Before You Shoot, Let's Stop Anti-Black Casting

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Adland’s dirty little secret exposed in Alex Bennett-Grant’s Cannes Lions Live talk on black casting in the industry
Before You Shoot, Let's Stop Anti-Black Casting

Alex Bennett-Grant CEO of We Are Pi took to the virtual stage at Cannes Lions Live to launch an industry-wide pledge to stop anti-black advertising casting.

Provocatively named ‘Before You Shoot’, the pledge was inspired by a recent industry-wide We Are Pi survey that received five hundred international respondents from people at agencies, brands and production companies.

The research results show that many want to take action against bad practices. 

94% of those surveyed believe the ad industry needs to take action on racist decision-making in the casting process.

  • 52% surveyed were shut down or ignored when they tried to take action on what they believed was racist decision-making.
  • 70% feel they do not have a safe space at work to share and discuss topics of racism and discrimination. 

The research also revealed tangible examples of anti-black behaviour across the industry;

Typecasting stereotypical ‘black roles.’ 

  • Requesting black people be removed from casting briefs to avoid the embarrassment of not selecting them later.
  • Retouching brown skin to be lighter.


As a first step forward, Bennett-Grant invites the industry to join a pledge to stop anti-black ad casting.

  • Stand up or be complicit in anti-black casting decisions 
  • Demand more black decision makers in our teams
  • Demand a safe forum for discussing and resolving issues

"Brands have been called out for talking fast in support of BLM, while acting slow on system change to stop anti-black practices. We can't stand back and expect the advertising industry to change because we wish it. It’s time for action. My first step is inviting the industry to pledge a stop to anti-black casting practices." Alex Bennett Grant, CEO, We Are Pi

You can watch the full ’Before You Shoot’ talk on Cannes Lions Live Website and download the ‘Race In Advertising Casting’ research report at www.beforeyoushoot.info

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Genres: People

WE ARE Pi, 2 months ago