Gentry Friday

by David Forbes November 25, 2016

An exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the planning meeting for a local, not-at-all-cluelessly-awful Black Friday promotional video for a business consortium

Recently, the following promotional video has been making the rounds causing, as one might expect, some comment.

The Blade has obtained an exclusive transcript of the decision-making process behind it. We’ve reproduced it below:

“Ok, we need a great new promotional video for Black Friday.”

“What about: ‘Friday doesn’t have to be black?'”

“Wait, you know we’re right in the middle of an area hard-hit by redlining and gentrification…”

“Yes, indeed, one that’s majority black, fighting against the impact of poverty and the legacy of racist government policies. One that’s seen its own business community pushed out or steadily disappear? Where it’s become such an issue that the city and the feds finally ended up issuing whole studies on the problem?”

“Exactly.”

“So the slogan is an awesome idea, and not at all terrible?”

“Well, it’s missing something…”

“Maybe we should put the word BLACK in capital letters?”

“Hmm.”

“Capital black letters, right near the beginning?”

“GENIUS.”

“Okay, next idea, also fantastic: let’s fill the video with white people.”

“Hmm…”

“Including that guy who was protested last year when he was facing sexual battery charges…”

“Closer…”

“Ok, what if they’re pouring white wine in slow motion?”

“SOLD.”

“Great! With Fiasco Pictures at the helm this will in no way end up a thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way.”

Joking aside, this kind of clueless-to-the-point-of-incompetence work is an example of the problems we face, depicting Asheville as a playground for the white and wealthy even when showing areas in the middle of the most predominantly African-American part of the city. It’s far from the only culprit, but the fact it was signed off on without anyone involved apparently having the sense to go “wait, this is a really bad idea” shows the depths of ignorance our city faces in trying to deal with de facto segregation.

Like every other group, local business owners in the arts range from good people trying to make a living and improve Asheville to those out for their own greed who are avidly encouraging segregating the city further in the process. The former deserve far, far better than this crap claiming to represent them. As for the latter, well, to them this probably looks just fine.

In general, I’m personally a fan of spending this day with friends or family and not spending cash. But if you are shopping today have a look at this directory of local African-American businesses — or add one you know of that isn’t listed as it’s a community-built directory — and spend accordingly.

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