advocates said. Today, nearly 85% of Black smokers use menthol, compared to 30% of white smokers, the FDA said.


David Mendez, a lead author of the Michigan study and a health management and policy professor at the university, said menthol cigarettes reduce the irritation and harshness of smoking through their smooth, minty flavor profile.


Because the cigarette user does not cough or feel the less healthy aspects of smoking, they are less inclined to quit, he said. Menthol also works with nicotine to enhance nicotine’s addictive effects.


Banning menthol will save thousands of lives, Mendez said.


“This is the closest we have been,” Mendez said of the proposed prohibition.


Yet the ban has seen some resistance from some tobacco companies and others.


“We strongly believe that there are more effective routes to deliver tobacco harm reduction than banning menthol in cigarettes,” R.J. Reynolds said in a statement to a request for comment.


Diane Goldstein, executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, said banning menthols is another iteration of the war on drugs, which disproportionately has harmed Black people. LEAP is an organization comprised of prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement that advocates for criminal justice and drug policy reforms.


“When we ban a substance, we don’t end its use,” she said. “We just shift those profits from licensed, taxpaying shopkeepers to criminal organizations, leading to easier access for children, unregulated and impure products for consumers, and unnecessary diversions from violent crime for police.”


In announcing the proposed ban, the FDA said it wouldn’t enforce the prohibition against individual users of menthol products. Instead, an implemented ban would focus its enforcement on retailers, distributors and others.


“If these proposed rules are finalized and implemented, FDA enforcement will only address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers who manufacture, distribute, or sell such products within the U.S. that are not in compliance with applicable requirements,” a statement read.


The FDA said banning menthol would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and helps adult smokers quit.


Anti-smoking organizations said the talking points of LEAP and some other Black organizations use Black anxieties around hostile police encounters to get around regulating the market.


In the turbulence of the civil rights movement, tobacco companies hired Black workers when some companies wouldn’t. They supported and contributed to cultural events such as the Kool Jazz Festival, a series of concerts targeting African American consumers, according to Stanford University in California.



In many advertisements, tobacco companies portrayed Black people in a positive light.


Tobacco companies also placed ads in Black-owned newspapers and magazines, providing needed advertisement revenue for the outlets.


“They started getting our figures, our actors, our sports figures, and the like. They started coming into our communities. And the real thing is that they did they understood our history and culture,” said Delmonte Jefferson, executive director of The Center for Black Health & Equity, a health organization benefiting Black people that is anti-menthol products.


“They supported everything, and they got our loyalty,” he said. “And as a result, they got our death.”


Menthol ads went after Black consumers for decades


“Feel the extra coolness in your throat,” read one 1964 cigarette advertisement featuring a handsome Black couple with Kool menthol cigarettes lodged in their hands as they stood in an oasis.


The ad was one of many that came amid the Great Migration of Black people out of the American South and into cities such as New York and Chicago and the civil rights movement, historians say. Medical research linking cigarettes to cancer and other ailments also pushed many people to reconsider smoking, forcing tobacco companies to expand their outreach in search of new consumers.


Menthol cigarettes were created by Lloyd “Spud” Hughes in the 1920s when he mixed menthol and cigarettes. For the first few decades of the product’s existence, it was marketed as a “healthier” cigarette.


Marketers went to corner stores in Black neighborhoods to track the progress of cigarette sales. They asked workers why they had chosen to invest with a particular cigarette brand.


In St. Louis, the tobacco industry recognized that Black men didn’t watch television at the same levels as their white counterparts in the 1960s, according to “Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette.”


Through market research, consultants recognized Black consumers would listen to trusted sources in their community —- bellhops, barbers, etc. Consultants then secretly gave menthol cigarettes to those figures, who then started dispersing them in their communities, the book said.


Segregation in cities such as Detroit, New York and Philadelphia also allowed tobacco companies to place ads in Black neighborhoods without fear of white backlash, historians say.


“When you put it all together, the tobacco industry has given literally millions of dollars to black, civic, religious, political, educational organizations in our community. So, it’s essentially been a full-court press,” said Phillip Gardiner, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, a California-based organization that supports a national menthol ban.


By the time Tiffany Glover, 45, started smoking, the pathway had been set. Both of her parents smoked cigarettes, though not menthol cigarettes.


Her journey began as a sophomore in college, just a few years after her mother’s death from lung cancer in 1994.


Glover recalls the pull of menthols. On one end, she saw cigarette marketing in leading Black publications, plus they were a few dollars cheaper than non-menthol cigarettes. Glover said she felt that she needed them to fit in, “wanting to be cool.”


Peers at the time told her, “You need to smoke menthols. They taste better.”


This confluence soon led her to smoke about a pack of Newport menthol cigarettes daily.


“It just became a full-blown addiction,” said Glover, a math teacher in Natchitoches, Louisiana. “I was really starting to really desire the smoking. The peer stuff didn’t matter anymore. I wanted to smoke.”


