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Cîroc and Diddy mark Black Excellence Month

American rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and vodka brand Cîroc have launched the latest instalment of the #CirocStands campaign in celebration of Black Excellence Month.

vodka brand Cîroc
Danielle Mullen is the owner of Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery in Chicago

The campaign aims to support Black and Brown voices through videos and billboards. The latest leg of the campaign is a short video filmed in Chicago and amplifies the voices of four Black residents.

Cîroc and Combs teamed up with former Chicago Bulls basketball player Joakim Noah and media personality Angela Yee for the spot.

“I’m so thrilled that I got the chance to interview these remarkable Chi-town heroes,” said Yee. “They’re making such a profound impact in their communities, providing inspiration to future generations and even this generation.

“I think it’s the perfect time to share these stories of Black excellence with our community so that even more people can realise that their dreams are within reach.”

According to NBC News, the number of American Black business owners increased by a staggering 38% from February 2020 to August 2021.

The profiles included in the campaign include Ian Gonzalez, a resident who owns Last Lap Cornerstore, the first and only Black- and Latinx-owned store on the South Side in Chicago; Danielle Mullen, owner of Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery; Midge Welch, owner of Issues Barber and Beauty Salon; and Darris Kelly and Sabrian Sledge, owners of fashion boutique Flee Club Chicago.

“As someone who’s made Chicago home over the years, I’ve always been proud of how much Chicagoans support their own and continue to build the Black community,” commented Joakim Noah.

“These community leaders, each of whom has carved out their own individual paths to find success here in Chicago, should inspire others to think creatively, work tirelessly and seize their destinies by establishing their own businesses in their own communities.”

Combs and the Diageo-owned Cîroc vodka partnered in 2007. The brand donated US$1 million to a nine-hour online dance-a-thon hosted by the rapper in 2020, which was virtually attended by celebrities including Jennifer Lopez and Drake.

Adrienne Cuschieri, Cîroc brand director, added: “The stories of Black excellence shared by these trailblazers are so incredibly inspiring and uplifting. Through #CirocStands, we are able to amplify these stories to the world and hope these examples of vision and ambition showcase that Black excellence is something to be celebrated and acknowledged all year round.”

Last year, Combs backed an initiative launched by e-commerce platform Reserve Bar, which pledged US$5 million until 2024 to support minority and women-owned alcohol businesses.

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