Nike has launched a new ad during Black History Month featuring Nike-sponsored athletes such as Lebron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Gabby Douglas and other famous athletes using their voices to preach about the value of Equality and inspiring people to make a change in their communities and neighborhoods.
Since the ad featured many sports stars, students in the school had lots to say about it. One senior, Maurice Roberts said, “it was a good idea to use popular athletes to convey a very important message about equality.” Many students have famous athletes as their role models, even Mr. Roberts who went on to say that LeBron James was his favorite player. It seems Nike tapped into an emotional part of the younger generation especially since a lot of them are looking up to their sports idols these days.
Student-athletes such as Jasmine Mcbean were happy to know that the sports industry is starting to promote equality like many other industries. “I feel like what they’re doing is a very positive thing,” she said.
The entire lesson behind the ad is to inspire people to make a change in their communities and neighborhoods which would be the first step to promote equality and when asked if the ad inspired him, Mr. Roberts replied, “Actually yeah, I like seeing good stuff like this happen, especially from people who already have it good, they’re willing to take an extra step to care.”
Ms. Mcbean also replied, “It does make me want to continue playing sports.” She also hopes to promote equality throughout her community, as it “helps others to be more open-minded about the topic.”
The ads featured during Super Bowl LI had a range of comments and wars on twitter as we all have probably heard. Some people, including President Trump, advocated for a boycott of Budweiser due to the content of their ad. Concerning the campaign by this top sports industry, are people going to advocate for a boycott on Nike due to the racial weather that is raging on? Mr. Roberts said, “of course there’s going to be a lot of backlashes, considering there is a lot of racism going on between Blacks, Whites, and Latinos.”
Ms. Mcbean also responded by stating that “I think like other campaigns, there is always going to be a group of people that just won’t agree with what you’re promoting, you can’t please everyone.”
With many campaigns and ads coming and going promoting the same theme of equality, we can only wonder if the lesson is taking root. Although, equality is one of the many “American Values,” some can say that the companies producing these ads and campaigns are only wasting their time. For as far as anyone can see, America is still a country with a huge race-problem, a truth some struggle to accept. However, the younger generation seems to have a hope that change, in fact, is “gonna come.” Mr. Roberts stated, “I definitely think that people will see a newer light towards equality in a sense that they will say “My idol cares about, maybe should I too.’” He even went on to say that this is is a persuasion to the younger crowd.
However, as the other campaigns have been promoting equality of all people, Nike seems to have taken a new path. From the stars of the ad to the melodious voice of Alicia Keys singing “A Change is Gonna Come,” the ad seems to have been composed of mostly African Americans which many say it’s only promoting “Black Lives Matter.” Mr. Roberts said, “I think it’s just one race to represent as a whole because I don’t mean to bring it to there, but it’s more prevalent towards us and colors in general, not that there isn’t racism against other races.”
“It is possible the ad is for the BLM movement, but you also have to look at how many African-American athletes there are on American teams,” said Ms. Mcbean.
The questions voiced by Michael B. Jordan does ring true in this day of age. “Is this the land history promised?” With the recent ban on Muslims immigrating from several stated countries proposed by President Trump to the ongoing Black Live Matter campaign, we’re no longer sure that the lessons of history still teach the American society what it means to be truly American. Be inspired, stand up for a change in a country where our values of equality are crumbling.