McDonald's highlights the work of Black activists at the BET Awards

Spots featured the likes of Ibram X. Kendi, Imani Ellis and Bubba Wallace

Published On
Jun 29, 2020

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McDonald’s devoted most of its media buy for Sunday night’s BET Awards to amplify the voices of Black activists, giving 13 people air time to tell their stories. It is the first time it has donated its air space in such a manner. 

McDonald’s has already spoken out in support of Black Lives Matter with its own spot and social media posts. Last year, it made the biggest overhaul to its African-American advertising in 16 years. And it has been a partner of BET since 1986.

The spots focused on Black individuals who work in fields including education, beauty products and photography. One featuredIbram X. Kendi, a professor and author of books including “How to be an Antiracist.” In his spot, Kendi announces the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. 

Another pre-show spot featured Netta Dobbins, co-founder of Mimconnect, a network for minority professionals, while ads running during the BET Awards included one featuring Melissa Butler, founder and CEO of The Lip Bar.

Another shows photographer Mark Clennon discussing Black art.


McDonald’s also aired its own spot, “Dreams,” which comes from Burrell Communications Group. That spot features an arrangement of the Nina Simone song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" and notes that McDonald’s supports the Boys & Girls Club of America.

McDonald’s says it worked with Wieden+Kennedy New York to identify the people showcased in the spots, and with OMD and Burrell Communications Group on the media buy.

McDonald’s declined to say how much ad space it bought during the BET Awards this year versus prior years.