The "United We Stand" campaign has partnered with local groups in five of the least LGBTQ+ friendly locales in the country to document the diversity of narratives within those communities. To tell those stories, Unilever engaged prominent filmmaker and artist Tourmaline along with the creative agency RanaVerse to develop the series in time for Pride. The five videos just dropped Wednesday.
With the help of LGBTQ+ community strategist Sean Coleman, Unilever and RanaVerse targeted five cities that ranked at the bottom with a zero score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index: Monroe, La Moore, Okla.; Clemson, S.C.; Florence, Ala.; and towns and cities in need of support in southwest Missouri. Then they partnered with a local LGBTQ+ organization in that area to help bring awareness to the community and their plight through film: Forum for Equality, Freedom Oklahoma, South Carolina Black Pride, the Knights and Orchids Society, and PFLAG Springfield, respectively.
"This year, with Unilever, we've built upon the tremendous success of the past two years of 'United We Stand' by highlighting the stories of five local LGBTQ+ change-making organizations, as seen through the lens of rural, Black, LatinX, indigenous and TGNC communities," artist and filmmaker Tourmaline said in a statement. "These films include direct calls to action and ways to get involved to support local LGBTQ+ communities Monroe, Louisiana; Moore, Oklahoma; Clemson, South Carolina; Florence, Alabama; South Missouri. We're showing how social transformation happens year-round, and connecting our audience to the pleasure of changing the world, little by little, into one in which we can all show up as the biggest versions of ourselves."
"I love the work Tourmaline continues to do with Unilever around LGBTQ+ narratives because it centers a range of queer stories while shifting the focus of the work away from the coasts -- where the majority of the focus on LGBTQ+ people has been, disproportionately, for so many years," Founder and CEO of RanaVerse Rana Reeves (pictured above) said in a statement. "You can never fully show the rich tapestry of American LGBTQ+ experience, even in 5 films, but you can begin to widen the lense."
The change-makers within each film represent the diversity of experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. The films center the stories of Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Transgender/Non-conforming folks, with Tourmaline and her subjects sharing their stories of hope, love, and survival with a wider audience.
"Queer people have a historic talent for lifting each other up, for banding together as one to fight for the collective good," Tourmaline said. "During a time like Pride, rather than focusing on the pain and anguish of the LGBTQ+ experience, we will celebrate the thriving, abundance, and joy of the community."
One of the world's leading suppliers of personal care, home, food, and refreshment products with such household names as Lipton, Ben & Jerry's, Q-Tips, Vaseline, and the Dollar Shave Club, Unilever uses its platform to help improve the health of the planets and the people who populate it, seeking to create a more fair and socially inclusive world. RanaVerse is the creation of CEO Reeves and seeks to marry brands with contemporary culture in an impactful way that centers equality while promoting breaking barriers and promoting creative freedom with new and innovative ideas.