All Articles Tagged "diversity"
The lack of diversity in the fashion world just seems to keep getting worse and worse. There is glaring absence of black models on magazine covers as well as in fashion shows, and Australia’s recent Fashion Week was no exception. According to BuzzFeed, during the shows there was just one black model who walked the runway as Australian fashion designers presented their spring 2013 collections in Sydney.
There were some 46 shows on the official Mercedes Benz-sponsored schedule. The designer who used the sole male black model was streetwear brand Vanishing Elephant.
And it is not just the lack of black models. Australia Fashion Week was void of diversity in general. Ninety-five designers featured no black models, popular Aboriginal model Samantha Harris only walked in a few shows and there was just a “smattering of Asian models” included. While Harris, who is half Aboriginal, holds the record for the most Sydney shows walked since 2010, she failed to book any major shows this year, reports the site . There were, according to the site One black model was also used for a presentation (not a show) for Phoenix Keating’s collection.
Mattel has been caught in the middle of a lot of controversy surrounding their Barbie dolls lately. Earlier this month we reported on a group of Harlem moms petitioning for the company to offer more diverse Barbie merchandise. Now they’re being slammed for their relaunched “Dolls of the World” line. Mattel says that each doll included in the line comes with a passport and most come with an “animal friend.” Seems pretty harmless, right? Well, according to NPR, the line’s “Mexico Doll” has triggered much criticism.
Many have come out blasting Mattel for the Mexico-inspired doll, claiming that the company was being “stereotypical” when they selected her clothing and accessories.
“A little stereotypical? Mexico Barbie is wearing a traditional Mexican dress, has a chihuahua, and a passport,” one tweeter questioned.
Mattel has insisted that there was no offense intended in the production of the doll and that many of the country-inspired Barbies come with animals.
The company’s issued statement on the controversy, which can be found on their website reads:
“The Barbie Collector Dolls of the World line was launched in 1980 and is the largest and longest-running series in the history of the Barbie brand. Each doll wears an ensemble inspired by the traditional costume and fashion of the country. In 2012, the Barbie Collector Dolls of the World line launched dolls from Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Holland India, Ireland and Mexico. Every doll in the current line includes a ‘passport’ and stamps as well as an animal friend providing additional play value.
We consulted with the Mexican Embassy on the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, especially with respect to the selection of the Chihuahua. Our goal with the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, as well as the entire Dolls of the World Collection, is to celebrate cultural differences and tradition, introducing girls to the world through play.”
The dolls do appear to be a great way to educate children about the world around them. Even the interactive website for the collection seems to be very informative, offering interesting facts about each country that a doll has been released for. But while we are on the subject, it’s interesting to note that so far, there aren’t any Black dolls included in the relaunched collection.
Do you think people are making an issue out of nothing or is there a valid argument to be made about “Mexico Barbie” and the collection in general?
Have you ever been in this situation? You go to work on your very first day, eager and mentally ready to finally conquer Excel. You get signed in by security and enter the elevator, maybe meeting a smiling face or two. You walk through the doors of your new job, greet the receptionist, get ushered in and quickly notice that mostly everyone around you is of the same racial or ethnic makeup.
It can be disheartening to work in a corporation that offers amazing benefits, but very little of diversity within. But we shouldn’t be too hard on HR; some businesses just may not understand the various ways in which diversity would truly benefit them beyond gaining Multicultural Excellence Awards for their advertising campaigns. Here are the top nine ways that diversity benefits businesses:
Going Out With A Bang: Roland Martin Talks CNN And “White Male Execs” Keeping Minorities From Having Their Own Shows
We told you earlier this month that to the disappointment of a great deal of people, Roland Martin and his ascots would be leaving CNN for good. This definitely had everyone talking especially since it was starting to seem that all the “color” on the channel was being given the boot, including Soledad O’Brien, whose morning show is going in a “different direction” without her. But she will continue to produce documentaries/specials for CNN through her very own production company. As for Martin, his last day is reportedly set to be April 8, but homeboy isn’t going out quietly. According to reports, after announcing his last day on Twitter earlier this month, he allegedly tweeted that the “new boss wants his own peeps.” That new boss being Jeff Zucker. But he’s taking things a step further as of late, claiming said new boss doesn’t have a soft spot in his heart for minorities hosting their own programs. Seeing as how Martin was a contributor for the channel for years, he’s not feeling the way the game has been played.