‘I can’t breathe’


Billboards and other advertisements in Black communities were removed because of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, the largest civil litigation settlement in the nation’s history at the time.


Seven tobacco companies agreed to pay more than $200 billion to 46 states, Washington, D.C., and several territories. The money was set aside as compensation for taxpayer money used in tobacco-related ailments and losses to local economies, according to the agreement.


The agreement also removed tobacco advertising that included cartoons, as well as those geared to people under 18. The agreement also banned the use of cigarette advertisements on merchandise.


In the intervening years, smoking levels have decreased, but menthol still has a problematic hold on Black Americans. States such as Massachusetts and California, as well as Washington, D.C., have banned menthol cigarettes, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy organization seeking to reduce tobacco use.


Cities such as Chicago and Jersey City are among the dozens that have restricted the sale of menthol products, according to the organization.


In 2009, the Obama administration banned flavored cigarettes but left off tobacco and menthol.


Groups opposed to the menthol bans have pointed to the death of Eric Garner, who was killed in a fatal confrontation with the New York City Police Department after being accused of selling untaxed cigarettes known as loosies. They worry more Black people will be punished for selling cigarettes under a ban.


The Rev. Al Sharpton said in a letter to Susan Rice, White House domestic policy advisor, that a menthol cigarette ban could mean that some economically disadvantaged smokers might try to create homemade menthol cigarettes. Sharpton’s organization has taken money from the tobacco industry.


Wailoo, the Princeton professor, said Garner’s plea of “I can’t breathe” in some ways mirrors the experience of thousands of Black people who have died because of tobacco usage.


“It’s been a slow and deliberate process of constraining people’s lungs, constraining their health, and it leads exactly to the same place: I can’t breathe. The only difference is that, in the case of George Floyd, in the case of Eric Garner, we can see this happens in a couple of minutes,” he said. “And we can see who the culprit is that is driving the death of those young men. In the case of the menthol cigarette, it happens over decades.”


For Glover, the Louisiana teacher, her reckoning around cigarettes came around a decade ago. Her eldest daughter, then 16, was the same age as when Glover lost her mother to lung cancer. If she didn’t quit, Glover thought, she might not be there for her as she entered adulthood.


“If you don’t quit smoking, you’re not going to be able to get the chance to see what it’s like,” she thought to herself.


At that thought, she decided to put down the habit, removing ashtrays from her house and using nicotine patches and other methods.


Loved ones and friends coached her on, even waiting with her in restaurant parking lots as she used chewing gum to fight the urge to have a cigarette after a meal.


After she quit, her eldest daughter expressed relief that she had stopped — a surprise to Glover because she thought her daughter had no opinion on the matter.


As for the menthol cigarette ban, she said, the more lives saved, the better.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

15907: Hyping Hybrid Heat Shields.


AgencySpy posted on a new DEI partnership between The One Club and Allies for Recruiting (AIR), a collective of recruiters from a range of disciplines. Both organizations boast a host of heat shields—yet don’t seem to have meaningful or measurable results to display. It all feels like one club of hot air.


AIR and The One Club for Creativity Collaborate on DEI efforts


By Nandika Chatterjee


Volunteer-based organization Allies for Recruiting (AIR) has joined the One Club for Creativity family, adding to the non-profit’s diversity offering. The move will afford AIR the resources to expand its infrastructure and increase its scope of growth.


AIR represents a collective of recruiters from a variety of disciplines, including advertising, marketing and technology, creating representation and a sense of belonging within the industry. That goes hand-in-hand with The One Club for Creativity’s purpose to cultivate talent and celebrate global creative success on a variety of platforms.


Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of the One Club for Creativity, told Adweek that AIR “shares our focus on results-oriented programs that do more than just talk about the issue. They actually help get people hired.”


AIR’s recruitment practices are what allow its recruiters to best help individuals meet their potential and land their dream jobs. This includes diversifying its search queries and conducting ability-inclusive interviews.


“Through AIR pods, smaller groups of recruiters work together to create resources for our broader community. We identify new areas of focus, share talent acquisition and retention strategies and equip our members to have difficult conversations with hiring teams,” Tyler DeBoard, AIR partner and global director, talent partnerships at WPP told Adweek.


The One Club for Creativity has maintained its pillar of inclusion and diversity for nearly 15 years. It was one of the first within the industry to form a department dedicated to DEI, called One ID, in 2008.


It has since created programs such as its annual Where Are All The Black People (WAATBP) diversity conference and career fair, One School free portfolio program for Black creatives, One Production free food styling program for BIPOC students, Creative Boot Camps held around the world offering diverse students.


The One Club’s considerable focus in this area will now extend into new realms through AIR’s influence in the industry.


“There’s been lots of talk over the past few years about the need to increase diversity in the ad world. AIR stands out as an organization that actually does something tangible to address the problem: they exist for the purpose of getting diverse talent hired,” said Swanepoel.


