With U.S. politics getting increasingly divisive, Nike spoke out pointedly about "equality" in a new spot launched last night during the Grammys.
The black-and-white spot is voiced by Michael B. Jordan and opens with the line "Is this the land history promised?" Drawing parallels between equality in sport and wider equality, it goes on to state that in the "field of play," you are "defined by actions, not your looks and beliefs" and includes lines such as: "The ball should bounce the same for everyone."
Black, white and Muslim athletes are featured, including LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, Gabby Douglas, and Victor Cruz. The spot is set to a new track by Alicia Keys, singing Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Prettybird director Melina Matsoukas helmed the spot for Wieden & Kennedy Portland. It kicks off a wider "Equality"-themed campaign in social media and on billboards and posters in cities around the U.S. and Canada, with imagery that features portraits of athletes and cultural icons. Nike will enable people to create their own "equality" avatar or social media filters to express their support and will also be selling "equality" t-shirts and shoes from Nike's annual Black History Month collection, which has historically supported organizations serving youth and their communities.
Nike added in a statement that the campaign follows its recent announcement of its partnerships with Mentor and PeacePlayers International, to drive change within communities. Nike will donate $5 million in 2017 to organizations that advance equality in communities across the U.S.