The Unspoken Curriculum
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
Multicultural Communications | Brand
For years, the mental health crisis in the Black community has been intensifying, but the stigma of therapy has obstructed access to help, particularly for young Black students. Taraji P. Henson founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) to confront this issue and in 2021 came to Edelman to launch a public awareness campaign during Mental Health Awareness month that would empower students to speak out and lower the societal stigma around therapy.
To reverse this reality, we created the “Unspoken Curriculum”, a multi-pronged, six-week campaign to speak the truth about racism in the classroom out loud, advocate for meaningful change, and drive young people to BLHF’s mental health resources.
Coming to life through a powerful anthem film, accessible event series, influencer support and social content, “Unspoken Curriculum” would highlight.
The centerpiece of the campaign, a hero film starring local New Orleans’ youth performing a spoken-word poem, acutely reflected the realities of Black students’ mental health. In tandem, we launched a series of virtual events for students and their parents, including After School Hangout sessions, digital support rooms facilitated by licensed therapists, a Zoom-sponsored Global Fundraising Event and hip-hop therapy contest featuring Taraji P. Henson, Dr. Spirit, and celebrity guests.
In partnership with Windy Films, and director Abraham Felix, who has a longstanding legacy of long-form form products about public education in Louisiana, we launched the film. Working with Felix, we enlisted his community connections and brought in local students to perform the poem and give truth to the racist experiences and biased learning that so many Black students go through. Set against a custom-composed bucket drum track, the resulting film vibrates with emotion and commands attention.
- Drove awareness and conversation through 55+ pieces of earned media coverage on Good Morning America, The View, Black Enterprise, among others, resulting in 500M+ impressions; 230K+ video views and 20K uses of our campaign Snapchat filter.
- 80% increase in traffic to BLHF’s website and 901K+impressions.
- Equipped students with resources through 311K views of our landing page and participation of 60+ students in our After School Hangouts.
- Amplified the conversation with 2,100+ new Instagram followers, receiving over 616K impressions, 16K content interactions, and 587 website taps.
increase in traffic to BLHF’s website
raised for BLHF
pieces of earned coverage