In case you don’t watch television—or if you do, but tune out the commercials—you may not have seen Proctor and Gamble’s new ad. It’s titled “The Talk,” and it has ignited a firestorm of racist backlash on social media.
The commercial is part of a larger advertising campaign titled “My Black is Beautiful.”
Writing for Salon, Gabriel Bell said the “moving” ad captures “The Talk” every black parent has with their kids:
Yes, it’s a commercial — but damn this journey into the effects of racism is a good one. As they grow up in a nation where almost every system is stacked against them, most black children have had “the talk” with their parents — that moment or series of moments where their mother or father reveals the stakes for African Americans in our country in an attempt to shield them from the effects of institutional racism by explaining and preparing them for it …
Now, yes, this is an ad — a commercial that, in as much as it is geared to do anything else, is built to stir up goodwill for a multinational, profit-driven conglomerate that has historically been as much a participant in the longstanding practice of championing white beauty over black beauty as any other in the cosmetics field. As many others before it, this campaign seeks to employ progressive thought and the appearance of love and concern for fully capitalist ends. In that, it is an example of the very machine that has historically suppressed blacks, virtue washing itself using their goals and experiences.
But damn if this isn’t a good example of that trend. Coupled with “My Black is Beautiful,” it at the very least offers understanding and the opportunity for black people to say, hey, me too. Hopefully it will get at least a few white people to internalize and appreciate something they rarely get to see and often don’t understand, the human, personal cost of racism that forces parents to sit their kids down and have “the talk.”
You can watch the ad, in its entirety, below.