In a conversation with Huffington Post Live, Martin spoke on the fact that after years of hard work, he was never given his own show, but was never really given a reason why:
“What do we do to get from here to get to there? To get from here to be able to host a show? That was never made clear. There’s this fear of making the leap.
You have largely white male executives who are not necessarily enamored with the idea of having strong, confident minorities who say, ‘I can do this.’ I’m just saying, give folks a shot.”
Martin went on to explain that his gig hosting Washington Watch on TV One and many other specials for CNN and bringing in huge numbers should have been proof that he could handle such responsibilities, but he wasn’t given the opportunity:
“We deliver, but we never get the big piece, the larger salary, to be able to grow from there.
Bernard Shaw left CNN as the top news anchor how many years ago? Two decades ago? So who right now is in the position to get a primetime show??
If it’s a ratings game, and we won, how is it I never got a show?”
Guess we can’t say no hard feelings this time around…Thoughts?
See Martin’s conversation with Marc Lamont Hill on HuffPostLive on the next page:
If you are looking for a job like the millions of others who are unemployed, BET may have a little online help for you.
OppsPlace, LLC, an RLJ Company, has partnered with Black Entertainment Television (BET) Digital and UPTOWN Media to create a multifaceted cross promotional web-based venue designed to address minority unemployment and help users find jobs and opportunities from leading Fortune 500 companies that truly value diversity and inclusion.
According to Forbes, online job searching has increased. In 2010, 25 percent of job seekers went online to find employment. In 2009 and 2008, it was just 19 percent.
Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and BET founder, came up with the idea for OppsPlace.com. It is a new online portal that connects individuals and business owners looking to find employment opportunities in corporate America. Already there are more than 20,000 open jobs — entry-level, mid-level, and senior executive levels–on the site.
“By working collaboratively on the unemployment issue, we are confident that thousands of unemployed people will have access to wonderful job opportunities that are available on our OppsPlace platform,” said Kelli Richardson Lawson, President and COO of OppsPlace, LLC in a press statement. “BET and UPTOWN are two of the top media networks within the minority community and I cannot think of better allies in helping to find a solution to minority unemployment and other issues that directly impact African Americans.”
Here is how it will work: Each site will feature links to job postings from companies committed to diversity in hiring and employment. Job seekers will also have access to weekly editorial content, expert advice, blogs, and newsletters on topics such as career, business and finance, and can participate in real-time networking forums discussing the latest job numbers, upcoming events and other employment news.
Will you check it out?
At SXSW, Dr. Mae Jemison, the First African-American Woman in Space, Is Taking the World into the Future
MadameNoire Business continues its coverage of SXSW with our writer on the ground and on the scene — Mary Pryor, aka the Urban Socialista — who’s reporting on some of the hot panels, sights, and sounds. We’ll be posting her coverage from the conference over the coming days.
SXSW provided the opportunity to catch up with astronaut and the first African-American woman in outer space, Dr. Mae Jemison. Her presence leaves everyone in awe of her beautiful mind. Today, she has the responsibility of leading the 100 Year Starship project. This might sound like something from a science fiction novel: Dr. Jemison’s role in the 100 Year Starship project is to help change the world by leading an effort to send and sustain humans in interstellar space travel within the next 100 years.
On a deeper level, Dr. Jemison wants to help humans be better people and make an impact against the stereotypical images of African-American women. The goal in that effort is to uplift and encourage our community to take responsibility for our media perception. It is time to create and share images that display our dreams versus what we see on television. “You know what’s really amazing about kids is that they keep trying despite what adults tell them. How do you get other images in front of them? What can you point them toward that can get them to see other possibilities?”
