WASHINGTON - Jazz great Wynton Marsalis laments that some employers "play a cacophonous tune called discrimination" in one of two video public service announcements that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) unveiled today.
Both 30-second PSAs feature Marsalis and focus on the value of diversity in the workplace and the dangers of discrimination. The PSAs were produced in cooperation with Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) and shot at JALC's New York facility in October. The EEOC plans an aggressive push to air the PSAs on television and cable stations, on web sites and on radio. The spots are close-captioned for the hearing-impaired.
The announcements should help heighten awareness of race and color discrimination as the EEOC advances its national initiative to bring a fresh, 21st century approach to combating racism, which remains the most frequent claim filed with the agency. E-RACE (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment) is an outreach, education, and enforcement campaign to advance the statutory right to a workplace free of race and color discrimination.
"The EEOC is proud to partner with Wynton Marsalis to convey this information," EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp said. "His participation enhances our message and ensures that a broad audience will be apprised of the importance of equal employment opportunity."
In the spots, Marsalis speaks the following lines:
WHETHER IT'S BEETHOVEN OR BASIE, MUSIC BLENDS DIFFERENT NOTES AND DIFFERENT PEOPLE INTO SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL. IF WE ALL PLAYED THE SAME NOTES, THE MUSIC WOULD BE BORING. IT'S THE SAME WAY IN THE WORKPLACE. PEOPLE COME FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES AND BACKGROUNDS, BUT TO SUCCEED, THEY NEED TO WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM. IT'S ABOUT EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.
WHEN WE CHOOSE MUSICIANS TO PLAY A PIECE OF MUSIC, WE DON'T CARE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE; WE CARE HOW WELL THEY PLAY. THAT'S THE WAY EVERY JOB SHOULD BE, BUT IT ISN'T ALWAYS. SOME PEOPLE PLAY A CACOPHONOUS TUNE CALLED DISCRIMINATION. IT'S NOT JUST UNFAIR, MEAN-SPIRITED, AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE; IT'S ALSO ILLEGAL. IT'S REALLY ALL ABOUT EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.
Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, has won nine Grammy Awards, and is the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical records -- an accomplishment he repeated in consecutive years. His radio and television series were awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. In 1996, Time magazine celebrated Marsalis as one of America's 25 Most Influential People. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his epic oratorio Blood on the Fields.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on January 14, 2008.
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