Just a year ago, during the height of the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, corporations flocked in their droves to insert themselves into the cultural moment that was taking place. In the year that followed we saw numerous attempts at ‘positive PR’ in the face of racism as each brand desperately tried to prove it was ‘listening and learning’ more than its competitors.
Statistically speaking, most of this communication covering issues sensitive to the Black community would have been carried out by white PR professionals. According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) 2019 report, just 8% of communications professionals are “anything other than white”, with the number of Black practitioners likely even lower. It’s even less probable that Black people were in senior enough positions to call the PR shots last summer. The Black Comms network, set up to address racial disparities within the industry, found that almost half of Black PR pros had never received a promotion, whilst data from PR Week showed that just 5.5% of the UK’s most senior consultants were non-white.