You may already have seen some of the backlash around companies aligning promotions with Black History Month. Uber Eats launched the month with a discount offer featuring a stock-image of a black woman eating chicken, leading to them being labelled "tone-deaf" on social media and a Pure Gym in Luton posted a new workout “to celebrate black history month” titled the “12 Years of Slave workout. Slavery was hard and so is this”. A Royal Mail initiative has also been questioned for a "tokenistic" gesture in painting a series of post-boxes black “to mark the success of black Britons”.
In response to the backlash, the Pure Gym group immediately issued an apology and removed the rogue post and Uber Eats sought to clarify their initiative, stating the offer supported black-owned restaurants in the UK, but the damage had, perhaps, already been done. Whatever these companies were hoping to achieve, the execution appeared at odds with the spirit of the month.
Perhaps one of the issues lies, not just in the execution of the campaign, but in the perceived token gesture of running them. As Tyrek Morris, co-founder of the All Black Lives UK movement, told The Guardian; there was nothing wrong with the (Royal Mail) post-box campaign on its own terms and called for the stories of more prominent black figures to be taught. But he suggested the firms could use the month to push for more useful change.
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