Anti-Discrimination PSAs features Wynton Marsalis

Posted on January 18th, 2008 in Video | Tags: discrimination, equal employment opportunity commission

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) partnered with Wynton and New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center to produce two public service announcements (PSAs) on workplace discrimination. Each of the following 30-second spots aims to increase recognition and reporting of race discrimination at work by making viewers aware that it is against the law.

Both 30-second PSAs feature Wynton and focus on the value of diversity in the workplace and the dangers of discrimination. The PSAs were produced in cooperation with Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) and shot at JALC’s New York facility in October. The EEOC plans an aggressive push to air the PSAs on television and cable stations, on web sites and on radio. The spots are close-captioned for the hearing-impaired.

The announcements should help heighten awareness of race and color discrimination as the EEOC advances its national initiative to bring a fresh, 21st century approach to combating racism, which remains the most frequent claim filed with the agency. E-RACE (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment) is an outreach, education, and enforcement campaign to advance the statutory right to a workplace free of race and color discrimination.

“The EEOC is proud to partner with Wynton Marsalis to convey this information,” EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp said. “His participation enhances our message and ensures that a broad audience will be apprised of the importance of equal employment opportunity.”

In the spots, Wynton speaks the following lines:

Whether it’s Beethoven or Basie, music blends different notes and different people into something very special. If we all played the same notes, the music would be boring. It’s the same way in the workplace. People come from different cultures and backgrounds, but to succeed, they need to work together as a team. It’s about equal opportunity.

When we choose musicians to play a piece of music, we don’t care what they look like; We care how well they play. That’s the way every job should be, but it isn’t always. Some people play a cacophonous tune called discrimination. It’s not just unfair, mean-spirited, and counterproductive; It’s also illegal. It’s really all about equal opportunity.