The founders of Saturday Morning look forward to when it no longer needs to exist
A group of top African-American creative vets came together nearly four years ago, in the wake of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, to form the Saturday Morning coalition to promote peace and social change around racial inequities. Now, its current leaders, Cartwright Founder Keith Cartwright; Geoff Edwards, alum of agencies including TBWA\Media Arts Lab, R/GA and CAA Marketing; Cheil Worldwide Global Executive Creative Director Jayanta Jenkins; and Kin Co-Founder Kwame Taylor-Hayford, have come out with a letter following yet another spate of killings, including those of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
The letter asserts:
We cannot fight for our equality without also fighting to redefine so called whiteness, and the belief that this world is a birth right of a select few. When in fact it’s a co-op of complex cultures and ideals built for every man and every woman.
These are the struggles that we have to face to make sure that this moment is not just another moment. In order for us to find true equality there has to be sacrifice and not just sympathy. Otherwise this moment will fade away like so many before it, and we’ll find ourselves here again asking why we are still here.
Since Saturday Morning began, the founders have developed both independent and brand projects to promote their mission. Those have included Peace Briefs, an underwear line that was designed to save lives—the waistbands are inscribed with lines like “Please don’t shoot,” “I have a family” and “I am a father,” designed to communicate who they are to the police, if the wearer were stopped and asked to raise their arms. Saturday Morning also previously teamed with Spotify to develop its “Black History Is Happening Now” platform and it partnered last year with Procter & Gamble on its gripping film “The Look,” which aims to tackle unconscious bias afflicting black men.
"We’ve used creativity to get our message out in the world and we believe it’s affected people’s perception of black lives," says Jenkins. "We’re now branching out and becoming a more complete organization, developing more of our own intellectual property and extending our message beyond the realm of marketing and advertising."
In its letter, Saturday Morning maintains a position of optimism despite brutality that continues. “We have to be optimistic,” says Cartwright. “It’s our belief that progress is happening, but also takes time.” Yet “the problem can’t take as long to solve as it took to create.”
When asked about their reaction to the letter from 600-plus black ad professionals recently calling for agency leaders to finally take real action to fight address systemic racism in the industry, Taylor-Hayford says, “No longer can agencies say ‘We can’t find them, where are they?’ They have an Excel spreadsheet with 600 names. Use it.”
As for ensuring that other black talents continue to thrive, "Our only hope is that their journey won’t be as difficult as ours," says Edwards. "We hope this organization and our careers make it easier for the next generation. But only time will tell.”
The founders assert that ultimately, the goal is for Saturday Morning to become obsolete. “The true success of our organization can only be realized when Saturday Morning no longer needs to exist,” the letter says. “We encourage others in this moment to take bold steps and not shy away from the difficult issues of racism and injustice. Now is the time for action.”
See the Saturday Morning leaders today during their roundtable at Ad Age’s Future of Creativity event.