New campaign uses Spotify to relay speeches by Black leaders

Through cleverly curated playlists, Tank Worldwide and Desta have created tributes to important Black figures across society and history

Montreal-based Black community network Desta supports Black people across the city with educational, entrepreneurial and employment programmes.

With an emphasis on supporting and empowering young people in particular, Desta has rounded off Black History Month in Canada with a campaign called Speechlist, which seeks to connect younger generations with influential figures in Black history and ensure the spirit of BHM lasts year-round.

Developed with global agency Tank Worldwide, Speechlist uses music as the medium by curating special Spotify playlists centred around famous speeches or quotes from six influential Black figures, both present and past.

The six figures are Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Nina Simone, Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson, Rosemary Brown and Viola Desmond – all known for their moving public addresses and lasting contributions to the racial justice movement.

The playlists, respectively titled Freedom, Independent, Conscience, Good, Justice and Equality, relay excerpts from the speeches in the form of song titles, cleverly using the Spotify format as a vehicle for sharing powerful messages that pertain to Black history.

Tracks from a huge range of artists spanning many different genres – with a particular focus on BIPOC musicians – are brought together in each playlist to build the message. Featured artists include Black icons such as Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Frank Ocean, among many others.

The teams at Tank Worldwide and Desta have worked creatively to spell out the excerpts using track titles found on Spotify, cleverly dividing single words where needed, and sometimes even using single letter titles to do the job.

“Speechlist is more than just a campaign; it’s a catalyst for change, weaving together the threads of history and modernity to amplify the voices of Black leaders and artists alike,” says Kassandra Kernisan, executive director of Desta.

“Desta and our teams share the same desire to create something lasting that resonates with Spotify audiences, bringing awareness to the historical significance of these speeches while spotlighting the talents of the Black community,” said Marty Martinez, CCO at Tank Worldwide. “Through the universal language of music, we aim to inspire a new generation to connect with voices from the past and present.”

View all of the playlists here;