In today’s socio-political climate, discussion and action surrounding diversity and inclusion have never been more pressing, according to many in the industry, and this new partnership hopes to continue DEI efforts in the advertising and marketing industries.


“We are invested and committed to intentionally raise awareness, train and educate recruiters on how they can embed inclusive practices at a systematic level in everything they do,” Daniela Herrera, AIR founding partner and director recruitment operations and ED&I at R/GA told Adweek. “I can’t wait to get us started with this partnership and take on a more impactful and meaningful role when it comes to elevating, championing, and supporting talent from historically and systematically excluded communities in our industry,” she said.


With a practical action plan, the partnership between The One Club for Creativity and AIR is making a step in the direction of impactful change.


“As our collective grows to include more allies across more of our industries, we hope that competition becomes collaboration in the push for a more equitable future,” said DeBoard.

Friday, July 29, 2022

15906: FYI A–B Relaunch.


From Digiday


‘Equity is at the core of everything we do’: Black-owned agency founder on relaunching amid advertising’s lagging diversity stats


By Kimeko McCoy


At the height of the 2020 social justice movement, minority-owned agencies reported seeing a spike in work and client interest as advertisers looked to make good on diversity promises. While some agencies have grappled with the influx and some have taken on one-off work for diversity projects, fully-remote agency A—B is leaning in and leveraging its predominately Black staff to push for social impact.


The four-year-old independent agency, which recently changed its name from A/B Partners to A—B and beefed up its capabilities as part of a relaunch, is Black-owned with 100% BIPOC senior management and 76% BIPOC staff. For reference, Black people represent just 24% of staff in the industry overall, up from 22% last year, according to the 4A’s Diversity Metrics report. The agency has always offered services in growth, experience, research, creative and strategy. As part of the relaunch, A—B added a full media campaigns team to manage channel strategy, earned media, paid media and media partnerships.


Digiday caught up with Andre Banks, founder and CEO at A—B, to talk about the agency’s relaunch and where the advertising industry stands on diversity in 2022.


This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.


Why did you decide to relaunch your agency? What does it change?


After 2020, you saw a lot of folks talking about equity, diversity [and] making new commitments, but we came out of the box in 2018 already telling that story. We were a diverse team from the interns to the executive class. Equity is at the core of everything we do, how we solve problems, projects we take on and vendors we work with. The relaunch is being able to show that that vision has gone from aspiration and idea to scale. As more and bigger organizations are thinking about these questions, A—B is now in a place where we can, with 50 [employees in the company], meet that need.


We didn’t stop operations. We kept going, kept moving. For us, it was about the expansion of the services and clarifying the offering. This was us saying, this is actually a united practice that can go from, there’s a problem to solve to we’re reaching millions of people every day communicating this. Putting those pieces together, relaunching as the total package was what [was] behind putting ourselves back out there.


You’re a shop owned by people of color. What’s the importance of that?


We are 79% people of color across the firm. More than 50% of the people of color are Black. Our entire leadership team is people of color. Seventy-five percent of the leadership team is Black. Those numbers have continued throughout at every level at the company. And that’s been pretty consistent from day one. We’ve all had the experience of working in places where we haven’t been able to show up as our full selves. We haven’t been able to bring powerful stories. We want to leverage that at A—B. We want to go deeper into other people’s stories, and center our work in people’s stories, how they relate to identity, how they show up in the world. As a result, the practice has really evolved to be focused on that. That’s where we start any problem solving.


Given advertising’s history and slow adoption of authentic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, what does the future of DE&I look like to you at A—B?


We’re moving to a place where people are going from needing help and support that’s fundamentally about building a practice that’s about representation…and elevating that into a practice. It’s not just that we need more Black and brown people in the room. It’s that we actually need to understand their experiences, their perspectives in order to get the fuel to solve these problems in new and different ways.


Where does the newly launched A—B agency fit into the DE&I conversation?


We don’t think of ourselves as DE&I or doing DE&I work. What we often say to folks is, “This is the issue that you’re working on. We’re going to find the most nuanced understanding of people you’re working with.” Usually, there are people of color or an important segment of that. We’re going to look at that community beyond the demographics, really try to understand it.


What can other agencies learn from your approach?


It’s doable. We didn’t start with a lot of money. I didn’t have any big startup funds. We’ve been able to do this because we’ve had a mission that aligns to the values of this diverse group of people of color. We’ve got a lot of Black people on our team, a lot of people of color. But honestly, I’ve never worked with a more diverse team. Not just in terms of the fact that there are lots of Black and brown people, but everybody’s so different.


Does diverse leadership impact how A—B pitches clients? Is there an advantage to A—B’s diversity?


Definitely. People are looking at the makeup of our team. They’re looking at who’s going to be showing up in the client meeting. [Potential clients] are like, “We want to make sure that folks who show up are going to look representative of the communities that we’re in, show and reflect the values that we’re bringing into the project.”