This October is Black History Month in the UK, and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this year’s campaign is called ‘Proud to Be’. It celebrates and shares the pride people have in their heritage.
At KHWS, we are a marketing agency focused on behavioural science tools to identify and define buying behaviours. As such, we have picked out a key black figure in the sphere of marketing, as well as a recent movement – designed to further increase the awareness of black neuroscientists. Two areas that closely relate to how our agency works.
By telling their stories, we can better understand both the history of black entrepreneurship, as well as the problems and challenges still facing black lives today.
Madame C. J. Walker was known as the first self-made female millionaire, creating a line of African American hair care products, starting with her infamous ‘Mama Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower’.
Walker went from living on a plantation, to working for $1.50 a day, to then opening a beauty school and factory, which at the height of production enabled her to employ over 3000 people who were mostly black women like herself.
Her products stood for ‘cleanliness and loveliness’, two concepts that battled racist stereotypes and promoted the status of African Americans. Her products were widely known in the African American community and her profits are now known to be the modern-day equivalent of several million dollars.
Because of her economic success it enabled her to donate to various causes and charities, all of which helped make black history, such as the Black YMCA. She was extremely successful in her business, pioneering the black hair-care industry, and her political involvement saw Walker participate with the NAACP and its anti-lynching movement.
Heuristics and neuroscience have now become a fundamental part of understanding consumer behaviours. However, until recently there was little exposure of the work that black neuroscientists undertook.
This prompted Angeline Dukes, a PhD candidate in the Department of Neurobiology & Behaviour to tweet out: “Sooooo, when are we doing a #BlackInNeuro week?”
After hundreds of responses, and plenty of interest from likeminded neuroscientists, the ‘Black in Neuro Week’ was established in August 2020. It proved more successful than anyone could have imagined. Undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty members from over 65 countries attended a series of virtual events on neuroscience-related research, professional development, mentorship, and racism in neuroscience.
Since then, the movement has gone from strength to strength. Over the next year the online campaign grew into an international organization, whose impacts extended beyond the virtual space.
Systemic racism has for hundreds of years, inhibited the contributions and opinions of the Black community. Fortunately, Black In Neuro is one of many huge steps to correct these wrongs. The campaign’s aim is clear: To fight back against these injustices and ensure that going forward there is greater freedom from oppression of black voices.
For more information on Black History Month visit here. To donate to an anti-racism charity, please visit here.28.10.21 Archive