“Were making choices as to what kind of worlds we are leaving our children. The media is also making choices as the what kind of images we are leaving for our children to see,” she added.
In December 2011, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected a team led by Dr. Jemison as the winner of a $500,000 grant. Dr. Jemison, whose partners included the Icarus Foundation and the Foundation for Enterprise Development, won with a proposal called “An Inclusive, Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth and Beyond.”
“I felt I could do this and the reason to do it was because space had to more than something we read about,” she said. Many of the major advancements in technology have been developed from products that were meant for space exploration. From the global positioning satellites (GPS) and the satellites that help cellular phones operate to new materials used in modern fashion. “The challenge of traveling to another star system could generate transformative activities, knowledge, and technologies that would dramatically benefit every nation on Earth in the near term and years to come,” Dr. Jemison added.
Dr. Jemison’s overall purpose for leading projects such as the 100 Year Starship is to how people see the world through increased inclusion. She strongly feels that images make a difference. “The media gets to choose what type of images that are placed in front of us. Is it valuable to put to other images in front of us? In front of little girls? In front of grown men? People use to ask me what difference did it make that I was the first African-American woman to get into space. And I have to tell them it is impactful for older white males to see someone like me. They may be making a decision about scholarships or jobs and they need to see that other images are possible.”
How can you get involved with this project? Visit 100yss.org and sign up for news alerts. The project is also hosting a symposium in Austin, TX in September. Thought leaders, experts, trendsetters, and anyone who believes in the overall mission of 100 Year Starship are invited to join in a discussion that will lead to new advancements that will shape the organization’s work for years to come.
“I want to see everyone talk about 100 Year Starship. I want this to get as much love and support as something that you would see on a Real Housewives or the latest celebrity. We have to show that other things are possible. If we don’t we start truncate dreams and imagination.”
The Chicago Urban League is calling out Chicago-area public companies over the lack of diversity in their boards. According to new survey by the Urban League of 160 corporate boards based in Chicago and the surrounding region, only 101 — or 6.6 percent — of 1,527 directors are African-American.
Breaking it down: There were no African-American board members at 73 companies; 71 companies have one, and 12 companies have two. Oak Brook-based McDonald’s Corp. and Detroit-based Compuware Corp. each have three, reports Chicago Business.
“It shows you there’s still a long way to go,” John Rogers Jr., chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments told the newspaper. “As diverse as Chicago is, there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Rogers discussed the survey at a meeting today with Chicago business leaders and KPMG LLC, which conducted the research spanning. According to the magazine, Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, agreed with Rogers and said she’s heartened that more than 50 percent of the companies surveyed have at least one African-American on their board. Several of the area’s largest companies, however, have none. These include Sears Holdings Corp., United Continental Holdings Corp., Navistar International Corp., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Aon PLC, CAN Financial, and CF Industries Holdings.
The three largest Chicago-area public companies — Archer Daniels Midland Co., Walgreen Co. and Boeing Co. — each have one African-American board member, writes the paper.
The Urban League plans to do the survey again in two years to chart any progress being made.
One of the reasons for the lack of diversity are the requirements for board members. “Sometimes companies make specifications [for board membership] so narrow, it’s hard to find any African-American that fits. But if you look at the skill set, someone with senior-level P&L experience or finance experience, there are African-Americans that fit that criteria well,” Zopp explained to Chicago Business. “You need people to say this is important and we’re going to make an effort to make it happen. The point is there’s talent here.”
Other research done last year by Chicago United, a nonprofit that works to improve job opportunities for people of color, showed similar findings. That study discovered that of the 567 individuals on the boards of the top 50 Chicago companies, 12 percent were racial minorities with African-Americans having the largest percentage, 6.5 percent.
