This week marks the beginning of celebrating Black History Month, and companies across all sectors are in full swing of month-long activations. But celebrating Black excellence and fighting against racism does not start or stop in February. These topics require long-lasting commitments that start from the inside out. Today we highlight how one company’s established works have come to fruition this month to create impactful change in a local community.
To celebrate the history and future of Black culture in Baltimore, Under Armour has launched a collaborative ‘Love Letter’ to the city – two years in the making. The apparel company’s internal employee group, Black Employees Achieving Together (BEAT), teamed up with Baltimore community leader, Devin Allen – a renowned self-taught photographer whose work has been on the cover of Time magazine twice – to release a special capsule collection that supports regional youth programs. The UNDR ARMR x DVNLLN initiative features Allen’s photos of young local people throughout the city to inspire future generations of athletes and artists alike. The goal was to be “unapologetically Black,” authentic and “change the narrative around a city that is underserved and often misunderstood.” Proceeds from the line will benefit Wide Angle Youth Media, a nonprofit that provides “Baltimore youth and communities with the media education and resources to represent themselves.” This robust campaign is summed up perfectly by Under Armour’s Chief People Officer, Tchernavia Rocker, who said in an interview that the objective of this effort is to “open up doors and make sure they stay open.”
Black History Month is one of many moments in time to reinforce a company’s commitments to fight against racial injustice, but it must be more than a one-off consumer campaign. What’s unique about Under Armour’s initiative is that the concept started internally with its own people, but also brought in the Baltimore community to create lasting, authentic and systemic change. This month and every month, companies must lean into their Purpose and keep building upon their JEDI IQs to create sustained transformation internally and externally.