Guinness honour man who brought black and white musicians together

Guinness advert honours John Hammond

Guinness have created an advert celebrating the life and work of the man credited with bringing black and white musicians together.

John Hammond was a music producer in Manhattan during the 1930s. He developed a passion for jazz and spent much of his time talent spotting in and around Harlem, often as the only white person in the bar.

Guinness advert honours John Hammond

The 1930s was still a time of racial segregation in the United States. For Hammond to put black and white musicians together was revolutionary.

However, as he said in his memoirs: “I heard no colour line in the music.”

Hammond brought jazz and other music of black origin into the mainstream. He signed legendary acts including Billie Holiday and Count Basie and turned them into stars.

Hammond became a huge success and was highly respected for his judgment and ability to spot talent. He later signed up Aretha Franklin, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen amongst others. Hammond described himself as “the sometimes intolerant champion of tolerance”.

Guinness decided to honour Hammond in their advert. They created the short film describing Hammond’s work, and how he broke the rules in bringing black and white performers together.

The advert is narrated by Hollywood legend Danny Glover, and directed by Jake Nava, who has previously worked with stars including Beyoncé and Adele. Nava said: “It’s fair to say that John Hammond is an unsung hero and his lasting legacy on the world of music is a story that has been largely untold. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to tell an aspect of it in a way that I believe authentically captures the significance of what he achieved.”

Guinness are famous for producing emotional and relevant adverts to promote their drinks. They also celebrate Ireland and the impact Irish emigrants have made in different countries around the world. Take a look at some of their other popular adverts from the past.

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