Black History Month 2023: Celebrating and Giving Back to the Black Community
During Black History Month, our awareness of what brands are doing in the marketplace is heightened. First of all, we strongly believe that it’s never a time to be MIA. All brands should in some way recognize and honor this key moment in time. While we recommend authentic engagement with Black consumers 365, Black History Month provides the ideal opportunity to deepen that engagement with special campaigns and initiatives that showcase the rich contributions of African Americans to our world—yesterday, today and tomorrow.
This year, we were excited by the many brands that evolved the celebration of Black culture with programs designed to empower, build and strengthen our community in meaningful ways beyond the 28 days of February. We wind down Black History Month 2023 with a look at some of our favorites.
JCPenney’s Hope & Wonder™ brand continued to build in 2023 with the relaunch of its Black History Month collection. In 2022, JCPenney launched Hope & Wonder™, its purpose-driven private label brand of apparel, gifts, accessories and home products for everyone in the family to celebrate moments that matter. This year, JCPenney will donate 100% of net profits from the Black History Month collection to Black Girls Smile, a nonprofit organization providing Black women and girls with education, resources and support to lead mentally healthy lives.
Hope & Wonder™ was created and curated in-house by JCPenney’s Creative Coalition, a team of BIPOC designers whose inspiration brought the collection to life. Several JCPenney associates and their families are also featured as models in the collection, which can be found in stores and online.
DICK’S Sporting Goods
DICK’S Sporting Goods launched its exclusive #difference makers activation to honor and pay tribute to Black American individuals and organizations who are creating history each and every day. DICK’S identified four organizations that are making a difference in the lives of Black youth in sports – Harlem Lacrosse, New York Junior Tennis & Learning, Downtown Boxing Gym and The SEAD ProjectTM – to highlight and feature on the company’s official Instagram during the month of February. DICK’S also gave these organizations a $25,000 donation to support their work, and reaffirm its commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace by continuing to advance progress towards organizational representation through 2025 and beyond with teammate Dialogue Circles and specialized trainings, new recruitment partnerships and investments in BIPOC organizations.
Old Navy & Gap
Old Navy partnered with three incredible artists – Lo Harris, Temi Coker and Destiny Darcel – on the latest collection of its Project WE tees. Project WE is an ongoing series of tees featuring powerful, Afro-centric graphics from a diverse group of artists to imagine a much more inclusive world through art. Additionally, Old Navy will donate $50,000 to the Fifteen Percent Pledge to continue support of their work to advance racial and economic equity for the Black community.
As an ongoing partner of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, in 2023 Gap Inc. has committed to increasing its pipeline programs by 15 percent to drive access and opportunity for the Black community within the Gap Inc. family of brands starting with early empowerment programs. This Black History Month, Gap is very proud to donate $50,000 to the Fifteen Percent Pledge in continued support of their work to advance racial and economic equity for the Black community.
Gap also collaborated with designer and activist, Aurora James throughout the month to showcase her favorite Black-owned businesses on Gap’s Instagram. She kicked things off with an IG takeover, following up with weekly posts highlighting the businesses she selected.
Understanding that African Americans have historically faced health care disparities that have impacted the quality of life in Black communities, biotech corporation, Genentech, utilized Black History Month to create greater awareness of the challenges facing Black patients who have multiple sclerosis. According to the Office of Minority Health, African Americans are generally at higher risk for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS and there are ongoing initiatives to address those health issues. However, although nearly 15% of the MS population is Black, the disease is often underdiagnosed or undertreated. Using the latest installment of its #MSVisibility campaign, Genentech highlights the social determinants of health faced by Black patients, as well as the lack of cultural competency among healthcare professionals and the misperception that only white women are affected by MS. Beyond Black History Month, Genentech’s goal is to empower Black people with MS to self-advocate to receive better care, including getting the right diagnosis and starting early treatment.
Apple commemorated Black History Month with exclusive content and curated efforts celebrating Black culture and community. Additionally, through its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), Apple expanded its support of five organizations focused on uplifting Black and Brown communities by unlocking creative potential through technology. Customers could show their support with this year’s Black Unity Collection, which includes a special-edition Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop, alongside a new matching watch face and iPhone wallpaper.
Every day, listeners can open Apple Podcasts to hear from some of the world’s most inspiring and influential Black voices. This year, Apple’s collections honoring Black History Month 2023 features Black creators offering essential historical context and insightful perspectives on news and culture.
Kohl’s expanded its partnerships with Black-owned businesses, amplifying the voices of Black associates and relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to magnify Black joy and pay tribute to Black trailblazers across the country.
The company’s “Celebrate and Elevate” spotlight collection concept was brought to life by Kohl’s Black Diversity Design Council (DDC) captains, with art created by Black DDC members, to develop authentic products that resonate with Black customers.
Kohl’s will also proudly support the National Urban League through an investment of $100,000 to uplift its mission to promote economic empowerment, access to health care, educational, job and housing opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for the underserved in America.
McDonald’s partnered with actress and singer Keke Palmer to highlight 10 visionaries through its Black & Positively Golden Change Leaders program. With this particular initiative, these creators will receive $20,000 each ($200,000 collectively) to positively impact their communities by advocating financial literacy, equality across the education system, mental health and more. The 10 leaders will be featured in a national campaign voiced by Palmer. Their stories will also be shared on McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Instagram.
These brilliant, young, Black leaders have worked every day on amazing initiatives in their communities. Over the next year, McDonald’s is helping them take their missions to a bigger stage. Start getting to know them on Instagram @WeAreGolden.