Category#BlackBlogsMatter Challenge

Dear Pepsi, Your Apology Sucks

Pepsi released a commercial ad this week featuring model and Kardashian sister Kendall Jenner wandering into a protest and resolving the tensions by handing out Pepsi drinks.

The imagery was an homage to a popular #BlackLivesMatter photo.

And the world went awwwwwffffff!!

Pepsi faced immediate criticism and was violently, mercilessly and deservedly dragged on social media for launching this insensitive, racist campaign.

On Wednesday, Pepsi pulled the commercial and cancelled the remainder of the associated campaign. They issued the following statement:

Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.

Worst. Apology. Ever.

Let’s break this down.

Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize

  1.  “Clearly” is passive-aggressive AF. Much like “basically” and “accordingly”, it is a rude word masking as authority and sincerity.
  2. You apologize? Or are you sorry? Cuz there is a difference. Apologies are usually for people who are mad that they were called out. Sorrys are for people who have actual remorse.

We did not intend to make light of any serious issue

  1.  You didn’t??? Cuz it sure AF looks like you did.
  2. You didn’t make light of ANY serious issues, you made light of a very specific serious issue. And that issue is the murders of unarmed people of color by the police without appropriate review and justice. That is the very serious issue the carefully selected imagery you likely spent tens of thousands of dollars analyzing before you filmed, edited and launched this campaign very much made light of.
  3. If you weren’t intending to make light of the issue, what was your intention??? Inquiring minds really want to know. Cuz it looks like your for real were saying everything would be better if people would just drink more Pepsi and chill.

We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout

  1. That’s probably the only good thing you said … but the internet lasts foreverrrrrr tho. This isn’t going away just because the commercial stops airing.
  2. I can’t believe y’all admitted there was actually going to be more of this fuckery.

We also apologize to Kendall Jenner for putting her in this position

  1.  Kendall Jenner and her family have been profiting from the cultural appropriation of Black people for DECADES now. I used to really luh the Kardashians so I know this is true. The “position” that she was in is one she and her peoples are quite comfortable with. And I’m guessing y’all won’t be taking back the money you paid her so she gon’ be aight.
  2. Kendall Jenner is NOT the one you offended. She willingly performed work that you paid her for. Apologizing to her with more specificity than to the victims of police brutality or to their families or to the people who are on the front lines fighting for justice shows that you still don’t get it and likely never will.

Woosssaaahhh!! This is why we cannot have nice things!!

There are lots of people out there who think Black people and other people of color are too sensitive on these issues.

Ffff that bull$#%&, yo!

We have been too tolerant for too long. And we’re long overdue to speak up and speak out on the foolishness we see.

It is time for people and companies to stop giving lip-service to diversity, inclusion, sensitivity, caring, support and consciousness — only to turn around and do stuff like this then issue half-azzed apologies.

If you’re going to do stuff, use your whole azz! And if you don’t have an azz, get some padding or an implant or something. There’s all kinds of help out there if your azz is lacking.

Kendall Jenner and her peoples can help you out with that if you need it. They know a lot about using their azz and padding it as needed.

I digress. Woosah!

Just do better … Do better. DO BETTER!!

What does better look like??

Well, in Pepsi’s case, it would have been using all that brilliant market research not to do this in the first place. It would have been better to know that imagery associated with injustice and oppression should never be white-washed to peddle soft drinks.

But once Pepsi failed at that, it would have better to give a full explanation of their thinking and a sincere apology to the actual people who were hurt by police brutality and whose images were re-purposed for their narrow agenda … It would have been better to offer donations to the related causes …  It would have been better for Kendall Jenner to donate some if not all of her salary as well … It would have been better if Pepsi publicly committed to joining the fight for justice because of their error and used money from their sales to feed, bail out and defend protesters … It would have been better if Pepsi committed to working with organizations focused  increasing socially responsible behavior and understanding.

That’s what doing better looks like.

So the next time you find yourself making an egregious error in judgment along these lines, don’t just issue a half-azzed apology and move on.

