In 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized the second month of the year as a time carved out for the annual appreciation of Black history and culture. Each year, people refine what it means to celebrate in a way that does justice to the remarkable achievements of Black leaders. Black history continues to unfold and be created, through art, business, fashion, music and more.
Throughout February, Ad Age is highlighting Black creative excellence, with guest editors highlighting projects and offering others the opportunity to reflect on their successes. This year, Ad Age is partnering with Outfront to showcase creative talent on digital out-of-home media across the U.S.
Ad Age is also tracking how businesses are participating. Here's a look at how some major brands are choosing to honor Black History Month in 2023.
Women-first dating and social networking app Bumble worked with WORTHI on a campaign called #LoveLettersToBlackWomen. To kick off the campaign, they partnered with creative director and musician Jesse Boykins and actor Keith Powers to co-create the content piece below.
They also partnered with Black creators (Prince & Tati), celebrities (Cameron Hamilton, Ari'el Stachel, Dominique Jackson) and real Bumble members to capture and share their testimonies to the Black women in their lives and around the world. The creative strategy and production were led by BIPOC individuals to ensure the storytelling was kind, authentic and supportive.
Spotify launched Frequency Zine, a social series focusing on dynamic artists who embody the boundless future of Black music. The series highlights six Black artists across genre-specific playlists, including Indie, Dance/Electronic, Rock, Pop and more. The first artists to be featured in Frequency Zine included Austin Millz, Bree Runway, Chiiild, Connie Constance, Foggieraw and Kelela.
We got next, now, and the future.— Frequency (@OurFrequency) February 9, 2023
Stay tuned... pic.twitter.com/8xo47Yft1n
Spotify listeners are also receiving recommendations for audiobooks such as “The 1619 Project” developed by Nikole Hannah–Jones, “Son of Elsewhere” by Elamin Abdelmahmoud, “We Over Me” by Devale Ellis and Khadeen Ellis, and “Finding Me” by Viola Davis.
The platform is also showcasing thought-provoking conversations from some of Spotify’s top Black podcast creators—including “The Unbothered Network” by Jemele Hill, “We Said What We Said with Rickey and Denzel” by Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion, and The Ringer’s “Higher Learning” with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay.
Apple’s Black Unity Collection features a special-edition Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop and matching watch face. The company is also debuting a wallpaper inspired by the creative process of mosaic, with green, red, black and yellow shapes arranged abstractly in an homage to the Pan-African flag.
The App Store will spotlight apps such as Dot’s Home, an award-winning game designed to educate users on housing disparities, and financial wellness apps such as CapWay, Goalsetter and Altro, which are forging creative solutions to disparities within Black communities.
Apple Music and Apple Books will showcase Black artists by connecting readers and listeners to art by Black tastemakers that had a ripple effect on popular culture. Lastly, Apple News will combine compelling reporting about the Black experience in America with analysis and commentary from top journalists.