Last week we had the pleasure of attending the Procter & Gamble “My Black Is Beautiful” live taping event in Washington DC. The My Black is Beautiful program was created to celebrate African American beauty and to encourage black women and young girls to define and promote their own beauty standard. One of the goals of the My Black is Beautiful initiative is to inspire and encourage future generations to adopt a new mindset in how they view themselves and uplift the way African Americans are portrayed in society. We had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the creators of the campaign: Kisha Mitchell Williams, Multicultural Brand Manager and Pamela Rhett, Assistant Multicultural Brand Manager from Procter & Gamble.
Honey Magazine: What was your inspiration for starting the “My Black is Beautiful” campaign?
Pamela: Well I think you are charged with a desire to want to make a difference and then you also know that there is a business need to make a difference in the community and touch the lives of African American consumers. At Procter & Gamble you are encouraged to trust your gut of course, however we did conduct some research and what we learned was that African American women, about 71 percent actually still felt very under served by mainstream media and felt that when they were portrayed, they were portrayed a lot worse than their general market counterparts. So charged with that data, it really ignited us to create the My Black Is Beautiful movement to really foster a national dialogue for, by, and about black women and beauty.
Why do you feel that this event is so important?
Kisha: “My Black Is Beautiful” as Pamela mentioned is a national conversation around the beauty esthetic as it relates to African American women but what’s more important is really being in the community you know touching her where she is so having an opportunity to come to Washington DC and provide this free service to black women particularly in this day and time is extremely important. And for them to really be a part of the conversation in a real substantive way. They get to have their hair done, leveraging our Pantene relaxed and natural products, their skin analyzed, leveraged by our Olay brand and a lot of our consumers don’t have access to dentists so they could come today and get a dental screening and that’s sponsored by our crest brand. They could also get their makeup done with our CoverGirl Queen collection. We are also launching season four of the television series and we are doing a live taping here in Washington DC. It’s two fold: It’s an opportunity to touch her where she is but then she gets to be a part of the live studio audience and the taping for our television show so that’s why we are here and that’s why this is critically important.
What is the show all about?
The show airs on May 2nd and it’s a partnership with BET network with host Tasha Smith. I describe it as like “The View” meets Style magazine so you have women discussing beauty tips and trends and things that are important to us…you can’t get that type of information anywhere else. So you have this discussion happening but you also have our brands at the forefront giving demonstrations and tips to women on how they can apply makeup and change their look and their wardrobe. It addresses our diverse beauty needs on TV.
What tips do you have for women reaching for their dreams?
Pamela: Yesterday we had the pleasure of attending the very first BET Leading Women Defined summit which is their very first time doing it and they brought in some of the most influential women in politics and business to come and be a part of the summit to learn together and network together and at the closing they challenged us and said “when you think of your dreams think of it as if you could not fail and just work towards achieving that.”
You lead the youth division for the campaign. Can you speak a little about it?
Pamela: As part of the women’s summit we also had another opportunity to really touch the youth in DC at Dunbar senior high school and we sponsored a “My Black is Beautiful” collage contest which really gave the girls an opportunity to really express what “My Black is Beautiful” means to them in a very artistic way. So there were 25 young girls that were selected by the school to participate in the contest and just the variety of what you saw that they put together was just amazing and they were all asked to prepare a two minute oral presentation of what it really meant to them and seeing that come to life with 14, 15, and 16 year old girls was just so inspiring. And I said at the end you know we came here to inspire these young girls but we all left so touched and moved.