It’s a disappointing reality that people of colour are still sorely lacking in representation. That’s not only on TV and in film, or in fashion.
It’s rare to see black people in adverts and posters, the ‘norm’ still stuck on white skin. That’s why GMFA’s new campaign is so important.
The charity has launched a series of posters around London featuring black same-sex couples to promote the importance of regular STI tests. The campaign, called Me.Him.Us, was developed to not only increase testing among gay and bisexual men, but to increase representation or gay and bisexual men of colour. Ian Howley,
Chief Executive of HERO – Health Equality and Rights Organisation, the parent organisation of GMFA, explains: ‘Over the last few years, HERO has been working close with the BAME LGBT+ community.
‘One of the issues that kept on coming up was the lack of representation, especially in mass media health promotion campaigns. ‘At HERO we listened and acted on this feedback. What people see is completely developed by BAME gay and bisexual men for BAME gay and bisexual men. ‘From the concept, to the models, to the design, all parts of this campaign came from a grass roots level.’
The ads will be displayed on high streets around South London, in areas including Brixton and Kennington, so keep an eye out.
Each poster features real gay and bisexual men, as the campaign’s creators were keen to capture black men being loving, caring, and compassionate with each other.
‘It reflects the community as it really is,’ says Marc Thompson, who worked as an advisor on the campaign. ‘It’s what we need and it’s the work we deserve in our community. The work should represent us.’
One of the stars of the campaign, Phil Samba, says he took part because he doesn’t feel accurately represented in the wider media.
only 12 ‘There is already a small amount of positive black male role models that steer away from stereotypes and there are even less ones that are gay,’ explains Phil. ‘Black gay men are atrociously misrepresented as either being aggressive and hypersexual.
‘When I was younger I never saw anyone who was like me on TV or heard anyone on the radio who was like me either and I think honest visibility and representation is so important for young black boys to feel comfortable in their sexuality however they see fit.’