Pride celebrations over the past month have looked different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests against police brutality. In place of the corporate sponsored parades and parties that have become standard over the past few decades, the monthlong celebration of the LGBTQ+ community has gone back to its roots: Stonewall.
This year’s marches, however, have been particularly focused on achieving justice for Black trans people, who are some of the most vulnerable in the community and have largely been left out of mainstream media coverage of police violence.
Beauty giant Dove has captured this moment in its new pride campaign titled “Nothing More Beautiful.” The film spotlights six activists in the BIPOC LGBTQ+ community—Raquel Willis, Stoyan Francis, Stella Martin, Courtney McKinney, Bamby Salcedo, and Marvin “Mimi” Shelton—who have worked their entire lives pushing for change.
Not only does it showcase their tireless work and moving words, it celebrates their beauty, joy, and pride in themselves. In a dark and uncertain time, it’s a ray of light, and you can tangibly feel the heart behind every single word or image. While there’s an understandable skepticism when it comes to brands making projects like this, this one rings true for two reasons: who’s in front of the camera and who’s running the show. Dove is also donating funds and personal care products to each organization the activists represent.
“I think it’s so wonderful when people who are living these experiences have the platform and the resources to share about our lives,” says Tourmaline, the filmmaker and activist Dove tapped to create the film. For Tourmaline, who is a Black trans woman, hiring people with the lived experience being discussed in these sorts of projects goes beyond just offering them a seat at the table (which is desperately needed as Black trans people are four times more likely than the greater population to experience unemployment and poverty), it also makes for better art.
“We bring all of who we are into that conversation, and we bring the beauty of who we are,” she says. “It’s so clear and meaningful when that happens, when brands resource the people who are living these experiences, we can feel the power of that,” she says.
Her film, above, is proof. The reason it feels so joyous, so powerful, and so much like a real call to action is because we’re seeing it through her eyes.