This flag at half-staff calls out the hypocrisy of July 4th

Courageous Conversation campaign from Goodby Silverstein & Partners reminds the public of 400 years of Black oppression

Published On
Jun 30, 2021

Editor's Pick

A flag at half-staff signifies distress and mourning. It serves as a reminder of what was lost, as well as a symbol of respect for the dead. Ahead of Independence Day in the U.S., Courageous Conversation Global Foundation is marking not just a single tragedy but 400 years of enslavement, segregation and discrimination with a campaign that flies the “African-American Flag” at half-staff.

An augmented reality Instagram lens from Goodby Silverstein & Partners lets users place a flagpole anywhere, along with the flag originally created by artist David Hammons—a stylized version of the U.S. flag in the colors of the Pan-African flag, with black stars on a green field and red and black stripes. Users can record their own messages to share how they feel.

“When you see a flag at half-staff, you wonder what’s happened—a mass shooting, a prominent statesman or stateswoman passing away, etc. This specific flag at half-staff is representative of the constant suffering Black America has endured for far too long,” said Creative Director Anthony O’Neill in a statement.

Though timed for the Fourth of July, the campaign is an indictment of the holiday that purports to celebrate freedom but was begun by a group of mostly slaveholders, who then enshrined the practice as official doctrine in their new country. A launch video opens with an 1852 quote from Frederick Douglass: “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

“Even to this day, on the Fourth of July, Black Americans do not experience the freedom and liberation that were stitched into the fabrics [of the makings] of our nation,” added Glenn Singleton, founder and president of CCGF, in the statement.

The film also invites viewers to begin a conversation with others, and includes calls to action, such as contacting senators to support the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, which passed the House of Representatives in 2020 but, like many things, has been held up by Republican opposition in the Senate.

“We recognize that at times revisiting the past can be painful,” added Creative Director Rony Castor, but we also think it’s extremely important to revisit these moments to better understand the present.”




Jun 30, 2021
Client :
Courageous Conversation Global Foundation
Agency :
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Board Chair Courageous Conversation Global Foundation :
Glenn E. Singleton
Director of Communications Courageous Conversation :
Gabriel Joshua Gima
Executive Director Courageous Conversation Global Foundation :
Andrea Johnson
Co-Chairmen :
Jeff Goodby
Co-Chairmen :
Rich Silverstein
Chief Creative Officer :
Margaret Johnson
Creative Director :
Anthony O’Neill
Creative Director :
Rony Castor
Art Director :
Shantice Edwards
Copywriter :
Alex Petosa
President :
Derek Robson
Assistant Account Manager :
Rachel Diaz
Director of Communications :
Meredith Vellines
Partner Head of Brand Strategy :
Bonnie Wan
Partner Head of Communication Strategy :
Christine Chen
Brand Strategist :
Darien Ahn
Communications Strategist :
Matt McNamara
Co-Director of Production :
Margaret Brett-Kearns
Co-Director of Production :
Leila Gage
Director of Film Content & Partnerships :
JP Patterson
Line Producer :
Andrew Devansky
Director of Photography :
Mark Sandhoff
Photographer :
Emilio Diaz
Camera Operator :
Andrew Butte
Senior Print Producer/Art Buyer :
Noah Dasho
Production :
GS&P Labs
Director of Creative Technology :
Nathan Shipley
Executive Producer :
Tena Goy
Creative Technologist :
Shan Jin
Design Technologist :
Joshua Blair
Creative Technologist :
August Bjornberg
Editorial and Audio Post :
Director of Elevel Post Production :
Michael Damiani
Senior Editor :
David Sullivan
Post Producer :
Allison Lambert
Audio Engineer :
Nic Dematteo
Color :
Joseph Bicknell
Color :
Company 3
Director of Business Affairs :
Judy Ybarra
Design Director :
Ryan Self

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