The power of Inclusion is real, let’s not sweat it. It’s 2018 and inclusion has become more important than ever before. In the light of recent events brands & their communities are realising how important inclusivity is for the growth of a brand both socially & economically. If you’re wondering what inclusivity means then it’s the intention of including a group of people who may otherwise be excluded such as those who have a disability, a particular gender, race or age. Many brands and organisations have recently been under scrutiny for not including a more diverse set of employees within their teams
The most recent case to have been under fire for acts of this kind is H&M; as most of you may have heard. Earlier this week H&M released a controversy 'racist' advert which featured a young black boy sporting a hoody stating "coolest monkey in the jungle" on the front of it. Now, some of you may be thinking how did such an advert cause so much uproar. Well the word 'monkey' is a racial slur against black people through a historical context and as the boy modelling the item was black, different communities took to social media platforms to express their anger & thoughts on the matter. Now it may have been that the racial slur was not intended which is what I believe but such instances which have been described as ‘embarrassing’ should never have been approved of within the marketing team. Now this is where the power of inclusion is important, if there was a team which included more black people within it where the powers that be; would such ideas be eliminated before being given the green light? Well I’m not sure but what I can tell you is that we’ll be seeing less cases such as the one being discussed.
Source: H&M advert on UK site featuring young model sporting "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" hoody
Source: Romelu Lukaku (Man United Football Player) Instagram post with his own creative interpretation
Celebrity figures also took part in the protests against H&M and as a result artists like The Weeknd who partner with the Swedish high street retailer cut ties with them and similarly G-Eazy who was set to collaborate with them in the near future also ended any potential relationship. Figures such as Diddy, LeBron James, Romelu Lukaku & many more decided to turn the situation into a more positive outlook on social media where it is rumoured that Diddy would offer the young boy a modelling contract. Is it right that situations like this have to happen to expose the need for inclusivity? Well creative network; The Dots decided to go on a mission to get more women representing society on panels at events. Earlier this week they released a list of 50 female speakers who are killing it right now which include a range of females from bloggers to CEO’s. Included on the list is Liv Little; editor of gal-dem, Pip Jamieson; founder of The Dots, Mercedes Benson; DJ & Marketer, Alex Goat; Livity CEO & many more. Check out the list here for the full 50.
Source: Liv Little; founder and editor of Gal-Dem (online-magazine for WOC)
Over the years the UK’s music industry has done alright in terms of the inclusion of black people but is that because they have been pressured to or is it because they have genuinely began to identify that there is a lot of black talent in music. Well it seems that BBC 1xtra may be beginning to identify that there is quite a lot of black talent, as they announced their 2018 Top 10 hotlist. Included on the list are artists such as Yxng Bane, Kojo Funds, Fredo, IAMDDB, Lotto Boyz and a few more where the majority are black. I’m not sure whether the list was intended for black music or not, but an artical from the official BBC Website referred to the list as a hotlist for black music. If that is the case then doesn’t that defeat the purpose of inclusion? If not then maybe 1xtra do seem to be getting it right since Yxng Bane described it as a “great feeling” and a “massive motivation”. However, it wasn’t long ago that the Brit Awards were slammed for ignoring black talent and were labelled as racists as the uproar sparked the hashtag; #BritsSoWhite. Well it was just yesterday that artists such as J Hus, Dave and Stormzy were nominated for numerous categories at the Brits this year where J Hus performed Did You See at the nominations party. It’s a great feeling that artists who represent black culture so well can also represent it among other cultures in a national award ceremony. J Hus leads the nominations alongside Ed Sheeran & Dua Lipa as he is up for Breakthrough Act, Single & Album. That is definitely something great for the culture. Winning such an award would be a physical sign that inclusivity is going in the right direction and will continue to do so as long as we keep fighting.
Source: J Hus performance at the Brit's Nominations party 2018
As much as we talk on including women and black people in this day and age, we also forget that young people are also victims of exclusion even though it may not always be evident. Recently the new royal couple; Harry & Meghan have began their mission as a royal couple and have decided that engaging in British youth would be an important commitment of theirs. The royal couple used one of their first visits to visit the only national radio station run by young people; Reprezent. Reprezent is based in Brixton and was created in order to create a better society for young people where they offer training and support for many young people across London. The radio station stands for the fact that young people deserve a voice and only makes sense why the couple decided to visit there. Members of Reprezent showed Harry and Meghan more about their culture and one even educated Harry on the British rapper Giggs, who he hadn’t heard of prior to the visit. The visit was described as genuine and is surely one to go down in history.
Source: Prince Harry & Meghan Markle visit Reprezent Radio station in Brixton
I believe it is important that everyone is represented in many different ways because if we are not represented how are we meant to be purchase your products, watch your content, listen to your channel or understand your views? Imagine if H&M had more black people in their team; would they lose out on potential partnerships, be protested against, have people boycott against you? No! Once people feel represented they’ll warm to your brand more and are happy to be part of your audience/market. Hopefully one day inclusivity would be just a word of the past rather than a word in debate.