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MTV To Air Programming In Black And White For Martin Luther King Day

Viacom’s MTV said its programming would appear in black and white on Monday, January 19, in an effort to generate talk about racial issues on Martin Luther King Day.

Commercials will continue to appear in color, a spokesman for the network said.

“Our audience is looking for a way to bring the national conversation on race into their homes and this campaign will give them a forum to express true color bravery,” said Stephen Friedman, president of MTV, in a statement.

As part of the effort,  every commercial block will begin with personal reflections on race from celebrities and other luminaries,  including Kendrick Lamar, Common, Big Sean, Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, Penn Badgley, Jordin Sparks, Pete Wentz, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. John Lewis, Sen. Cory Booker (pictured, above) and more.

MTV has lent the initiative, which will appear starting at 9 a.m. Eastern on Martin Luther King Day and continue for 12  hours, the hashtag #TheTalk, and will use on-air creative on MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams and a comprehensive editorial push across MTV’s online, mobile and social platforms to encourage audience members to share their own reflections using the hashtag and the web site, LookDifferent.org.  MTV will share many of the audience contributions on-air and online.

MTV’s maneuver is part of its “Look Different” advocacy campaign against bias, which launched in April of 2014 and is shaped by a network study conducted last year on young people. race, gender and sexual orientation. According to the research, many millenials were raised to believe they should treat everyone the same, and not acknowledge racial differences and other cultural distinctions. MTV found the stance has resulted in a paucity of discussion about race or bias.

 

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