If you haven’t heard about the Procter and Gamble commercial, The Talk, let me please be the one to introduce it to you. It’s raw, it’s historical and it’s spot on!
Anyone claiming it’s race baiting, racist or that they’re going to boycott Procter and Gable because of it, I say this: ask yourself why it touches a nerve. And for touching a nerve, for telling it like it is, Procter and Gamble apparently doesn’t make any apologies and frankly, my dear, I could give a rat’s ass about the sensitivities of folks who are offended by the new Procter and Gamble commercial.
“That’s not a compliment,” says a mother to her young daughter as they stand in front of the mirror. We presume the scene is taking place in the 1930s.
“Listen. It’s an ugly, nasty word, and you are going to hear it, and there’s nothing I can do about that,” says a mother in an updo wearing 1950s-style glasses.
Jumping ahead to bellbottoms, sweater vests and Afros that men and women of color made not only fashionable, but also were conveying Black Power in the 1970s, with her arm around her son in his baseball uniform she imparts this wisdom to him: “There are some people who feel you don’t deserve the same privileges just because of what you look like.”
Under an umbrella to shield themselves from the rain, a mom tells her daughter she can be anything she wants and she’s just as good as they are (the camera had just panned on a bunch of White kids running and playing), but you have to be twice as good and twice as smart.
Getting closer to modern-day, a mother and son are just finishing dinner when she asks (probably for the 100th time) whether her son has his ID on him … “in case they stop you.” She lets him walk out the door with his drumsticks knowing full well some cop won’t wait to find out they’re not some new fangled weapon before he kills this young drummer.
If you haven’t got tears in your eyes by this point in the commercial, just wait…
Mom is letting her daughter drive her to work and then presumably continue going on to school. Mom gives her the talk. “It’s not about if you’ll be pulled over, it’s a question of when.” Initially, the new driver assumes her mother is questioning her driving skills. “This is about you not coming home,” Mom adds.
The sobering response shakes the once confident young woman, who says, “I’m going to be okay.” It’s a declarative statement. She pauses and looks at her very concerned mother, whose face we no longer see and asks, “Right?”
“You are not pretty for a Black girl,” says the mom who earlier had to explain to her daughter that the comment by the woman at the store was not a compliment. “You are beautiful, period.”
I had wondered whether Procter and Gamble’s leadership team changed from all-White to being more of a level playing field, but it doesn’t look like it. So what’s the incentive for them? Indeed the company has a few PoC in leadership roles: two Black (one could be Biracial), two Indians, two Hispanic and one Asian. The leadership teams comprises 33 people. So now I am even more curious than ever: why would Procter and Gamble make the commercial?
Oh, you haven’t seen the Procter and Gamble commercial? Sorry, here it is:
Now that you have seen the Procter and Gamble commercial, let’s talk about the talk.
This was originally published on Multiracial Media.