A new campaign from the recently formed Black Theatre United coalition and the Stacey Abrams-founded non-profit Fair Count centers Black artists who are pushing for census completion among others in “hard-to-count” populations. Check out the first two only1ofme videos, featuring ballet star Misty Copeland and Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter.
Both social videos are shot in locations of personal significance, with Porter (a BTU founding member) walking the streets of Harlem outside The Apollo Theater—meeting Curtis Holland (Mean Girls, Shuffle Along) as he taps—and Copeland dancing around the Lincoln Center plaza. The two weave demographic language from the census with their own chosen descriptors to assert their identities as both individuals and members of a community.
BTU has aligned itself with Fair Count and additional organizations fighting to ensure underrepresented communities are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. Founding members Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad participated in Fair Count’s “Sisters Sip” Zoom happy hour in June, and Viola Davis moderated a town hall with Abrams last month.
“When Fair Count reached out about the census being shortened, I thought about something Sherrilyn Ifill said to us in our [first] town hall,” McDonald says. “’We have to use the tools we have.’ We began by asking the question, ‘How can we harness our power as artists to amplify the urgency of this message?’ What we have come up with is a campaign that is about each and every one of us.”