In the aftermath of an extremely divisive election, Nike releases a powerful new ad campaign that shares a message of equality. The 90-second video, starring big-name athletes like Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, and LeBron James, features a voice over (and brief cameo) by actor Michael B. Jordan while Alicia Keys‘ cover of Sam Cooke‘s famed “Change Is Gonna Come” soars in the background.
“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.”
The video, directed by Melina Matsoukas who won two Grammys for her work on Rihanna‘s “We Found Love” and Beyoncé‘s “Formation,” positions sports as society’s equalizer. “If we can be equals here,” Jordan begins, “We can be equals everywhere,” James finishes.
Along with the ad, which aired during the Grammys and will air again during the NBA’s All-Star Game on Feb. 19, Nike also released behind-the-scenes footage with interviews from the starring athletes, Jordan, and Keys about what equality means to them.
“[Equality is] basically the opportunity to do anything and to have access to everything and to not ever be held back or stopped from doing anything because you are different or you believe something different or you love different,” Keys said. “It’s that simple. I don’t know why it seems so hard for people to get sometimes.”
According to Nike, they will be selling EQUALITY t-shirts on nike.com and at select retailers as part of their Black History Month Collection, which historically supported organizations serving youth and their communities. Nike will also donate $5 million this year to organizations that “advance equality in communities across the U.S.,” including MENTOR and PeacePlayers.
Watch the ad and a behind-the-scenes video from the making of the commercial below.