In ‘Love Has No Labels’ PSA, Ad Council Questions What Freedom Means for Black Americans

The film paints a picture of disparity

Cardboard sign that says Black Trans Lives, Black Queer Lives and Black Lives Matter
The Ad Council and R/GA spotlight racial injustice in latest 'Love Has No Labels' PSA. Love Has No Labels
Headshot of Minda Smiley

The Star-Spangled Banner proclaims America as the “land of the free.” But the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis—among countless others—as well as recent racism-fueled incidents have shown that Black Americans often aren’t afforded the same freedoms as white people in the U.S.

“Love Has No Labels,” the ongoing movement spearheaded by the Ad Council and R/GA that promotes acceptance and inclusion of all people, has created a PSA illustrating this disparity.

In the film, mundane freedoms that white people take for granted, like going for a jog or watching birds in a park, are listed. Of course, anyone paying attention to the news cycle knows these examples allude to recent instances in which Black people were killed or discriminated against. Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by a white man on Feb. 23 while jogging in Georgia, while a white woman called the cops on Christian Cooper in Central Park last month after he asked her to follow park rules and put her dog on a leash.

Released just weeks before July 4, the video’s narrator tells viewers that “we must fight for the freedom all Americans deserve” before we “celebrate the freedom most Americans have.”

The film encourages viewers to visit the “Love Has No Labels” website, which includes ways to take action and resources that explain privilege, the history of racism, the Black Lives Matter movement and more.

“With this film, we wanted to use idyllic images of America and traditional symbols of freedom to hold a mirror to the simple acts of freedom often taken for granted by non-Black Americans,” Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council, said. “The goal was to reveal the stark contrast of those freedoms with the way Black people in this country endure systemic racism and injustice.”

According to Arthur, the images of protests and demonstrations featured in the film were sourced from Black photographers. 

Created pro bono by R/GA, the campaign is receiving donated media, digital and social support from a number of partners, including the Atlantic, Condé Nast and Vox Media. Both Publicis and IPG are assisting with targeted media. 

“Love Has No Labels” debuted in 2015 with a video that shows skeletons dancing and hugging behind an x-ray screen, ultimately revealing themselves as same-sex parents, interracial couples and best friends from different backgrounds.

In 2018, it unveiled a short film titled “Rising.” Directed by David Nutter and written by Lena Waithe, it told the story of a group of people coming together after a storm ravages their neighborhood. 

@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.