Behind the Click: Natalia Oberti Noguera Opens the Pipeline of Angel Investing For Women Philanthropists
Hey everyone! We are back with another profile, and for those who are interested in money — from smart investments or building a business — read on!
Investment and the images of women of color may not be synonymous, but if Natalia Oberti Noguera has her way, that will change very soon. Natalia is founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing boot camp for women philanthropists. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. This is key as women seek to balance the tech industry. Natalia is a game-changer in this area and has some major insight to share!
Name: Natalia Oberti Noguera
Current Occupation: Founder & CEO, Pipeline Fellowship
Favorite Website: Twitter
2013’s Ultimate Goal: Add #morevoices to the table.
Quotations that govern your mission, inspire you, and are just awesome:
When you do the right thing, it may not pay immediately, but it does pay. –Luz Urrutia
Powerful leadership is about understanding that you belong there. –@CarlaHarris
[I]f you don’t have a seat at the table: Bring Your Own Chair. –@midyaponte
People think #feminism is just for women. No fool, feminism is for everybody. –@aminatou
Twitter Handle: @nakisnakis
Madame Noire: Where are you from, Natalia, and where did you attend college?
Natalia Oberti Noguera: I’m half-Italian, half-Colombian. My father used to work for the UN, so we moved around quite a bit while growing up, primarily in Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Dominican Republic). Summers were often spent in the United States, as my maternal grandmother used to live in Pennsylvania. I went to Yale for college and double-majored in Economics and Comparative Literature.
MN: What were you doing in your career before you started the Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: I built a network of women social entrepreneurs in NYC from about six women to over 1,200 members within two years.
MN: What events led you to start Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: Having the same conversation over and over: “It’s so hard to secure funding as a for-profit social venture.” [It] inspired me to launch the Pipeline Fellowship.
MN: What have been the results to date for the organization. Why do you feel its important to have Pipeline in place?
NON: In 2011, only 12 percent of U.S. angel investors were women and only four percent were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Since running our first angel investing boot camp in April 2011, the Pipeline Fellowship has trained fifty women and has expanded from New York City to Boston, as well as San Francisco, and plans to head to Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Pipeline Fellowship alumnae have gone on to invest in their third and fourth startups, as well as launch accelerators and angel groups.
MN: Since you focus on women and diversity, I’d love to know if you felt you’ve ever been challenged due to gender and race. How did you handle it? And what might your suggestions be for other women facing similar situations?
NON: Last year, I was invited to judge a tech startup demo. Judges were asked to sit in the front row and that’s where I found myself when a guy told the guy next to him — loud enough for me to hear, however not directly addressing me — “I thought that only the judges were supposed to sit at the front.” I turned around and said, “And what makes you think that we’re not judges–because we’re women?” My approach is to call out -isms. As an LGBTQ Latina, it can get tiring. However, after hearing Ruth Simmons, former President of Brown University, mention how important it is for us who speak up to continue to do so because others in the room might not realize that they have the right to do the same, I understood that burning out isn’t an option. If you’re wondering how to handle a situation, remember:
Some conversations are uncomfortable but also necessary. They are so uncomfortable because they are so necessary. –Molly Lambert
Seven years ago the California State University decided to make an effort to attract more African-American students. And now it has paid off, reports The Los Angeles Times. “About 17,663 African American students applied for fall 2013, up from 16, 588 in 2012 — a 6% gain,” writes the paper. According to school officials, African American applicants have risen steadily over the last 10 years, in part due to an outreach initiative dubbed Super Sunday.
Super Sunday, which started in 2006, includes campus presidents and top university officials speaking to African American church congregations. During these visits, officials give out guides listing classes that students should take beginning in the sixth grade to qualify for Cal State. The school even offers mentoring help and tips for applying for financial aid. This year there are visits planned to more than 100 predominantly black churches in Northern, Central and Southern California, which is estimated to reach more than 100,000 churchgoers.
“One of the key things is trying to get students prepared for college, but also the idea is to have students and people who influence students like parents and grandparents join together in a voice that says you can go to college, that is a goal you can reach,” Cal State spokesman Erik Fallis told the Times.
