During the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Nike used its platform to share a strong message about equality.
The 90-second commercial features appearances from Serena Williams, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad and Gabby Douglas. Michael B. Jordan, who makes a brief cameo, provides the voiceover while Alicia Keys covers Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” The commercial is directed by Melina Matsoukas, who has two Grammy Awards for her work on Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Beyonce’s “Formation.”
“Is this the land history promised?” Jordan asks. “Here, within these lines, on this concrete court, this patch of turf. Here, you’re defined by your actions. Not your looks or beliefs. Equality should have no boundaries. The bonds we find here should run past these lines. Opportunity should not discriminate. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. Work should outshine color. If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.”
Nike also released a behind-the-scenes look at the commercial to show what equality means to each of the athletes involved. “At the end of the day, we’re always just trying to find a way that we can all feel equal, we can all be equal, have the same rights, have the same feelings, being able to be in the same place no matter the color,” says James.
Nike’s campaign comes during Black History Month and the company is currently promoting “Equality” t-shirts on their website. According to Adweek, Nike plans to donate $5 million this calendar year to “numerous organizations that advance equality in communities across the U.S., including Mentor and PeacePlayers.” Their equality commercial is expected to air again during the NBA’s All-Star Game on Feb. 19.