Performed by poet Kofi Dadzie, 'Nightstick' was directed and produced by a young and diverse group of people brought together by MullenLowe’s 25Forty project
'Nightstick' was created as part of MullenLowe’s 25Forty Equality and Diversity initiative and released exactly one year ago with excitement and hope, but the short film wasn’t shared as widely on social and via press as anticipated. Given the outrage surrounding George Floyd’s death by excessive police force, the team knew that now was the time to re-introduce Nightstick.
The film puts into art form the violence, anguish, and concern that all communities, but especially Black communities, feel. The goal of 25Forty is to increase diversity in advertising by exposing advertising to marginalised and under privileged teen communities. Each year 25Forty picks a new client to support and co-create a campaign with high school students.
In 2019, MullenLowe’s 25Forty partnered with MassLeap and Boston Arts Academy to co-create 'A Message From our Table' – a full album of poetic music and art. 'Nightstick' is part of this album and is performed by Kofi Dadzie, which was produced, directed, created by a totally diverse, young group of people brought together by the 25Forty project. This work stems from an experiment of an advertising employee led program that started after the deaths of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.
'Nightstick' was made to help students highlight the oppression and feelings of teenagers in the Black community. By making poetic art for people to hear the message in a new way. To try to get people to hear things in a new way, as sometimes art opens our hearts and minds. It was a collaboration of so many people that know that equality is necessary to our survival, including MullenLowe, Boston Arts Academy students, MassLeap, Hipstory, The Archetype, and Max Esposito.
It was made to try to get people to hear, feel and empathise with the lives of Black/POC – by using sometimes the two most powerful mediums: art, and the voices of youth.
'America always wants an encore' is the poem featured, written by Kofi Dadzie, a poet in the Boston community and a member of MassLeap, a non-profit youth poetry organisation which encourages their writers to share their passion for social justice. Kofi was one out of eight poets highlighted in the album 'A Message from Our Table'. He has performed in several open mic and poetry slam performances and is known for his powerful, artistic ability across the Poetry community.
“We share this work today to amplify young black voices and art. We share this work today to stand against unfair police brutality. We share this work today as one small step on a long journey of creating a healthy society.” said Erin Swenson Gorrall, VP director, communications planning, MullenLowe + Blake Winfree, and group creative director at Havas Chicago.
The film is on Youtube and the 'A Message from Our Table' album is on Spotify.