(AllHipHop News) Wisconsin is ground zero for so many matters politically and socially, but now it is a visceral hotbed of chaos that has exploded into anarchy, largely due to another senseless act of police brutality. As Jacob Blake, an unarmed local man shot 7 times in the back by police, struggles to live, another fight has erupted.
Movements, headed by Jay-Z and Scott Goodstein & Robin Bell, seek to combat police brutality and racism, have faced tremendous resistance from companies that own billboards.
“It’s been a struggle with the billboard companies. While i believe that political ads should be reviewed in a timely and transparent manner. The companies we have been dealing with simply do not want to allow folks to criticize white supremacists,” said Scott Goodstein founder of RememberWhatTheyDid.com.
Goodstein, a progressive marketing strategist that worked with Barak Obama, launched his latest platform as a way to use art to challenge racist institutions and impact the November presidential election. Artists Shepard Fairey, Nekisha Durrett, Nate Lewis, Rafael Lopez, Robert Russell, Rob Sheridan, and Swoon (Caledonia Curry) have all contributed politically-charged art designed to be featured on billboards.
Jay-Z, the head of Roc Nation, has faced a similar situation.
Lamar, a major billboard advertising company, stands accused of discriminating against Jay-Z’s Team ROC by shooting down – metaphorically – an ad that highlights three people shot by the same police officer in Wisconsin. The company reportedly rejected every design presented. One said, “Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson, Antonio Gonzales — they did not deserve to die. Officer Mensah must be held accountable” and another stated “They did not deserve to die. Police officers shouldn’t murder innocent people.”
Lamar defended its action though a statement to local WISN-12.
Lamar Advertising Communications Director Allie McAlpin told WISN-12, “The billboard copy from Team Roc was vetted through our usual copy acceptance process and rejected on the basis that we do not post copy concerning potential crimes unless there has been a judicial determination of guilt.”
Goodstein maintained that he has gotten no consistency and that he’s gotten a myriad if reasons his billboards have not on up, ranging from “delayed start dates, approved billboards, then new delay for a different reason, and additional reviews we weren’t told about.”
“It’s a controlled oligopoly of a few large companies that put right-wing religious stuff up all over the interstate but have a problem with us posting anti-white supremacists messages,” Goodstein stated, speaking generally of his plight.
Jay-Z’s Team ROC situation is a bit different. The mogul’s team has called out Lamar for a straight-up double standard.
Team ROC attorney Jordan Siev told the local ABC affiliate that there appeared to be biased, and a lack of standard policy.
“What is the standard in the industry for ads that are deemed too ‘controversial’ to be displayed? Are all of the ads being examined equally, fairly, and with the same criteria, and are they being reviewed free of unconscious bias?” Sieve asked.
“The only logical conclusion that we can reach from this is; despite what their copy acceptance policy says — that they are looking to protect people’s First Amendment rights — they’re, in fact, engaged in an act of censorship here because they’re afraid of a controversial billboard or message.”
Goodstein and his RememberWhatTheyDid.com co-founder Robin Bell intend of forge ahead in battleground areas like Detroit, Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Phoenix, Arizona. They maintain these billboards are important, legal, and necessary.
“Standard political marketing can miss between 35% to 40% of our most important targeted audiences of African Americans, Latinx, and young voters,” Goodstein said. “Voter file-based matching is not a perfect science so let’s take it to the streets and push factual information and emotionally charged visuals into key neighborhoods leaving no stone unturned. We need everyone to turnout, register, and pledge to #VoteThemOut.”
RememberWhatTheyDid.com is working with Collective Super Pac, Democracy for America, Voices of Michigan, International Union of Painters, and Allied Trades, Keystone Progress, Pontiac Policy Action, Presente Action, and other to get their fact-based, artistic-minded message out to the public.