Use your whole azz. And do better.

There’s still time, Pepsi. I hope you do better … cuz we’d hate to have to give up the sugary, bubbly deliciousness of your beverage and subsidiaries.

Do better, Pepsi. Do better, everyone. The streets are watching.

BONUS: Lessons from the #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge

I spent 28 days blogging about topics near, dear and difficult for me during the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge.

For me, this challenge was 2 things:

  • a way to force to get back into writing shape and rhythm
  • a way to force me to share the thoughts I’ve had that I too scared to let out so I slipped into inertia

I wasn’t looking to inspire or engage anyone. But I did.

I wasn’t looking to upset or offend. But I did that, too.

And I wasn’t looking to learn. But I did that as well.

I learned that people still expect an invitation. There were people who didn’t participate because they weren’t personally invited. It left them unsure about whether their voice were wanted or welcomed. I assumed anyone who felt passionate about the topic would happily jump in. That turned out not to be the case.

I learned that people will flake out on you. There were people who were very excited when the challenge was announced. There were others who started out posting and sharing with enthusiasm. That dwindled as the month went on. They got tired. So did I! Somewhere around Day 20, I honestly wanted to quit. But I dug deep and pushed thru it. Posting daily wasn’t easy for me and I know it wasn’t easy for anyone else. I’m grateful for everyone who joined, in whatever way they participated and for however long. I’m honored by those who crossed the finish line with me.

I learned that White Privilege really is fragile. I’d actually never hear the theory of white fragility before this challenge. I had no idea it was a real thing. My decision to tackle it turned out to be far more controversial than I ever thought it would be. But I’m glad that I did it and I’m glad for all the conversations, both public and private, that have come from that post and all the others.

I learned that Black Blogs really do Matter. There are so many of our voices in the blogosphere not getting the exposure and accolades we deserve. I found new bloggers in the HR space as well as in other spaces that are doing and writing dope things! I’m not sure I ever would have learned about them without this challenge. If we do not speak up and support each other, we all lose. We also have to share so others can see and learn what else is out there. New, diverse voices are needed and welcomed.

I learned that this is more than a one-month challenge. There are very few people addressing these topics head on in the HR space. People have called me brave for tackling the topics covered; I don’t feel that way. It took me over a year to muster the motivation to say what’s been trapped in my mind. I’m left wondering what differences I could have made if I’d spoken sooner … But I know I can’t stop. So I won’t. I commit to continue this conversation and these kinds of posts at least once a month. I encourage you to ask questions, publicly or privately. Because it is only thru sincere conversation that we’ll ever reach understanding and progress.

I’ve found my voice again. I plan to keep talking. I hope you’ll keep listening. I hope you’ll holla back.

Day 28 – Black Consciousness

Welcome to the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge! Throughout the 28 days of February, my posts will not (necessarily) be about HR, Leadership or Management topics.

This is the final post in the series.

Black Consciousness was a movement which began in South Africa in the 1960s.  The movement was founded by Steven Biko, who spent his life fighting against apartheid. He was jailed and tortured and died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody in 1977.

The movie “Cry Freedom” was made about his life starring Denzel Washington. This role marks the FIRST time Denzel was robbed of the Oscar. Sunday night’s Oscars was the SEVENTH time he was robbed … Meanwhile, Kevin Kline’s character somehow ended up the hero of the film, although it was Denzel’s Biko who lost his life in the fight for freedom and justice while all Kevin Kline did was write about Biko — but we now know this is typical based on the theory of White Fragility …

I digress.

Biko defined Black Consciousness as …

“the realization by the Black man of the need to rally together around the cause of their oppression and to operate as a group in order to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude. It seeks to demonstrate the lie that Black is an aberration from the ‘normal’ which is white”

This definition along with the circumstances surrounding Biko’s death goes to show that this World has not come nearly as far as it thinks it has or as far as it needs to go surrounding the issues of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic class.

