With marriage equality established across the nation, Oscar-winning activist Dustin Lance Black is, once again, taking to the screen to affect change. His upcoming ABC special, When We Rise, is an eight-hour exploration of the interconnectedness of activists from the LGBT, civil rights, women's rights, and peace movements,
Black recently directed a pro-equality commercial for Tylenol, featuring same-sex couples, which was well received in the United States. He's also channeling his energy south of the border, directing a series of three short anti-bullying films for Coca-Cola to be aired across Latin America. One, 'El SMS' (or 'The Text'), revolves around LGBT youth.
Speaking with Adweek, Black discussed the project.
On the reaction:
"The campaign in general is doing quite well, but the response in the LGBT community to 'The Text' was remarkable. I heard from one of the heads at the ABC network about how much it moved her. I heard from Cleve Jones, one of the leaders of the LGBT movement, about how much it moved him. And these aren't people I sent it to. They found it, which I find remarkable, since it's in Portuguese on the Internet. For Coca-Cola to take a pro-diversity, pro-equality stance creates a lot of goodwill in the LGBT community. It's heartwarming for the LGBT community to see that a global brand would embrace this community because, let's be honest, there are places in the world that know about Coca-Cola where it is still a death sentence to be gay." On cynics doubting Coca-Cola's sincerity:
"Some of them are very critical of what the intent of the brand might have been. And I say, 'Yes, their intent was to win a market, and their intent was to sell their product.' My intent was to send the message that diversity is a good thing and LGBT people and their families deserve respect and love. Well, I'm not going to skip an opportunity to send a pro-equality message just because they're selling a product alongside it."
Read the full interview on Adweek.