Sponsored Feature: Absolut
This fall, Absolut Vodka launched their latest dynamic and inclusive campaign, pairing up with creative entrepreneurs across Canada to support social causes. The talents’ passions and projects vary, but they share a core identity: they’re changemakers, citizens investing in making a difference in their communities through their craft.
Absolut and the creatives produced video content to accrue interactive donations – for every watch, they will donate $1 to the three local charities selected by the changemakers. The goal is to raise $10,000 per charity.
You can read about three of the changemakers here.
The stunning Scarlett Bobo is a household name in the Toronto Drag Community. Matthew Cameron’s creation has been slaying stages (and swallowing fire) since moving to the city in 2009, and now is the founder of the Absolut Empire’s Ball, an all-inclusive drag competition that launched in April. Her most recent work is a documentary based on the Absolut Empire’s Ball titled Underneath the Empire.
“There’s been so many competitions in the city and they involve only drag queens…” Scarlett remarks in the teaser to her documentary, “I wanted to start something to represent everybody, all walks of life, every aspect of drag. I was tired of seeing the same thing over and over.”
Scarlett’s endeavor is to bring the talented LGBTQ+ performers on the sidelines of the community into the forefront. Donations for watching her video are sent to Rainbow Railroad, an organization that assists LGBTQI people with escaping environments where they are persecuted for their identity. In 2018 Rainbow Railroad helped 198 people travel from 16 different unsafe countries to locations where they can be free.
Absolut has a significant history with the LGBTQ+ community. They’ve sponsored the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation awards since 1989, and consistently ran ads in the 80’s and 90’s with queer themes. Most wouldn’t bat an eye at a Canadian company in 2019 waving a rainbow flag at Pride, but there’s something to be said for a company that has consistently stood by its values as Canadian’s political attitudes shifted.
Hailey and Bree, two sisters from Thunder Bay, Ontario, are the Co-Founders of Ungalli, a sustainable clothing brand launched in 2013. Their mission is to “raise awareness of the negative impact the mainstream clothing industry has on people, wildlife and the planet” while offering a sustainable, high-quality alternative to fast fashion. Their sustainability efforts earned them a spot on Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 in 2015.
Ungalli partnered with the David Suzuki foundation as their charity, which they selected for their shared values on the environment. The sisters met David when they spoke with him at the Bed Inspired Conference in Gaspe, Quebec, in 2017. The three of them enjoyed dinner, hikes, and event went bird watching together: “it was pretty incredible,” Hailey recalls.
Ungalli’s garments are both organic and made from recycled materials in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Absolut partnered with them to launch the Absolut Comeback collection, a series of T-shirts that feature the vodka brand’s ads from the 90’s. Each T-shirt was created by a separate artist. T-shirts can be purchased here.
Randell Adjei is a force of nature. He has a hand in Inspirational Speaking, Community Organizing, and is a coach in Toronto Public Library’s Poetry Saved our Lives Project. He’s also a TEDX speaker and the recipient of several community-based awards (including NOW Magazine’s Local Hero of the year.) His principal project, Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE) provides students with accessible resources and artistic consulting to develop their art. It’s an exclusive platform that host weekly events showcasing young performers in Scarborough and once a month downtown.
While Adjei has doubtless inspired hundreds, he paused when I asked him who he looked up to. “My mother,” he answered, “as someone had very little and used her resources to cultivate a path for herself.” He’s tuned into resilience, and after finding it in himself, he’s dedicated his time to showing people from marginalized or disenfranchised communities that they too have a voice worth hearing.
Randell wrote the Manifesto for the Changemakers, a spoken word piece accolading “those who lead with love as their compass.” He’s donated the video’s proceeds to Manifesto Community Projects, an organization that hosts festivals, outreach initiatives, and developmental programming Toronto’s urban music community.