ITV’s Black History Month spot brings culture and community to the fore

Campaign highlights role of black art, food and literature in Britain.

ITV is marking Black History Month with a series of channel idents and newly commissioned programmes, which are set to run throughout October.

Created by ITV Creative and narrated by black celebrities including Maya Jama, Ashley Banjo and Noel Clarke, “It’s all about” highlights the role of black culture, literature, food, the arts and “people coming together” in creating British society as we know it today.

The ad also features scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock, filmmaker Amma Asante (who directed Nokia’s No Time To Die-inspired spot), Red Dwarf actor Craig Charles, actress Floella Benjamin, former high court judge Dame Linda Dobbs, Arthur Wharton (considered the world's first black professional footballer), TV personality Alison Hammond, recording artist Fuse ODG and historian David Olusoga.

Launching today (1 October) and running throughout October, the work was created by Adie Headley and Anthony Dziworshie.

“The inspiration behind our spot was to celebrate black culture and all its many facets,” Headley and Dziworshie said. 

“We wanted to create a piece of work that showed the vast range of skills, talents and professions that black people have thrived within, across Britain, for many generations.

“Too often, black people are portrayed as being monolithic, so from shining a light on staple-holds, such as Mary Seacole, to modern-day writers like David Olusoga, we wanted to show the breadth of how black culture has influenced Britain.” 

ITV’s on-air branding will be designed by black artists throughout Black History Month as part of ITV Creates, for which artists created channel idents last year.

The Black History Month idents were created by Hamed Maiye, Neequaye Dreph Dsane, King Owusu, Alfie Kungu and Carleen De Sözer. 

“ITV has never marked Black History Month in quite this way before,” Ade Rawcliffe, director of diversity and inclusion at ITV, said. 

She claimed that ITV’s Diversity Acceleration Plan (launched in July) aimed to ensure that the channel’s commissioning was more reflective of contemporary British life through showcasing black talent, both on screen and behind the camera.

Rawcliffe added: “Our ambition is that the legacy of Black History Month remains across our output, on screen and off, and all year round.”

In July, ITV launched its “Black voices” platform in an attempt to combat racism and introduced mandatory training on race for all staff and on-screen presenters.

In September, ITV ran an anti-racism ad in support of dance group Diversity, following more than 24,000 complaints about its Black Lives Matter-themed performance on Britain’s Got Talent.

The broadcaster's Black History Month content will be available on its on-demand platform ITV Hub. 

It is also lauching four TV shows: IRL with Team Charlene, which aims to explain racism and the Black Lives Matter movement to children; Alison Hammond: Back to School, which looks into black figures commonly overlooked in British history; Sorry, I Didn’t Know, which quizzes teams on their black history knowledge; and Craig & Danny: Funny, Black and on TV, which looks back on Britain’s black comedy legends.

Satmohan Panesar, commissioning editor at ITV, added: “These programmes span factual, entertainment and children’s, in an effort to reach out to viewers across the board at all levels. 

“We hope viewers will enjoy the incredible stories, wonderful entertainment and fascinating people they focus on as we look at Britain from a vital and different perspective and celebrate the contribution of black people to Britain’s story, our culture and our lives.”