Why The New Apple Ad From Ava DuVernay Matters

Image from BET.com

Don’t know how I spaced on the fact that the Emmys were on last night but I did and became even more disappointed in my inability to keep up with the world as I scrolled through my timeline to catch up.

Not only did I miss out on Andy Samberg hosting (love him) but I missed so many yummy black girl moments. VIOLA DAVIS! Thank you for your words. Especially one word: opportunity.

Stuffing my face with leftover popcorn from the theatre I continued to scroll through my feed and feel sorry for myself…next year I’ll put a reminder in my calendar for this.

I continued to scroll.

Scroll.

And scroll.

AGH WHAT IS THIS TRIAD OF CHOCOLATE GOODNESS!!!!?

I had stumbled upon a thumbnail of Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blidge and Taraji. P. Henson hanging out. Having girl time. Having the time of their life.

WAIT I WANT TO HAVE THE TIME OF MY LIFE TOO!

My finger couldn’t reach the trackpad to move the mouse to click the link fast enough.

*Click.*

I bobbed my head to Slick Rick just like Kerry and Taraji as they stepped inside Mary’s house made of glass. I felt like I knew them, finding pieces of myself scattered throughout the ad as they whipped their hair and imitated the legendary drum solo from In The Air Tonight. They grooved on the couch as they chatted about mixtapes. Specifically mixtapes made by old boyfriends.

Man. This was good. Refreshing. This was magic.

I watched it again. Then another. The ad not only managed to make me love Apple Music more (good job marketing team) but also made me realize how important it is to see brown girls in everyday advertising.

It made me miss watching shows like Living Single, Girlfriends and A Different World. Television that portrayed black women in all different shades and sizes showing us that we could be photographers, lawyers, entrepreneurs and mothers. They showed us that we could live life to the fullest and enjoy healthy friendships and fruitful love lives. That our men could support us without being the bad guy with a gun. That they could love us for our rich history, intellect and natural features instead of the appropriation of it all.

Living Single, 90s sitcom

This was television for black people (and anyone else who wanted to watch) that wanted to see themselves simply living. To see themselves in situations that didn’t involve prostitutes, drugs or the topic of slavery.

I’m not knocking these themes or saying that they aren’t part of living, because they are. However, I have a serious issue when I see producers and writers create a perfectly good, well thought out character and then toss in some stereotypical attribute just for the sake of tossing in some stereotypical attribute. Why? What’s the motivation behind it if not to move the story forward?

Why do we have to be the sassy black friend or the funny guy that lives next door? I mean yeah I’m sassy and I can be a little funny but so is my Korean friend.

My point is change it up.

Director, Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay changed it up. A talented director I’ve been obsessed with since her short for Miu Miu and film Middle of Nowhere. She always manages to surprise me.

I’m sure you’ve seen her latest film Selma, but please educate yourself on her other contributions to art as well. You can thank me for it later.

DuVernay gets it. She understands that we need to see more of ourselves simply living.

She gets that we need to bob are heads to mixtapes and giggle about boys. She gets that we need to kick off our heels after a long day at work and host dinner parties with our girlfriends. She gets that it’s healthy and necessary for us to identify with women who look like us on TV and films and that there will rarely be content like this if we don’t create it for ourselves. Shonda Rhimes and Issa Rae get it too (thank you ladies).

By the end of the ad I had the biggest smile on my face because I knew that this was just the beginning of change. The beginning of bringing back some of that carefree, no restraint, anything is possible magic.

I’m excited. Aren’t you?

Like what you read? Give Patience E. Randle a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.