Through New Year's Day, we're counting down the best brand ideas and campaigns of 2020.
No. 3: Plenty of brands weighed in on the Black Lives Matter movement this year, but Beats by Dre cut to the heart of the matter with a searing spot from Translation that asked the real question of people who love (and appropriate) Black culture: “Do You love Black people?” The spot pulled together an all-star lineup of production talents: Prettybird’s Melina Matsoukas directed, Solange Knowles created the score, Lena Waithe wrote the spot's script, while Tobe Nwigwe performed it.
Beats by Dre delivers a gut punch with its powerful new spot. “You love Black culture, but do you love me?” it asks, against a montage of captivating scenes of Black individuals from all walks of life. There are sports stars like NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace and tennis pro Naomi Osaka, artists such as rapper Lil Baby, and activists and community figures like Janaya Future Khan and the Compton Cowboys. In each scene, they stare straight into the camera, challenging the viewer to consider what their love for each of their contributions to the world—whether it be in sports, music, or entertainment—actually means when Black people each day still need to fight for equality and justice.
To create the spot, Beats assembled a powerhouse lineup of talent. It was created out of Translation and directed by Prettybird’s Melina Matsoukas (“Queen & Slim,” “Master of None,” “Insecure,”), who also recently helmed Amazon’s ballet-themed holiday ad. Solange Knowles provided the score, and actor and screenwriter Lena Waithe (“Master of None”) wrote the spot's poem, read by musician Tobe Nwigwe.
The striking combination of word and image deliver a complex message, celebrating Black creativity while questioning the world in which it has been able to thrive.
“The influence of Black culture extends beyond their demographic, and yet their voices are often muted when it comes to attribution and opportunities,” said Translation CEO and Founder Steve Stoute in a statement. “Beats, Translation and everyone involved wanted to create a piece that would let our next generation know that they are seen and they are heard and they are enough. Beats was founded and named after a Black man who has always been a voice for the youth, and we are eager to continue using the platform he built to help amplify Black voices now and forever.”
The spot is running digitally on Apple Music, YouTube and Instagram. It’s also set to air during the NBA Draft, the afternoon NFL Thanksgiving game as well as during the League’s other games throughout the rest of the year.
Read the spot's full transcript below:
You love me.
You love me not.
You love Black culture.
But do you love me?
You love how I sound: My voice, these beats, this flow.
Not me tho right?
You love how I look: My hair, these lips, this skin.
But Me? Nah
We don’t get to exist.
We’re forced to survive.
We still fight…
We still play while the world burns...
On fields that ain’t even level.
All men are created equal?
That’s my favorite part.
You hate us so deeply...
But you’re still so impressed.
Why can't you see?
There’s history in our skin
You built this country on our backs
I’m him. He’s me.
She. Us. We...
Are all Black.
Love me. Or not.
We love each other deeply.
We gon be us.
We gon break bread.
We gon defy gravity.
You love my culture...
But do you love me?
What a world that would be.