WEIGHING OPTIONS: Ethnicity And Points of Struggle (Part 2)

What is the meaning behind the headline, you might ask? I’m speaking as the head of a creative agency and as an African American. Despite delusions to the contrary, race matters in our country. Some people believe that because America elected a bi-racial president, the Obama phenomenon erased all of the racial ills in the country were. It did not – it hasn’t even come close. Three hundred years history remains with all of its divisiveness. Consequentially, as a black man, there is a cultural and racial aspect to everything I do.

But, I don’t want that to hinder obtaining business because I don’t see myself as inferior in the delivery of agency services.  I am not a victim because I choose not to be one. If I say so myself, I am a damn good creative director and my staff is as good as any. Why am I so boastful? I believe in speaking the truth.

There are few black agencies in Southern California, probably in the country as well. So, I’m driven by obvious factors. The paucity of agencies such as ours is catalytic; perhaps this stimulation forces creativity.  I don’t know.

At the inception of our agency I sought to blend (integration in its finest form) multiple ethnicities within a small shop.  If we are nothing else, we are multicultural. Therein lays a point of struggle. Look, we may know the nuances of different cultures, but we also studied and voraciously consumed everything we could have learned about the so-called general market. “General market” is a euphemism for Caucasians (or those of that social and cultural bent.)

The general market does not scare us. We relish the challenge. We do not present a rather hip-hop, crooked hat, baggy pants approached advertising, or for that matter, public relations.  We’re straightforward and quite capable of handling the work that comes our way.

Truthfully? I would like to feed on it, consuming is much as I can.

Okay. We may be met with skepticism at times. But I’m willing to bet that mixed-media, or triplication, results in two things: a change in pace during a campaign to seize the most affected path to a client’s objective; the client will make a sizable return on its investment.

We are forging our identity. We are a small black agency because coincidently the owner happens it be black. Perhaps more aptly stated, we are an agency that is becoming part of the business fabric of Southern California.

Bernard A. McNealy, President.

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