In a powerful continuation of their commitment to diversity and inclusion, Cannes Lions has partnered with The Black Network for the third consecutive year to launch Black Out 2024. This initiative, announced on April 22, 2024, aims to elevate Black talent at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, reinforcing the festival’s dedication to fostering a more inclusive environment.

Cannes Lion

Cannes Lion

Building on Success

Following the remarkable success of the 2023 Black Out experience, Black Out 2024 seeks to further increase Black representation and inclusion within the marketing and creative industries. Cephas Williams, the founder of The Black Network, will spearhead this year’s campaign, which promises to facilitate the presence of new and outstanding Black professionals in the creative, marketing, and communications sectors at Cannes Lions in Cannes, France.

Commitment to Inclusion

As part of this ongoing partnership, Cannes Lions will provide 50 festival passes to support the Black Out mission, ensuring that talented individuals from the Black community can participate in and benefit from this globally recognized event. Simon Cook, CEO of LIONS, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “Cannes Lions is committed to actively combatting underrepresentation, and we’re delighted to build on our relationship with Cephas and The Black Network for a third year to make Cannes Lions a more inclusive space. The Black Network’s ongoing commitment to showcasing and fostering Black talent within the global creative community has successfully opened doors and provided unparalleled opportunities for the cohort it brings together. We’re grateful to be able to work alongside them and to provide more opportunities and access to the Festival.”

Purposeful Proximity

Cephas Williams emphasized the importance of the initiative, saying, “We are looking forward to embarking on the third year of this important proposition, a journey that began with a noticeable absence of Black individuals at the Cannes Lions Festival. Since then we’ve seen an increase in visibility across the beach, however, it’s clear that visibility is just the starting point. It’s vital for our presence to embody purpose and direction, ensuring effective alignment within the industry and our peers. This concept is derived from a term I coined at the inception of Black Out, ‘Purposeful Proximity.’ Each year, we witness the tangible impact of providing a platform for Black talent at Cannes Lions. Our community gains invaluable exposure and connections but also brings fresh perspectives that are vital to the evolution of the creative industry.”

Making an Impact

The continued success of Black Out means that The Black Network will have facilitated access for 114 Black professionals at Cannes Lions, with support from over 20 industry companies and numerous leaders. This initiative is more than just an opportunity for networking; it’s about creating meaningful, lasting change within the industry.

Open to All

The Black Network is open to applications from anyone in the Black community who seeks to make their mark in the creative industry. This year’s applicants will be selected based on their potential to benefit from the festival experience, their talent, and their ability to contribute to the ongoing conversation around inclusion, creativity, and innovation.

Looking Ahead

As Black Out 2024 prepares to build on the foundation laid in previous years, the collaboration between Cannes Lions and The Black Network continues to drive forward the agenda of diversity and inclusion. This partnership not only provides a platform for Black talent to shine but also ensures that the creative industry evolves to be more representative and inclusive.

The Black Out experience is a testament to the power of community, collaboration, and purposeful engagement. As the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival unfolds, it promises to be a landmark event in the journey toward a more inclusive and vibrant creative industry.

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