At Hershey, our purpose of making more moments of goodness is rooted in the legacy of our founder, Milton Hershey. We are committed to creating connections, investing in key communities and ultimately being better champions of the people around us. This is grounded in Milton Hershey's belief that businesses must enhance the livelihood of communities. From his establishment of Hershey as a town where employees and families can thrive, to creating Milton Hershey School where children of all backgrounds can now receive a top-tier education, to our comprehensive nonprofit partnerships and investments today, The Hershey Company is proud to carry on his legacy by lending our platform to drive positive outcomes for people and fostering equitable opportunities in and outside of the workplace.
For the second year, we’re leveraging the beloved KIT KAT® brand to celebrate the impact of Black music and support youth. June is Black Music Month, a dedicated time to celebrate the contributions of Black artists in genres from hip hop to go-go – and everything in between. This year, we are proud to again partner with individuals and organizations that support Black youth through development, leadership and education through music and art.
As Chief Diversity Officer of The Hershey Company, I am excited to share more about our plans and programming for Black Music Month 2023 and invite you to join in on our celebrations.
Why is the KIT KAT®brand and The Hershey Company celebrating Black Music Month?
At Hershey, we look for ways to use our brands and our platform to support the communities where consumers, employees and partners live and work. Last year, in collaboration with the Black Heritage business resource group (BRG), we partnered with the Memphis Music Initiative (MMI) to drive equitable youth education, community investment and engagement – all within a city we call home for more than 500 employees. This partnership supports music education for Black and Brown youth and transformative opportunities that help foster a local ecosystem for music and culture.
This year, in partnership with the Black Heritage BRG, Black strategists and minority-owned agencies like GRO and Breakr, KIT KAT® unveiled six new, limited-edition package designs from two Black creatives to tell the stories of six cities where Black music is ingrained in the community’s culture – from the birthplace of hip hop in New York City to the soulful Rhythm and Blues of Memphis, Tennessee.
KIT KAT® has also worked with 13 rising Black artists and industry veterans to create documentaries which highlight the origin, influence, and impact of Black-rooted, hometown genres.
How is KIT KAT® building upon its Black Music Month programming this year?
Our meaningful collaboration and partnership with non-profit MMI served as a strategic blueprint to replicate across the nation. This year, we identified six cities – New York, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Detroit, Los Angeles and again Memphis – to activate in, leaning into each city’s history, musical heritage and cultural relevancy. With the counsel of MMI, we have engaged with five new partner organizations in these cities to make additional investments and help reinforce the power of music, creativity and art. And, with MMI’s facilitation, we’re building an impact community, connecting each of these nonprofits with one another to share learning, best practices and creative collaboration across cities.
How does KIT KAT®and The Hershey Company support diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the year?
We are laser focused on being intentional about the impact of our investments, programs and initiatives. To hold ourselves accountable, we launched The Pathways Project in 2020 – our five-year plan to make our company and communities more diverse and inclusive. With three pillars – pathways to Join, Grow and Reach Out – this year’s Black Music Month activations directly ladder into the Reach Out pillar – seeking to improve access to education for Black and Brown communities.
Internally at Hershey, as part of our holistic DEI strategy, we’re continuing to diversify our organization with key goals in representation in leadership, recruitment diversity, and pay equity. This strategy and its outcomes have been recognized as industry-leading external third-party organizations. Most recently, we were ranked #3 on DiversityInc.’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity, which reinforces our progress against our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) commitments.
Last year, we held our second annual Juneteenth recognition at our company headquarters in Hershey, Pa of which Black Music Month was a key part complete with an open mic, coffee house and more.
Our commitment to our communities’ and DEI goals also drives our business operations. Our Supplier Diversity Program aims to increase the representation of companies owned by people of color (POC), women, U.S. military veterans, people living with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. A founding principle of this KIT KAT® initiative is economically investing in Black and Brown communities through working with Black-owned creative and media agencies, Black illustrators, influencers and more. That principle is key to showing up for the Black community in an authentic way that goes beyond one single initiative. Through the Supplier Diversity Program and initiatives like this one, we aim to create more economic opportunities for underrepresented groups.
How can I support?
This Black Music Month, we invite you to join us in celebrating the history and impact of Black music and its everlasting impact on American culture. Learn more at KitKatBlackMusicMonth.com.