The Creative Case for Diversity
Why diversity in the artistic world is a necessity not a “nice to have”
It is almost laughable to be writing an article on the creative case for diversity knowing that so much of our current creative world draws from the mixing and blending of cultures and aesthetics. People who don’t know a word of Arabic get tattoos in that language and J.Crew – just about as white as it gets when it comes to the clean cut all American style- will have you spotting Ankara prints (drawn from west African traditional garb). The case is made already. Inclusion of the arts and aesthetics of the wider world is what helps drive large brands across the globe. The real creative case is in creating room for the descendants of these cultures to have a seat at the table and a slice of the pie. This shows itself in a couple of ways namely in Access, Ownership and Recognition
Most creatives of color can probably think of their leap into the creative sector as just that. A leap… of epic proportions. Primarily because most of these creatives are also probably from working class backgrounds. This means that the primary means of gaining access into the secure and lucrative parts of this industry – through connections- is not something they really have much access to. If those in positions of power aren’t looking specifically to hire these creatives or don’t have a means by which they themselves have access to them, the status quo remains the same.
Ownership– Getting paid. Need I say more? From unpaid internships to errant reap offs of ideas, there's a lot that could be done to ensure that the creative economy is inclusive of people of color. Organizations could do a little more to include internet trend setters.
The reality is that being complacent on diversity is not something most creative departments can afford to do. These departments need to be able to understand the audience that they are creating for in order to effectively get them to empathize with their messages. People of color are demanding that brands create products and messaging that resonates. As a demographic that’s influencing mainstream America and inspiring successful pop cultural trends, both their needs and voices are necessary considerations at tables where decisions are being made