Part of Dori Maynard’s dream is to dramatically shift the media’s treatment of Black men. When the stories that are told center around a narrow slice of a community’s life–or death– the resulting image shaped by those stories is grossly misinformed, and severely undervalued. We hear that young Black men have high death rates, high incarceration rates. We see stories of their murders on the nightly news. From that media violence breeds a culture of fear.
The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education set out on a partnership with the Washington Post’s The Root to create a series of 3 videos, called “BrotherSpeak,” that would share stories from the lives of extraordinary and everyday Black men. They chose three topics on which to center these stories: love, dreams and fear. When in our culture do we get to see Black men having these conversations?
The videos were powerful pieces of work, and Maynard realized that posting them to The Root’s website and hoping for the best would not be enough. They engaged Lux to design an online strategy not just for spreading the word about the videos, but also to discover new stories and join existing conversations. Lux thus facilitated a series of three hosted Twitter chats on each topic, coinciding with the release of the videos. Our work centered on inviting influential Black men from multiple sectors–not just the usual suspects of sports and entertainment–to participate in the discussion by answering questions, and asking their own.
The conversations were overwhelmingly emotional (captured in Storify pieces here), and Lux then compiled a metrics report detailing impact, engagement and reach to help inform Maynard in their next steps, as well as secure potential funding for expanding the project. You can watch Dori Maynard share her thoughts on #BrotherSpeak in this stunning video. We are deeply proud to have participated in this crucial work, and #BrotherSpeak lives on in our hearts daily.