Actress, writer, and producer Issa Rae has never been shy about amplifying Black and brown creatives — in fact, according to her, it’s “threaded in the fabric” of her being. So it was only right that she teamed up with a brand who’s company mission prioritizes the same principle.
Today, Rae and LIFEWTR announced their new partnership to unveil the launch of Life Unseen — the water brand’s new platform and bottle collection that highlights the ongoing fight for fair representation within four main creative territories across the arts — fashion, film, music and visual arts.
The new collaboration not only ties in Rae’s personal mission of always amplifying the unique work and perspectives of diverse creatives, it also works to address the systemic disparities and inequities that continue to plague the creative community — which starts with building a pipeline for storytelling that cultivates new opportunities for the next generation of creators.
“It’s kind of a dream come true for me to partner with a brand that has prioritized underrepresented voices. It’s something I [myself] have tried to prioritize my entire career,” Rae tells AfroTech. “Since LIFEWTR started they’ve been very intentional about shining a light on diverse voices, so for me I’m always about trying to align myself with companies that have the same mission.”
“Being a creative that’s come up in the industry, as a creator period, all you want is for your work to be seen because that could lead to the next step in your career, being discovered, and so many more opportunities down the line,” she adds. “Any opportunity to take part in that, and kind of be a liaison between an artist’s work and their next opportunity, I’m all about so this was such a natural collaboration.”
By partnering with one of, if not the most vocal advocate of diverse representation in media and entertainment, LIFEWTR and Rae’s collaboration signifies the brand’s biggest campaign since it first launched in 2017.
The purpose behind the new collaboration lies in both parties’ desires to uplift the overlooked creative voices that deserve to be heard across the arts. To Rae, Life Unseen is both a conversation-starter and vessel that’s holding a mirror up to the creative industries that have failed to solve their diversity issues on their own accord.
“We’re showcasing the work of these creatives and giving them a platform. It’s really up to Hollywood, the music industry, the museums, and the fashion industry to take notice,” Rae tells us. “We’re serving them up on a platter and saying, ‘Hey these are brilliant artists, give them opportunities.’ It’s up to those industries to kind of do their own parts so I hope this [collaboration] sets an example if anything.”
In a press statement she says, “As a creative and an avid consumer, I’ve witnessed firsthand how bias flows through fashion, film, music, visual arts and other creative territories. LIFEWTR understands that creativity literally doesn’t exist without diversity of culture, perspective and interpretation. Together, we’re inviting everyone to help shine a light so the work of unseen artists can be seen.”
Life Unseen’s platform is kicking off its debut by bringing four key elements to life — including a launch video that showcases how a lack of representation affects diverse creatives, as well as a contest that invites tomorrow’s creatives to share their artistic concepts on social media to secure their next big gig.
According to Rae, the new campaign is searching for five additional creators to have their next fashion, film, music or visual arts endeavor financed. They’ll have a chance to submit their work through Instagram via the hashtag #LifeUnseenContest now through July 30 and receive $10,000 in funding.
“We’re [all] super excited to be hands on in selecting these artists. I’ll mentor the next five artists that we pick as well,” Rae told AfroTech.
Additionally, the platform has introduced a first-of-its-kind study — developed by the Institute for Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity — that raises awareness around representational blind spots within the four main previously-mentioned creative industries. The study details how these blind spots impact several underrepresented communities, including people of color, persons with physical disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and women.
Moreover, Life Unseen’s Artist Collective features 20 creatives involved in fashion, film, music and visual arts, who have all been hand-selected to showcase their artistic creations and stories with the world.
A press release shares that each creator’s individual artwork will also be displayed on LIFEWTR’s upcoming 20-bottle collection — the largest bottle collection to date — set to roll out at retailers nationwide starting May 17.
For more information about the Life Unseen campaign, click here.
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