P&G launches programme aimed to diversify portrayal of black people in advertising & entertainment

The global multi-brand conglomerate Procter & Gamble (P&G) has launched a new programme called ‘Widen The Screen’, aimed to broaden the way Black people are portrayed in advertising and entertainment through an increased investment in Black directors, actors, crews and media.

The program aims to broaden the ways that Black people are depicted in advertising and entertainment through an increased investment in Black directors, actors, crews and media.

According to P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, the goal of the program is about “reclaiming the beauty of black life in film”.

“Accurate portrayal of people in advertising, in media, in news, then helps eliminate bias because you learn stereotypes, objectification and denigration. And part of what ‘Widen The Screen’ does and why we call it ‘Widen The Screen’ is that the way the Black community is often portrayed is either in struggle or triumph. And there’s a lot more in between and around.

“This is about portraying the joy and the beauty and the vastness of Black life. And in order to do that and make that happen either through advertising or content, you need to have equal representation within the creative and media supply chain.”

To create “Widen The Screen,” P&G worked with the advertising agency Grey and Oscar-nominated director Kevin Wilson Jr. to produce a short film that debuted this past weekend at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards. The film, narrated by the actor Mahershala Ali, depicts three stories: a Black man in a car, a group of Black teenagers in a convenience store and a Black woman with several kids. The scenes show the man in the car driving to a young girl’s birthday party, the teens waiting on their friend to come out of the restroom before paying for their snacks and a dad showing up in a minivan to pick his family.

Ali said during the voiceover in between the screen “If you think you know what happens next, ask yourself why. “These are the Black stories we’ve been shown, a narrow view that limits our understanding, but there’s so much more to see.”

In a statement about “Widen The Screen,” Wilson Jr. said he hopes the film will “reveal the fullness of who we are as Black people.”

“We don’t have to be ‘exceptional’ to be respected and valued. Our humanity isn’t dependent upon us being doctors, lawyers, engineers, or famous. Yes, we are those things, but we also take up many spaces in this world and the love we share should be depicted as well. We are more than the brutality we often see in our depictions in television and film. We are the joy we experience with loved ones and the passion we have for one another.”

Pritchard said the new program builds on other initiatives the company has developed over the years to address gender inequalities and inaccurate portrayals of women and girls in media and culture.

Beyond these new films, P&G is also working to diversify its media supply chain. Along with programs like the Marcus Graham Project and the One Club for Creativity’s One School Initiative which aim to help foster Black talent in advertising.

The company is also increasing its investment in Black owned and operated media companies such as BET, Urban One and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.


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