Black American history is American history, and celebrating the rich, varied cultures and achievements of Black Americans should not be relegated to a single month. With that in mind, OMG’s Black Leadership Network (BLN), expanded their Black History Month event series to take place beyond February and throughout Q1 (or what BLN East Co-Chair and Events Lead Andriena Coleman is calling “Black History Quarter”).

In January, the BLN and sister Omnicom agency KERN kicked off the new year with a discussion of the book “Uncommon Sense,” which touches on the role of slavery in American history and how, in order to progress further, our country must divest itself of bigotry, prejudice and malice.

Next, the BLN and OMD hosted a fireside chat with Carol Bash, founder and president of Paradox Films, and archival producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS film, “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.” The documentary tells the powerful story of the rise, influence and evolution of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Check out the full discussion here.

The BLN tapped Tuwisha Rogers, VP of Brands and Partnerships at the National Museum of African American Music, to provide a virtual glimpse into the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM). NMAAM is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced and inspired by Black Americans. The museum’s expertly-curated collections share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring the musical heroes of the past into the present.

Racial injustice and violence against Black Americans finally grabbed the world’s long-overdue attention and placed an even bigger spotlight on systemic racism, diversity, inclusion and equity efforts (and lack thereof) in 2020. The BLN, in partnership with Specialty Marketing Group and Ketchum from DAS Group of Companies, hosted a town hall discussion with Dr. Jason Chambers, PHD from the University of Illinois to explore the impact movements like Black Lives Matter have had prior to and since 2020. View the complete conversation here.

In addition to insightful panel discussions and fireside chats, the BLN presented fun, engaging sessions: a mixology demo with Josh Davis, founder of Brown and Balanced, in partnership with Pandora; two fitness classes led by Grillz & Granola, in partnership with Omnicom Health Group; and a soul food cooking class with Chef Jabari Butler, in partnership with Resolution. 

The BLN and OMD teamed up again for a virtual “Night Out” with live music. Attendees enjoyed sounds from acclaimed saxophonist Loyd Watson Jr. as he dove into the history of jazz and played a selection of tunes that helped to tell the story.

As a celebration of both Black History Quarter and Women’s History Month, the BLN and Hearts & Science partnered for a panel discussion with Black-owned beauty and fashion brand owners who discussed their respective companies, their thoughts on cultural appropriation and more. The panel featured:

First Row: Jennifer Akese-Burney of Akese Stylelines, Akilah Light of A Light Style and Treasure Mallory of Nikki and Mallory

Second Row: Tamara Lewis-Cunningham and Zandra Azariah Cunningham of Zandra Beauty, and OMG’s own Yolanda Richardson. View the conversation here.

Black History Quarter isn’t over yet – stay tuned for more in the coming days as OMG continues to celebrate.

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