Many brands have put the spotlight on Black communities in the U.S. since George Floyd was murdered by a police officer last year. But few have emphasized the idea of Black excellence as strongly as Hennessy has in “Dear Destiny,” the cognac brand’s newest ad campaign that was lent an inspiring hand from hip-hop star Nas.
Based a letter from Nas—full name: Nasir Jones—to his daughter Destiny, the spot retells the history of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, a once-thriving Black neighborhood in the city often called “Black Wall Street” that was burned to the ground by white supremicists in 1921. Now, 100 years later, Hennessy wants to recapture the ambition of that community that exemplified Black excellence.
“Dear Destiny,” the ad, narrated by Nas himself, opens. “I wanted you to see something I never saw; feel something our family had never grasped: Black excellence. Something like the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1921.” Vibrant portrayals of life on Black Wall Street, coupled with archival footage, show the power of the community in the ad, which reminds viewers that Greenwood’s creation was as intentional as its downfall.