Introducing the Creative 100; Key Thoughts on D&I; Monday’s First Things First

Plus, McCann's offensive email about a Black Lives Matter mural

Ramy Youssef
Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Photo: Ramy Youssef for Adweek

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The Creative 100: Adweek Celebrates the Most Inspiring Minds in Marketing, Media and Culture

Each year, our Cannes issue of Adweek magazine celebrates the most creative minds in marketing, media and culture. There may be no Cannes Lions this year, but there is most certainly a Creative 100. One thing to keep in mind with these lists: We don’t repeat a name. Ever. Every single year, the Creative 100 features 100 new stars. Some highlights:

Adweek’s Cover Star: How Ramy Youssef, Creator of the First Series About a Muslim-American Family, Reinvented TV

One of last year’s best new series was Ramy, which creator/star Ramy Youssef based on his life as part of an Arab-Muslim family living in New Jersey. While Ramy was a critical success, the Hulu comedy—which is TV’s first scripted show to center on a Muslim-American family—didn’t really break through until January’s Golden Globes. Adweek spoke with Youssef about his show, career and more. Read the full interview.

During Adweek’s ‘A State of Revolt,’ Black Business Leaders Share How They’re Leading, Coping

On Friday, Adweek hosted a powerful, thought-provoking and emotional 90-minute livestreamed conversation with 14 Black business leaders in advertising and marketing, including Tiffany R. Warren, svp, chief diversity officer for Omnicom and founder and president of Adcolor, Julian Duncan, CMO of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Katrina Craigwell, head of global employer brand at JPMorgan Chase. The conversation revolved around topics like how to navigate these turbulent times both personally and as a manager, what changes need to happen and how white colleagues can be allies.

Here’s a few key insights:

  • Elisha Greenwell, co-managing director at Brand Citizens, on becoming a bridge of knowledge for non-Black people. “I was one of the first people to call out my white friends. Like, y’all need to draw a line—you know there’s no gray area here. But, I’m here to help you figure that out, and I’m here to help you navigate that.”
  • Monique Nelson, chair and CEO of Uniworld Group, on capitalizing on the moment: “We don’t want this moment to pass. We need to make sure that we are putting a stake in the ground now, that we are going to hold people accountable, and that we are going to put consequences in place for not doing so. And we must double down on that.”
  • Victoria Russell, chief of diversity, equity and inclusion at Papa John’s International, acknowledged the exhaustion many Black people across the country are feeling right now. “We’re tired. Many people who do this work are lonely. We are carrying heavy burdens,” she said, and it’s important to have places to rest and people to cry with and lean on before continuing on.

Watch the conversation: The full conversation is available to our community of readers.

More D&I news:

  • McCann’s M:United agency, which is its unit for Microsoft, sent an email to artist Shantell Martin asking her to consider creating a Black Lives Matter mural for the brand, but Martin exposed the emailed as offensive. Among its many offenses, the email suggests the mural needs to happen quickly while the protests are still relevant, suggesting this moment is just a flash in the plan with no cultural staying power. Read the story here.
  • A Microsoft study found that language AI researchers must do a better job at addressing racism when rooting out biases baked into many algorithms. They found that papers published on bias often failed to sufficiently define bias or the relationship between language and entrenched societal hierarchies. Read the story here.
  • Publicis Media fired an employee over an offensive tweet calling on the LAPD to harm protesters. Read the story here.
  • Adweek’s diversity and inclusion podcast, D&I TBD, is passing the mic this week to Kai Deveraux Lawson and Simeon Coker, hosts of the Mixed Company podcast. Lawson and Coker share personal experiences and break down the systemic issues that agencies and brands face when it comes to discussing racism. Listen here.