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LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD has launched “Changemakers,” a 4-part video series spotlighting Black LGBTQ small business owners and their impact within their local communities before and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The series is available to watch on GLAAD’s YouTube and social media accounts.

Check out the series premiere here.

Kingsley Gbadegesin, a first-generation Nigerian-American and a New York–based creator working to advance liberation for the Black community, the queer community, and people of color is the founder and creator behind K.NGSLEY, a Black-owned brand aiming to reclaim and redefine the Black, queer, femme body and to create the tangible, direct support communities need today. The K.NGSLEY line is currently available at k.ngsley.com and stocked at Nordstrom, Fred Segal, and launches in new doors this Fall.

The “Changemakers” series is produced by NEON, GLAAD's ongoing digital content series that aims to increase the visibility of Black LGBTQ people. NEON leverages the power of storytelling and GLAAD’s platform to create multi-dimensional, accurate portraits of the Black LGBTQ experience. In a series of intimate interviews, the new “Changemakers” series aims to amplify the stories of local heroes, and send messages of support and inspiration to LGBTQ and Black-owned small businesses.

Ally is donating $10,000 to each “Changemaker” business ($40,000 total) to empower them to continue making positive change through their business into their communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black communities and businesses across the United States. In creating this project, I wanted to spotlight how brands can show up for Black LGBTQ small businesses owners in authentic and meaningful ways,” said Abdool Corlette, GLAAD’s Creative Director and co-founder of NEON. “In addition to Ally’s financial contributions to these four small businesses, this series helps to elevate the stories of the incredible people behind these change-making businesses, allowing viewers to connect and learn about the challenges and triumphs of being a small business owner during these unprecedented times.”

“We’re excited to work with GLAAD on this project that shines a light on the important contributions these Black LGBTQ business owners made in the face of a global pandemic and will continue to do in years to come,” said Reggie Willis, chief diversity officer at Ally. “The Changemakers video series fosters an inclusive environment that celebrates peoples' differences, which is something we encourage with our teammates at Ally every day.”

NEON launched in February 2020 with its ongoing Black history legacy series, showcasing current Black LGBTQ leaders from multiple disciplines as they pay homage to groundbreaking Black figures of the past. Shortly after the launch, NEON inserted LGBTQ issues into the conversation on the red carpet of the 51st NAACP Image Awards, specifically asking celebrities about Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s support for their transgender daughter Zaya. Since then, NEON has also produced its “Black Queer Love Stories” video series, which premiered in The Advocate.

NEON also conducts weekly interviews on Instagram with Black LGBTQ creatives across a variety of industries to speak about the importance of Black LGBTQ visibility and representation. Notable interviews over the past year include TS Madison, Shea Coulee, Kalen Allen, George M. Johnson, Tia Kofi, and more.

About GLAAD

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.

About Ally Financial

Ally Financial Inc. is a digital financial services company committed to its promise to "Do It Right" for its consumer, commercial and corporate customers. Ally is composed of an industry-leading independent auto finance and insurance operation, an award-winning digital direct bank, a corporate finance business for equity sponsors and middle-market companies, and securities brokerage and investment advisory services. For more information, visit www.ally.com and follow @allyfinancial.

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