STRIKING, COPY-LED CAMPAIGN TEASES THE REMARKABLE, FORGOTTEN STORIES BEHIND BRITAIN’S UNSUNG BLACK HEROES
Created by Havas London, the outdoor, social and long copy print campaign for The Black Plaque Project will run across donated media sites over the next 12 months -
It was a total honour for Absolute to be the post partner and look after the edit and grade for Havas on their bold new promotional campaign for The Black Plaque Project – the initiative it co-created with Nubian Jak Community Trust to end the posthumous discrimination of Britain’s Black heroes.
Just 1.6% of London’s official blue plaques celebrating notable figures of the past are dedicated to Black people. The Black Plaque Project seeks to rectify this discrepancy by installing specially designed black plaques across the capital to celebrate the lives of some of its many notable Black residents – who, despite their achievements, continue to be officially overlooked.
Comprising a series of striking outdoor and poster executions, immersive long copy print ads, social activations and a podcast series, the campaign proudly tells the remarkable, yet largely forgotten, stories behind Britain’s unsung Black heroes including...A PART-TIME MODEL FROM ISLINGTON, PAINTED MORE TIMES THAN MONA LISA – the story of Fanny Eaton, the mysterious muse of pre-Raphaelite artists that challenged racist stereotypes around beauty;
LONDON WAS SWINGING BEFORE THE 1960s – the story of Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, who kept the British public entertained during World War II and who died on-stage during the Blitz;
THE BRAVEST CENTRE-FORWARD IN HISTORY – the story of Justin Fashanu, Britain’s first openly gay professional footballer;
IN 1930 ETHEL SCOTT REPRESENTED BRITAIN. IT’S TIME BRITAIN REPRESENTED ETHEL SCOTT – the story of Scott, the first Black woman to represent Great Britain in international athletics.
MUSICIAN 1940. BALLET DANCER 1950. PRO WRESTLER 1970.FORGOTTEN 2020 – the story of John Lagey aka Johnny Kwango, the pioneering musician turned professional wrestler who went on to receive international fame.
Four plaques have been installed since the project was launched at the start of November to mark the end of Black History Month and signal a commitment to the ongoing celebration of Black history throughout the entire year: pianist Winifred Atwell, the first Black person to have a number one hit in the UK, in Brixton, where she spent her early years in the capital; Len Dyke, Dudley Dryden and Tony Wade, the fathers of the Black hair care and beauty industry in the 1960s and among Britain’s first Black millionaires, in Tottenham, where they opened their first shop; Fela Kuti, the musician widely acknowledged as the pioneer of Afrobeat, in Greenwich where he studied at Trinity College of Music; and Errol Brown, the Jamaican-born front man of funk and soul band Hot Chocolate,at the legendary RAK Studios in St. John’s Wood, where he recorded the band’s seminal hit, You Sexy Thing.
Vicki Maguire, Chief Creative Officer at Havas London, says: “How could anyone hear about the woman who became the first to serve in the Royal Navy – by disguising herself as a man for more than a DECADE –and not itch to know more? Or the woman who inspired Elton to sit down at the piano? Or the ‘man who discovered Brixton’? It’s not just wrong that these stories have been forgotten from a historic and cultural point of view, but a travesty from a storytelling one – because they’re just so damn interesting. They deserve to be heard, just as these remarkable people deserve to be remembered.”
Dr Jak Beula, founder of the Nubian Jak Community Trust, adds: “Black history is British history. For generations, Black pioneers have been making positive, lasting change to the social fabric of this country, often in spite of systematic discrimination. Unfortunately, this discrimination persists to this day in the way we remember both these individuals and their remarkable achievements. That is why this campaign – to tell these stories, celebrate our rich, diverse past and to inspire future generations is so important. There are so many more stories that need to be told.”
Creative agency: Havas LondonCEO: Xavier ReesManaging director: Jennifer BlackGlobal brand director: Tamara GreeneAccount director: Sophie AmodioAccount executive: Hannah ThomasChief Creative Officer: Vicki MaguireCreative partner: Andy LockleyCopywriter: Ken AbalosArt director: Sam AdioHead of production: Ali CooperAgency producer: Joseph Ogunmokun, Nikola OksiutyczStrategy director: Ravi Matharu, Ally ChapmanJunior strategist: Milan Zum Hebel, Asa NowersHead of creative services: Shaun MusgroveResource assistant: Evie UngemuthHead of business affairs: Annika SintimArt buying director: Claire LillisHead of design: Lorenzo FruzzaDigital design director: Simon BakerDiversity and inclusion manager: Bukola GarryPR: Faye Raincock, Ollie DearnProduction company: HKX ProductionsDirector: Andy LockleyExecutive Producer: Lou HardyProducer: Adam JavesAssistant producer: Phil SheedContent creator: Simon AllinsonDoP: Felix SchmilinskyCamera operator: Jonathan SmithGaffer: Jonathan Smith1st AC: Claire SmithSound recordist: Ryan WindleyRunner: Liam GreenCamera equipment: FilmstorePost-production: Absolute PostEditor: Tom HigginsColourist: Juliette WilemanExecutive Producer: Jenna Le NouryProduction Assistant: Ava Millard
Post-production (30” trailer): Bubble TVExecutive producer: Kabir MalikColourist: Marty McMullanEditor: Ashley JoinerSound Engineer: Liam ConwellSound mix: Dave Williams With special thanks to Gregg White, MD, Envy Advertising
Podcast production: UneditedCo-owner and Producer: Andrew Spence