This Mobile Game From GS&P Opens a Window Into Black History

A short film amplifies the experience

"Have you ever been told you talk white?" "Has anyone ever touched your hair without asking?" "What's the line between cultural appropriation and appreciation?" "Have the 2020 BLM protests been good or bad for the Black community?"

You'll encounter those questions and more in Preach, an Instagram/Facebook Stories game developed for Black History Month by the BLK Employee Resource Group at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Here's a brief demo for the project, which offers an inclusive, thoughtful take on some serious social issues:

"We chose to do a game because we wanted to create a low-pressure environment for Black people to share their experiences," GS&P junior communications strategist John German, one the game's lead designers, tells Muse. "We felt with all of the trauma that has gone on in the last year, it would be a good thing to lighten the mood, but still open the floor to discussions that need to be had."

"We pulled from common experiences from our upbringing. We asked other GS&P BLK group members and our friends, family, and social media connections [for contributions, too]," adds Ezana Ataklti, a strategy intern at the agency, and also a Preach designer. "We wanted to include many different experiences to show the wide range of people who make up our culture."

The pair strove to "create a platform that allows Black people to go deeper in conversations impacting our community," Atakltki says. "It is meant for any and every Black person. There are questions for everyone."

BLK also created a seven-minute film, "One Day at a Time," with members sharing their views on self-care and identity as they navigate the pandemic, racial strife and various aspects of the agency life:

"I believe the industry has done a tremendous job talking the talk, but has done a poor job walking the walk," says GS&P senior brand strategist Briana Patrick. "We've seen new positions created for agency diversity leaders, and we've seen an influx in job postings for 'BIPOC' talent. However, when we look at marquee moments like the Super Bowl and later learn that less than five people of color were in the director's chair, or that only 45 percent of the ads were inclusive of the world we live in, one must question if true change has occurred."

"One stride towards social justice I hope to see is the implementation of workforce diversity data that is measured and publicly share on an annual basis," she says. "Who's getting cast for the jobs, internally and externally? And how do those numbers compare to historical data? There needs to be greater accountability for agencies and the industry."

Indeed, agencies have become more transparent, but there's still a long way to go.

"If there is a commitment to constantly improving and allowing every voice to be heard and respected, then I believe the future of this business will be a bright one and will serve as a shining example for other industries to follow," German says.

Recent like-minded initiatives include the "Black-Owned Business Challenge" across five top agencies; Square's powerful profiles of Black entrepreneurs; and AR filters from Color of Change that place virtual images of civil rights icons atop pedestals once occupied by statues of Confederate leaders.

CREDITS

—Video Participants – All participants were from the agency

Dr. Jennifer Gomes
Asari Aibangbee
Darrell Chambers
Kelly Kikuchi
David Sullivan
Thaddeus Coates
Mosito Ramaili
Nwabisa Tolom
Josh German
Ezana Ataklti
Shareina Chandler
Jamal Rusk
Lyniece Hill
Tysjah Pitchford
Sydnie Davis
Zack Browne
Tajj Badil-Abish

—Preach

Creative:
Josh German
Ezana Ataklti
Karyna Luong
Shareina Chandler
Malika Reid

Creative Technologist:
Joshua Blair

Production:
Jack Sloman
Alex Healy

Strategy:
Briana Patrick
Dr. Jennifer Gomes
Matthew Hudgins

—BLK One Day at a Time

Creative:
Nwabisa Tolom
Shareina Chandler
Malika Reid

Editor:
David Sullivan

Production:
Jack Sloman
John Dutton

Strategy:
Briana Patrick
Dr. Jennifer Gomes

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