The One Club and WPP Announce “Behind the Stonewall Riots” Winners, Celebrating Creativity in the Black LGTBQ+ Community

The One Club for Creativity and WPP today announced the three winners in the firstBehind the Stonewall Riots” (BTSR) program, a free competition designed to raise awareness for the important role of trans women and gender non-conforming individuals of color who participated in the historic 1969 event and paved the way for the LGBTQ+ community.

The free competition is open to Black LGBTQ+ creatives aged 18 or over around the world -— artists, writers, designers, journalists, podcast hosts, storytellers — who are entry-level talent not currently employed by an advertising, marketing or communications agency.  BTSR provides a platform for black creatives to share their stories, and that of Black LGBTQ+ pioneers.

Entrants were asked to select a charity or nonprofit that works with the LGBTQ+ community, and create a campaign for them inspired by the true igniters of the Stonewall Riots: trans women and gender non-conforming individuals of color such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who were on the front lines of advancing the LGBTQ+ community.  

Johnathan Gabriel, an art director and artist based in Austin, Texas, was selected as BTSR Gold winner for “Flower Crown Riot”, created on behalf of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.  The campaign centered on flower crowns like those worn by Johnson, utilized in real life at events, in political campaigns and on social media to pay homage to Black trans women and bring awareness to their fight for equality.

As the Gold winner, he receives a $4,000 cash prize, $2,000 to donate to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, two portfolio review sessions with Keith Cartwright, President & Chief Creative Officer of WPP-backed agency Cartwright, a 10-week internship with a WPP agency, and access to WPP’s NextGen Leaders content.  

Gabriel is a graduate of The One Club’s ONE School, the breakthrough free portfolio program for Black creatives, and a past participant in the club’s Creative Boot Camp.

The BTSR Silver winner is freelancer Jordan Avery, based in Melbourne, Florida, for “In Color” on behalf of charity Equality Florida.  Taking inspiration from the Lavender Scare of the 1950s and the actions of House of Labeija founder Crystal Labeija, the video and print campaign carried the message “There is more to our world than just black and white.  Those worth remembering are those who lived in color”.  He receives $2,000 and access to WPP’s NextGen Leaders content.

BTSR Bronze winner is Vennessa Hanshaw, a student at Miami Ad School Toronto, for “Spot the Difference” on behalf of Human Rights Campaign.  The out-of-home, print and merchandise campaign used rows of images of the generic person symbol to showcase that everyone is equal.  She receives a $1,000 prize as well as access to WPP’s NextGen Leaders content.

Judges for “Behind the Stonewall Riots” included:

  • Daryl Adams Jr., VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, H+K Strategies
  • Keith Cartwright, CEO/founder, Cartwright, The One Club Board member
  • Brian Ellner, EVP, Growth and Marketing, BCW, WPP Unite
  • Ant Jackson, Senior Copywriter, Wunderman Thompson, WPP Unite
  • Chelsea Jackson, Racial Equity Program Manager, WPP, WPP Roots
  • Laura Jordan Bambach, President/CCO, Grey, WPP Unite
  • Rob Reilly, CCO, WPP, The One Club Board member

“Behind the Stonewall Riots” is driven by two groups within WPP: WPP Unite, an LGBTQ+ community united to ensure diverse thinking and creativity thrives within WPP’s workplaces and within its work, and WPP Roots, a network of individuals passionate about championing greater ethnic and cultural diversity within WPP and the creative industry.

“This competition is a celebration of the creativity and potential existing within the Black LGBTQ+ community, one of the most underrepresented talent groups within the advertising industry,” said Rob Reilly, WPP’s Chief Creative Officer.  “Johnathan, Jordan and Vennessa each approached this competition in a unique and thoughtful way and their work was a thrill to judge. I can’t wait to see where their creativity and imagination take them and hope their work inspires others to consider a career in the creative industry.”

“The One Club for Creativity exists to support the creative community, and one of our top priorities is expanding creativity through diversity,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO.  “As our name says, we are the industry’s foremost global nonprofit organization ‘for creativity’, and are very proud to work with WPP on this new program that identifies, elevates, gives voice and helps open the door to young LGTBQ creative talent.”

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