Because 40 years after his death, we are still having these conversations daily and suffering the consequences of not heeding his wisdom all over the World.

No more.

We are not inferior to anyone. We deserve the same opportunities and privileges as every other group. We are entitled to our love, our looks, our culture, our thoughts, our opinions, our successes, our failures, our achievements and our stories. We have the right to be free and feel normal in whatever we choose to be. We are justified in working together to achieve this. We have the prerogative not to include or allow anyone else access to or joint credit our efforts.

We are not our ancestors. We are not bound by their limitations. We are not required to respond the same way that they did. We are allowed to take fresh approaches to these old problems — as long as we do it together.

I am excited by this. And I am ready for this fight.

Are you?

This blog challenge is over. But my challenge has just begun. Stay tuned.

Day 27 – Black Owned Businesses We Love

Welcome to the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge! Throughout the 28 days of February, my posts will not (necessarily) be about HR, Leadership or Management topics.

Black Owned Businesses face the same difficulties and discrimination as any other person or issue surrounding Black people. So in order to be successful and maintain a reputation of excellence, they must work harder.

For those Black Owned Businesses working hard to be successful and maintain a reputation of excellence, it is important to support them. Which is why I agreed highlighting Black Owned Businesses as part of this blog challenge was so important.

As I’ve shared in other posts, I got married in July 2016. It was a beautiful day.

And what made it so beautiful were our hardworking vendors. Most of which were Black Owned. I want to shout them out and encourage you to consider them for your events and needs:

  • Elana Walker Events … Elana Walker is a certified wedding planner based out of Raleigh NC. She plans weddings and weddings internationally. She has a weekly featured on NBC where she provides event and wedding etiquette advice. She has been featured on The Knot, Wedding Wire, Southern Bride, Munaluchie Bride and other prestigious magazines. She has won the Regional Planner of the Year Awards for several years running. Her team is amazing and she is an absolute visionary.
  • Donnell Perry Photography ... Donnell Perry is a photographer based out of Raleigh NC. He not only does wedding and engagement photos — but also professional headshots, family portraits, newborn portraits and events. He is fun and creative in his shot selection. He and his team are almost invisible during events but somehow capture everything. And his turnaround time for edited proofs and prints is crazy good!
  • Cupceez Cupcakes … Zenia Hayden is the owner operator. What she does with cupcake flavor pairings is unreal. Sweet. Savory. Icing. Fondant. Cake. Cupcake. Pies. You name it — Cupceez can do it.
  • Suite Paper … Amber Crudup is the owner operator. Her focus is unique printing for special events and weddings. From save-the-dates to invitations to programs, from start to finish Amber was fantastic. She took my vision and put it on paper. As annoying as I got about fonts and spacing, she took the feedback and adjusted while adding her own creative flare to make it just right. And she personally drove our printing 90 minutes instead of risking delays from shipping.
  • Cool Receptions … They handle lighting, sound and music. For our wedding, they also provided the photobooth. Our guests had fun with unlimited photos to keep as souvenirs. And we got a souvenir book with all the photobooth pictures to add to our collection. Their pricing was amazingly affordable and they stayed until the last guest left the building.
  • Makeup by CD … Charity Dunn is a professional makeup artist and consultant. She beat my face for the gawds, hunty!! Yaaaaaaasssss!! She does wedding and special event makeup at excellent prices for all races, ages and skin-types. And she will come to you with her suitcase full of magic and mirror of dreams in tow!
  • J. Kearney Designs … Jey Kearney personally designed and created one of a kind gowns for me and my daughters. From sketch to fabric to countless fittings to literally sewing my bustle before reception so the train wouldn’t be distracted from during the ceremony or photos. He is a committed and talented designer. I suggest you work with him now before he blows up and you can’t afford his pieces anymore.

Without these wonderful Black professionals, my day would not have been as magical.

I salute them and all the Black Businesses Owners out there working so hard to be the best they can be at what they do.

Tune in tomorrow for the FINAL post: Day 28 – Black Consciousness

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