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Sign of progress.

THE SUCCESSION OF ANN FUDGE TO THE top of the Young & Rubicam advertising agency ("A Commercial Success," News-points, July 2003) marks a welcome development in an industry where a commitment to diversity has long been reflected in its broadcast images but rarely among its image makers.

More than 10 years ago, I wrote an article for BLACK ENTERPRISE titled "Are Advertising Agencies Serious About Hiring African Americans?" (March i993). In answering the question with a resounding "No," the magazine risked, and succeeded in, offending powerful industry insiders with the clout to steer business away from the publication. When I called around for quotes for the article, black executives with general-market agencies were afraid to talk to me, and whites did not want to. I had to hustle for every word I got about the roadblocks on Madison Avenue faced by black creative and managerial talent.

Back in 1993, when Bill Cosby shilled for Jell-O, Aaron Neville crooned about the wonders of cotton, and Michael Jordan soared with Nikes and guzzled Gatorade, it seemed just a matter of time before the executive suites were as integrated as the commercials. Times have changed--too slowly--but they have changed. Earl Graves and the whole BE team deserve credit for keeping the spotlight on what goes on behind the cameras as America continues to buy and sell to the rhythms of black life.

Brian Wright O'Connor

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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:O'Connor, Brian Wright
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Previous Article:About this issue.
Next Article:The new leaders.

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