Do Black Lives really matter? Are Big Brands supporting black lives matter and the fight against racial injustice?
The largest worldwide protests ever seen in history have been memorialized in the last couple of weeks with scenes of tens of thousands of people from New York to Paris, sweeping through to Sydney and beyond. We have seen young and old people from near and far raising their voices and ‘taking the knee’ in honor of those who have suffered injustice and even death simply because of the tone of skin they entered this world in.
Our mission here at BlackAtlanta.com is to impact the lives of people of color in the business world who may have been overlooked and pushed away because of their ethnicity rather than their skills and contribution to the market place.
As Black-owned business founders we want to take a look at the world’s top 10 brands, how have they responded during this time?
At the time of writing, today’s top 10 most valuable brands in the world according to forbes.com are shown in order of brand value here below:
- Apple $205bn
- Google $168bn
- Microsoft $125bn
- Amazon $97bn
- Facebook $89bn
- Coca-Cola $59bn
- Samsung $53bn
- Disney $52bn
- Toyota $45bn
- McDonalds $44bn
Starting from the 10th largest company in the world, we will review what the big brands are doing and how that is being received in the fight against racial injustice and specifically regarding the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
10th – McDonalds
“They were one of us: Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Alton Sterling. Botham Jean. Atatiana Jefferson. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd” @McDonalds (twitter).
In an open letter Joe Erlinger, President, McDonald’s USA shared how the company “tended to stay silent” on issues that do not directly involve its business.
According to Business Insider, McDonald’s announced it would donate to $1 million the National Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), with a tweet stating “Black Lives Matter.”
9th – Toyota
The company tweeted, “Our message to those who are hurting is: We see you. We hear you. And, we stand with you and for you.” @Toyota.
In a message released via twitter, the company shared, “So now more than ever, we will encourage a constructive dialog to guide our actions as we continue to improve how we contribute to society, and inspire unity in every aspect of our lives, our business and our communities. Toyota will find additional ways of doing this by working together with our community partners across North America.”
No other public announcements of the “additional ways” were available at the time of writing.
8th – Disney
In their 3 June 2020 announcement, Disney pledged $5m to support social justice Nonprofit Organizations
The company showed monetary solidarity “beginning with a $2 million donation to the NAACP to further their longstanding work promoting social justice by eliminating disparities and racial discrimination through their advocacy and education programs.”
Disney also commented on their previous efforts and support through “millions of dollars in grants to help students from underrepresented groups make the dream of higher education a reality, including $2.5 million to the United Negro College Fund.”
7th – Samsung
No public statement found. Should we expect more from such a global brand and technology icon? If they have made a statement and we missed it, please tag it in the comments section below.
6th – Coca-Cola
In accompany wide townhall address and media release, the Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said, “I, like you, am outraged, sad, frustrated, angry. Companies like ours must speak up as allies to the Black Lives Matter movement. We stand with those seeking justice and equality.”
Quincey announced on behalf of Coca-Cola, $2.5 million in grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation for the Equal Justice Initiative to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of criminal justice reform; the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in support of the “Policing Reform Campaign;” and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to deliver a platform to bring people together for powerful conversations that matter and inspire social change and their current “Campaign for Equal Dignity.”
5th – Facebook
CEO Mark Zuckerberg had been under attack by members of the public for decisions not to remove certain posts that many deemed to be racially inflammatory, he issued a public statement on his personal Facebook page saying in part “To members of our Black community: I stand with you. Your lives matter. Black lives matter. We have so far to go to overcome racial injustice in America and around the world, and we all have a responsibility and opportunity to change that.”
On June 18, 2020 – Zuckerberg posted this, “The last few weeks have made clear how much work is ahead to achieve racial justice and equity in this country. To help drive progress, Facebook is committing over $200 million to support Black businesses and organizations.
We’ve been speaking with Black business owners to understand how we can best support them, and in the short term, we’ve heard that financial support can go a long way, especially during a pandemic and economic downturn that have disproportionately impacted communities of color.”
4th – Amazon
Amazon said it would donate $US10 million to various organizations that are “working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of Black and African Americans,”.
These groups include the NAACP, Brennan Centre for Justice, and the Equal Justice Initiative. “Together, we stand in solidarity with the Black community-our employees, customers, and partners-in the fight against systemic racism and injustice,” it said.
3rd – Microsoft
In an email from CEO Satya Nadella to Microsoft employees, Satya committed to increasing Microsoft’s representation and culture of inclusion. “We will build on our diversity and inclusion (D&I) momentum from the past five years by adding an additional $150M of D&I investment, and will double the number of Black and African American people managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders in the United States by 2025.”
In closing, Satya commented that the efforts will require real work and focus. “We will listen and learn. We will take feedback and we will adjust.”
2nd – Google
On Jun 17, 2020 – Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a letter detailing Google’s commitment to racial equity.
In it’s first commitment Google said it will be “working to improve Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025. To help achieve this, we’ll post senior leadership roles externally as well as internally, and increase our investments in places such as Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, and London, where we already have offices.”
Financially, Pichai talked about how racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity. So he announced a $175 million+ economic opportunity package to support Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers, in addition to YouTube’s $100 million fund to amplify Black creators and artists.
Check out the full statement of initiatives here.
1st – Apple
Apple CEO tweeted that “The unfinished work of racial justice and equality call us all to account. Things must change, and Apple’s committed to being a force for that change. Today, I’m proud to announce Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, with a $100 million commitment.”
Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative will be headed by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President, Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.
“The initiative will challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exists for communities of color and particular for the black community,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
Have your say
That’s the top 10 big brands.
How do the above responses resonate with you, is it a good enough start, what else should be done?
Have your say in the comments below, just ask that you please remember to be objective, constructive, and respectful to others, we want to promote positive dialogue that leads to real change.