In 1968, I went from Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes, then said to be America's largest housing project, to Chicago's North Michigan Avenue (I've since dubbed it "The Mad Mile"), where many of the world's biggest advertising agencies had their offices.
I became one of the first AfrAmericans hired to become creative ad folks. I worked at legendary agencies, starting at Foote, Cone & Belding (now just FCB), McCann-Erickson, Young & Rubicam (Y&R), Needham, Harper & Steers, (now DDB), J. Walter Thompson, Leo Burnett and Burrell (then the largest "black" agency in the world).
I was 20 years old when I started. Now I'm 70.
So I spent 35 of the last 50 years creating ads and commercials for the biggest ad agencies and brands in the world.
But it was only about 8 years ago that it dawned on me that everything I'd learned in the ad game applied to solving America's oldest and most potentially devastating problem - racism and white supremacy. One word explained it all: Brand.