Among music fans, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Jill Scott is in an elite category. The Philadelphia native’s work weaves a compelling tapestry of storytelling, emotion and clarity in a world often bound by chaos. Her platinum-selling debut album Who Is Jill Scott? marks its 20th anniversary this year but retains its weight and gravity as one of the most important and iconic works of R&B and soul.
From that foundation, it became clear that Scott’s authenticity couldn’t be compromised, no matter the endeavor. Branching out to other creative pursuits like acting and poetry (one of her first loves), she brings a presence that’s powerfully unavoidable yet somehow serene at the same time. Her story embraces the tough times in North Philly but is balanced with a distinct sense of self, peace and wisdom that guide her latest venture, as lead investor in wellness platform True Voice.
Partnering with Live Nation Urban’s Shawn Gee and Los Angeles agency Quantasy, True Voice is set to launch in the fall. It is a rich platform for mindfulness, education and community-building for women of color.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness industry is a $4.5 trillion market, dominated by some familiar faces like Goop. But most cater to predominantly white consumers. While some platforms and brands do focus on Black women, such as Brown Girl Jane, Naaya Wellness and Balanced Black Girl, True Voice seeks to be a wide-ranging digital resource that continually addresses cultural needs.
“I moved to Tennessee some years ago,” Scott said in an interview with Adweek. “And I looked around and realized that I didn’t have what I needed and what I wanted. I love when my son has an African American pediatrician. I felt like that was important for him to see. My lawyer and business partners are African American, and I’ve learned from other communities that it’s important to support and partner with folks that look like you.”
Crucial to the platform is providing a sanctuary, especially as a global pandemic, fights for justice and protests about police brutality continue.
I thought that we needed a resource to help people find peace of mind and maintain it.
“The timing is perfect because there’s so much social discord,” said Scott, who helped develop the artistic choices that shaped the platform’s look. “I thought that we needed a resource to help people find peace of mind and maintain it, how to find vegan restaurants or a spot for yoga. It seems like a luxury, but it’s not. These things are necessary to thrive and, that’s the point: I would love to see my community thrive as whole people.”
Leading the project is Quantasy. The L.A. agency has significant digital chops and has worked on successful campaigns in the women’s space for the likes of Essence, including creating last month’s virtual Essence Festival of Culture. According to Will Campbell, Quantasy co-founder and CEO, noticing the market gap for women of color presented a rich opportunity.
“[The wellness market] is exploding, yet it’s leaving women of color behind on two fronts,” Campbell said. “Products aren’t being designed for women of color and, in a lot of ways, they need it most. Then, there wasn’t a lot of ownership and equity in the market by people of color. Committing to changing that made a lot of sense to us.”
Campbell noted, without divulging specifics, that there is ample interest from brands about the platform. Ensuring authenticity, Scott is willing to try everything, “which means a lot of boxes,” she said with a chuckle. But if a product or brand is featured on True Voice, it needs to fit and be authentic to her and the community.