15th Annual ADCOLOR Awards: Honoring the DEI Champions Who Go Above and Beyond

It’s Time to Pull Up

By Tiffany R. Warren, Founder and President, ADCOLOR; EVP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Sony Music Group

2020 challenged us in a unique way, but from the conflicts came hope for resolutions. When social justice issues came to the forefront, we saw a flood of individuals and companies speaking out and committing to positive change.

But now, a year later, we’re left asking: Who kept the same energy? Who among us, even a year later, is still ready to Pull Up?

As the world slowly heals from the pandemic, we can’t overlook the historic wounds caused by empty promises and false starts. And we can’t allow allies to slowly wane on their efforts for equality. It must remain everyone’s priority, because, as our 2021 manifesto says, “Inequality isn’t just our problem. It’s everyone’s problem. And everyone’s responsibility to get humanity to the finish line of equity for all.”

For 15 years, we have honored those who have done just that—who have found solutions, or even better, created them. This year’s class is no different. It is full of doers who are on a constant quest to Rise Up, Reach Back and create positive change; not just for themselves, but for those around them and those who are to come next. The pursuit of equity and inclusion is an unwavering passion; it never takes a day off. And our honorees, nominees and futures go above and beyond to make a difference within their communities and their organizations.

They embody what it means to Pull Up, and I am so proud to introduce them to the Adweek community. On their behalf and on behalf of the ADCOLOR organization, I’ll close with the final line of our manifesto: “If you got us like we got us, now is the time to prove it. Pull Up.”

2021 HONOREES

AAFCA | ADCOLOR Breakout Creative of the Year

Michaela Coel, Actress, Screenwriter, Director, Producer and Singer

Recent Emmy winner and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2020, Coel has been wowing audiences and studio executives since she wrote and starred in the BBC’s Chewing Gum sitcom in 2014. A poet from the start, Michaela is now well-known for her role in HBO’s I May Destroy You.

AAFCA | ADCOLOR Icon

Viola Davis, Actress, Producer

With decades of film, TV and theater experience, Davis is only the G short of an EGOT. But if you’re going to celebrate her acting genius, don’t call Davis the Black Meryl Streep—pay her what she’s worth. Davis is an advocate for women of color in the entertainment industry and is recognized for her support of equal rights for women and women of color.

*AAFCA: African American Film Critics Association

ADCOLOR in Music (Artist)

H.E.R., Grammy Award-Winning Artist

A musical prodigy, H.E.R burst onto the scene in 2018 with Grammy nominations for best new artist and album of the year. Since then, she’s wowed us with her vocal precision and creative production. In her music and public image, she pushes boundaries to create positive change and is setting the stage for generations to come.

Lifetime Achievement                                                                                                               

Antonio Lucio, Principal and Founder, 5S Diversity; Executive Fellow, Yale School of Management

After 40 years as a celebrated marketing leader, Lucio stepped down as CMO at Facebook last year to focus fully on DEI efforts within the industry. He is known for his philosophy of empathetic leadership and for calling on marketing to become “bilingual and bicultural,” building bridges between what companies want to do and where consumers are.