When companies package a product with a poignant, feel-good ad campaign, things can get a little hairy. And yet Procter & Gamble — the megaconglomerate that owns Pantene, Olay, Crest, Charmin, and Tide, among hundreds of other brands — dared to venture into this murky territory with “The Talk.”
“The Talk” is a short video released on YouTube that showcases six mothers educating their children about what it’s like to exist as a black person in America. One mother tells her young daughter that she’s not just “pretty for a black girl.” Another tells her son that what he was called was “an ugly, nasty word, and you are going to hear it.” A third mom, while sitting in the passenger seat of a car with her teenage daughter, says: “Now, when you get pulled over …” And a fourth makes sure that her son is carrying a form of identification, just in case. They are talks that all black parents have with their children at some point. All are unfairly, yet urgently necessary, even now.
Released last week under Procter & Gamble’s “My Black Is Beautiful” — a project launched a decade ago by the black women of Procter & Gamble to amplify narratives surrounding black beauty — the ad encourages viewers to pick up the conversation on social media with the hashtag #TalkAboutBias. But where does Procter & Gamble want people to go from there? The “My Black Is Beauty” portal suggests there’s more in store: Separate videos featuring stories of discrimination and advocacy fill the page. But hopefully, that’s just the beginning.