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New PSA Spotlights Positive Statistics on Young African American Men

aa-statisticpsaTwenty Medford, MA High School students and the NAACP Mystic Valley Branch are the collective face of a powerful message in a 30-second PSA going viral on the Internet, titled “Statistic.”

The black & white commercial is designed to increase self-confidence in young African-American men while dispelling some preconceived opinions that exist in the general public. The statistics presented in the PSA track positive numbers related to these young men and others across the nation.  They were obtained from sources such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education, among others.

Behind the message is a group of advertising professionals, including Valerie Graves, president of New York-based Valerie Graves Creative and a noted African American advertising industry pioneer. The idea for the PSA was initially developed by Graves and Jack McGoldrick, head of McGoldrick Marketing, several years ago while Graves was chief creative director at the urban-oriented agency Vigilante, which is now defunct.

“At the time, my grandson was in college and it got me thinking about how the average kids who are doing ok are rarely mentioned. I was a Black mother and grandmother who wanted my creative team to bring the positive side of successful young Black men to light,” Graves recalled.

For Neil Osborne, president of the NAACP Mystic Valley Area Branch, there was an urgency to produce the PSA. “At a time when too many negative images of young African-American men flood our airways, we are ecstatic to have commissioned this high quality factually accurate positive image of young black men,” he explained.

When co-writer Graves received the news from McGoldrick that the Mystic Valley Chapter of the NAACP would be producing the concept they had originally created, it was a special moment even for a veteran chief creative director like Graves.  “Advertising is full of disappointments,” said Graves.  “I had accepted that NOT having ‘Statistic’ produced would be one of my biggest. Jack never did, and because of him, an important message has been given new life.”

Graves is an acclaimed, award-winning advertising executive with more than 30 years of experience developing campaigns for African American, urban, female and general market consumers. As the chief creative officer of major advertising agencies, her innovative writing and vision provided an overall direction. Her creativity for Fortune 500 corporations has ranged from cars to soda to burgers. She’s been the creative chief at urban agencies ranging from UniWorld Group to NAME. Her award-winning campaigns for Ford Motor Company, Lincoln, AT&T, Kraft, Microsoft, Pepsi and Burger King Corporation ranged from relevant African American stories to celebrity spotlights including Ludacris and Steve Harvey. Media mogul Andre Harrell even tapped Graves to be senior vice president of corporate creative services at Motown Records.

Graves’ numerous awards include ADCOLOR’s first legend award. Advertising Age has honored her as one of the 100 Best and Brightest.  For 16 years, she served on the board of directors at The Advertising Club of New York and chaired its Diversity Committee.  “When I got my first job in advertising, I discovered my profession. When I moved to multicultural advertising, I found my calling,” said Graves.  “Nothing gives me more pleasure than accurately depicting the majesty of Black people.”

The “Statistic” PSA can be viewed on YouTube at

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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