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LIFEWTR® Partners with Issa Rae to Launch “Life Unseen™,” a New Platform for Fair Representation in the Arts
The campaign exposes representational blind spots in the creative industry, while uplifting the expressions of 20 diverse individuals spanning fashion, film, music and visual arts through storytelling and the brand’s largest bottle collection to date.
LIFEWTR, a premium bottled water brand committed to advancing and showcasing sources of creativity, has partnered with writer, producer and actress Issa Rae for the launch of Life Unseen, the brand’s new platform in the fight for fair representation in the arts. Marking the LIFEWTR brand’s latest endeavor to amplify the unique work and perspectives of diverse creatives, Life Unseen seeks to raise awareness of the systemic disparities that continue to stifle equitable access and exposure across the arts, celebrate the work of diverse creatives and help cultivate new opportunities for the next generation. As one of the industry’s most vocal advocates of diverse representation, Issa Rae’s collaboration with LIFEWTR for Life Unseen aptly signals one of the brand’s largest campaigns since its inception in 2017.
As part of the platform’s debut, Life Unseen will bring four key campaign elements to life:
- The Life Unseen Study: Life Unseen introduces a first-of-its-kind study, developed by the Institute for Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (QSIDE). The study can be viewed in its entirety as well as through an interactive tool, and seeks to increase awareness of representational blind spots and systemic disparity across four major creative industries, including fashion, film, music and visual arts, that impact those of diverse, underrepresented backgrounds, including people of color, persons with physical disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and women.
- The Life Unseen Artist Collective: The campaign includes a 20-strong artist collective, featuring creatives spanning fashion, film, music and visual arts, who have been selected to showcase their artistic expressions and stories with the world. Each creative was tapped to submit their own inspired pieces of artwork, which will be featured on the LIFEWTR brand’s largest bottle collection to date.
- The Life Unseen Launch Video: LIFEWTR unveils its latest visual content on behalf of Life Unseen, serving as a visual representation of what happens when diverse artistic works go unseen, featuring diverse creatives both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
- The #LifeUnseenContest: Aiming to inspire creative flow for all, LIFEWTR and Issa Rae are calling upon the next generation of creatives to share their own concepts using the hashtag #LifeUnseenContest now through July 30, for a chance to receive exposure through the LIFEWTR platform, mentorship from Issa Rae and $10,000 to fund their future endeavors.
“As a creative and an avid consumer, I’ve witnessed firsthand how bias flows through fashion, film, music, visual arts and other creative territories,” said Issa. “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.”
The Life Unseen Study
In a new study conducted in partnership with the Institute for Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (QSIDE), LIFEWTR found that representational gaps across gender identity, race & ethnicity, sexual orientation and people with mobility, vision and hearing impairments are prevalent in all sectors of the creative industry. For instance, women represent less than 30% of the most influential artists in three of the four areas investigated (music, film, and visual arts). Separately, while individuals with physical disabilities account for an estimated 13% of the U.S. population, findings from the study conclude that they represent less than 1% of the most influential artists in the creative areas researched. To explore the study in its entirety, consumers are invited to check out the Life Unseen interactive digital hub on LIFEWTR.com.
The Life Unseen Artist Collective
LIFEWTR has selected 20 creatives from underrepresented groups across fashion, film, music and visual arts to be featured in the Life Unseen campaign through powerful digital content displayed on LIFEWTR.com, @LIFEWTR and #LifeUnseen, showcasing their own creative expressions and journeys. In addition, their individual artwork will also be displayed on an upcoming 20-bottle LIFEWTR collection, which rolls out at retailers nationwide starting May 17th. The Life Unseen bottle collection marks the brand’s largest to date.
The Life Unseen campaign’s full roster of featured creatives include:
- Bristol Studio, Creative Directors Luke Tadashi, Jake Fenster, Rashaad Dixon and MAASAI Ephriam
- Christina Mallon, Inclusive Designer
- Desiree Scarborough, Artist and Designer
- Pierre Davis & NO SESSO, Co-Founder and Designer
- Ginew, Designers and Co-Founders Erik Brodt and Amanda Bruegl
- Amandla Baraka, Director and Photographer
- Alexandra Cuerdo, Director and Writer
- Anthony Blue Jr., Multidisciplinary Artist
- Fany de la Chica, Film Director and Singer
- Nariman Hamed, Filmmaker
- Arnetta Johnson, Musician
- Gina Chavez, Recording Artist
- Michl, Musician
- Run River North, Indie-Rock Band featuring Alex Hwang, Sally Kang and Daniel Chae
- Yung Baby Tate, Musician
- Christophe Roberts, Artist
- Mariam Paré, Artist
- Marly Gallardo, Artist
- Shanée Benjamin, Illustrator and Art Director
- Shawna X, Artist and Creative
The Life Unseen Launch Video
Using compelling visuals and narration, the Life Unseen Launch Video serves as a digital manifestation of the impact on diverse artists when their creative work goes unnoticed. It also showcases the beauty of a world filled with art from all creators — art that has the potential to inspire the next generation. The video spotlights Shanée Benjamin, Christina Mallon, Gina Chavez and Anthony Blue Jr. and features voiceover by Yung Baby Tate — five of the Life Unseen campaign’s featured creatives — and was made in collaboration with Color Creative, a company founded by Issa Rae and Deniese Davis that focuses on driving opportunities for underrepresented talent in film, TV and digital platforms. The Life Unseen video was directed by child, who has become highly regarded for their bold, stylized aesthetic, work with mainstream artists, as well as their use of video content to uncover the depths of the Black experience.
To support the next generation of creatives, LIFEWTR is inviting consumers to enter for a chance to win $10,000 to fund their next fashion, film, music or visual arts endeavor, a dedicated mentorship session with Issa Rae to provide valuable advice and insights, and see their completed work added to the Life Unseen gallery on LIFEWTR.com. To enter, consumers must share an Instagram post on their public profile with #LifeUnseenContest, showcasing an image and/or description of a project they would like to create, from now until July 30, 2021. Five creatives will be announced later this summer, based on three key criteria including Power of Story, Creativity and Originality. Consumers are also invited to tag their favorite up-and-coming creatives using the hashtag to encourage them to enter. Full rules for The #LifeUnseenContest can be viewed here.
Since the brand’s inception in 2017, LIFEWTR has remained committed to developing programming and partnerships that amplify and support the work of diverse creatives. For LIFEWTR, diversity and representation go beyond just the brand’s mission. With a team of leaders that are reflective of the diverse ecosystem they promote through the brand’s platform, the LIFEWTR brand’s commitment to equality and belonging runs deeper than water.
“At LIFEWTR, we believe nothing should limit a creator from sharing their perspective with the world. Yet, we remain acutely aware that pervasive bias across creative industries has left entire communities and their work unseen by the masses,” said Zach Harris, Vice President, Water Portfolio at PepsiCo Beverages North America. “That’s why, together with Issa Rae, we’re thrilled to unleash Life Unseen into the world, featuring our largest bottle collection ever, as we continue to use our platform to support the work of all creatives.”