Not only is it paying off for the Cal State system, but for the students as well. Since the launch of Super Sunday, the number of degrees awarded to African Americans has increased by 30 percent. “African American and other underrepresented students still suffer a significant gap in graduation rates, however,” notes the newspaper.
Cal State embarked on this effort because given the “demographic shifts in California, colleges have to work harder to attract African American, Latino and other underrepresented students, especially to such fields as math, engineering, science and technology,” said Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser, to the Times.
Cal State has also launched similar outreach programs for Latino, Asian and Native American students, veterans, and foster youths.
Super Sunday sounds like an initiative perhaps the HBCUs might want to try.
Maybe People Need to Lighten Up? Experts Talk About Offensive Advertising, and How Companies Can Avoid It
Volkswagen was the latest company to step into a pile of controversy over an ad that some considered racist. In the ad, which ran during last night’s Super Bowl though some suspected it wouldn’t, a white man walks around his office speaking in a Jamaican accent, encouraging people to “get happy,” as the ad campaign’s motto says.
Many people, including many Jamaicans and other minorities, didn’t actually find the ad offensive.
“Personally, I was not offended. As half Guyanese, I thought it was funny,” Monique Nelson, CEO and chairm
Respect for the audience — the whole audience — is the first necessity for any marketing campaign. But there has to be more as well.
“Whenever companies are working with a concept that is foreign to their core competency, my recommendation is to work with a subject or cultural expert,” Nelson continues. “More research and more diversity on the team may not alleviate all of the issues, but some of them.”
That issue of diversity in the advertising industry is one that continues to impact the finished marketing product, particularly at a time when the consumer is increasingly diverse. Before the Volkswagen issue even reared its head, Ad Age published an op-ed by Lincoln Stephens, the founder and executive director of the Marcus Graham Project. In the article, Stephens gives tips for both aspiring marketers and the marketing industry to increase diversity in the industry. He says it’s something that both sides should work on together, with future staffers being persistent and constantly improving their skills while the execs look beyond family, friends, and assorted acquaintances for new talent.
Claudine Moore, founder of C Moore Media, an international public relations firm, agrees that there needs to be more diversity in the industry. “I have been in the business in America for the last 13 years, and the persistent lack of diversity continues to astound me, especially at senior levels. America is not changING, it has changED, and the industry needs to change too…and quickly,” she told us via email.
At the same time, Moore, a British woman of Jamaican descent who didn’t find the Volkswagen ad offensive, says we ought to be careful about labeling everything “offensive” or “racist.”
“I thought it was light-hearted and humorous, plus the actors accent was really very good,” she wrote. “I think we have to be very careful about what we deem offensive. If everything that pokes a bit of fun is taken as seriously offensive, then humor and creativity will be zapped out of the industry.”
True enough. Many of the ads that ran last night relied heavily on humor, a clever turn of phrase, or an old-fashioned sight gag. But, as Tony Balasandiran, an account supervisor at Flowers Communications Group tells us, it’s most important to understand where an attempt at humor is going to upset an audience you’re trying to reach with your message.
“The key to pushing the envelope with your marketing, without crossing the line, is actually knowing your target audience,” he wrote to us. “Effective marketing relies on the message – verbal or visual – resonating with your intended audience. Knowing means understanding – as in, understanding the cultural nuances of your audience. Without this understanding, brands will continue to find themselves on, hovering over, and inevitably crossing, the line.”
Of course, some companies, like Go Daddy, purposely court controversy as a way to stand out. “Understanding that the media landscape is cluttered and very hard to break through, marketers are taking chances with advertising that many may see as controversial, but that marketers may simply see as disruptive,” UniWorld Group’s Nelson added.
But there is a point where you can push the levels of taste, propriety, or straight up decency so far that you can alienate people. Based on the feedback we’ve been hearing about that lip-smacking Go Daddy ad, they could have done just that last night.