New Nike ad with Serena Williams, LeBron James addresses racial inequality

Serena Williams and Kevin Durant (source: Wikipedia)

Serena Williams and Kevin Durant (source: Wikipedia)

Nike is standing up to racial inequality in this country with the help of some of the best Black athletes of our generation.

On Sunday, the athletic gear company launched their new ‘Equality’ campaign with an ad featuring Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and others. The stunning and emotional 90-second ad was directed by Melina Matsoukas, the mastermind behind Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade.

“Is this the land history promised? Here, within these lines, on this concrete court, this patch of turf. Here, you’re defined by your actions,” narrator actor Michael B. Jordan said. “Not your looks or beliefs. Quality should have no boundaries. The bonds we find here should run past these lines.

“Opportunity should not discriminate. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. Worth should outshine color. If we can be equals here [the basketball court]. We can be equals everywhere.”

According to Nike’s press release, the campaign “encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field.”

“Equality is centered on using Nike’s voice and the power of sport to inspire people to take action in their communities, with Nike leading by example with its recently announced partnerships with world-class organizations dedicated to advancing this work,” stated the company.

A new film, simply titled Equality, anchors these values in the power of sport. The film, directed by Melina Matsoukas, features LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, Gabby Douglas, and Victor Cruz, amplifying their voices in an effort to uplift, open eyes and bring the positive values that sport can represent into wider focus. Equality also features actor Michael B. Jordan, who voices the film, and a new performance by Alicia Keys, singing Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come.’

Nike will also be donating $5 million in 2017 to organizations that promote equality. In addition, on February 16, they are launching a new line of ‘Equality’ T-shirts, as well as a special Black History Month line of sneakers. Proceeds will go to Nike’s Ever Higher Fund, a mentorship program aimed at young people.