The campaign encouraged people to take the fairness and respect they see on the court or playing field and extend it off the field. It wasn’t created to promote a product, but because Nike and its athletes wanted to address the truth of this moment in America. The campaign featured a variety of North American athletes, including LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, Gabby Douglas, and Victor Cruz.
"Equality" also featured actor Michael B. Jordan, who narrates the film, and a soundtrack performed by Alicia Keys, who recorded an original version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”—the first time the famed civil rights song has been used in advertising.
A message about equality and diversity required a diverse group of people to bring an authentic voice and look to the film. The collaboration featured Melina Matsoukas, who was one of the directors behind Beyoncé’s Lemonade and has directed several episodes of the HBO show, Insecure. Matsoukas assembled a diverse cast and crew for the production, including cinematographer Malik Sayeed.
The film was shot in anamorphic black and white film to reinforce the concept. Each location was filmed using ambient light, which dictated the time of day when each scene was shot.
The production design department created a bold and graphic simplicity for the visual device of creating playing-field lines in real-world locations. Using four cars, a bespoke paint-spraying system, and a team of precision drivers, the team created the lanes of a running track on a Los Angeles bridge. In hot L.A. weather, they also constructed a snow-covered football field.
The campaign is part of an ongoing Nike Equality initiative. In 2017, the initiative’s inaugural year, Nike also donated $5 million to organizations that advance equality in communities across the U.S., including MENTOR (the leading national organization in ensuring quality youth mentoring relationships and connecting volunteers to opportunities in their communities), PeacePlayers and the Ever Higher Fund.