You Will See Me Campaign Emphasizes Mask Wearing to Help Black Americans Prevent COVID-19 Spread

Research shows that COVID-19 affects Black Americans at higher rates than most other groups because of systemic healthcare, economic and social inequalities. Today, with mask wearing being one of the most important ways to combat COVID-19, our team at the CDC Foundation is pleased to join with the Ad Council, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to launch a national campaign—themed You Will See Me—to inspire and empower Black Americans to wear face masks.

Across the country, Black and Latinx communities have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, according to CDC. Additionally, CDC data shows that Black and Latinx people are nearly two times more likely to die from the virus as white people.

But mask wearing is a key action that these—and all—communities can take to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. In fact, a CDC study from July found that wearing face masks has significantly decreased the propensity of spreading COVID-19.

Importantly, the percentage of Black Americans who report wearing a mask at all times when leaving the home is 16% higher than the percentage of all Americans wearing a face mask at all times (79% compared to 63%). Still, there are many more people who can join in by wearing a mask to protect us all.

Celebrities inspiring others to wear face masks include: Academy Award winning actress Viola Davis, World Champion Simone Biles, The Roots members Questlove and Black Thought, Sports TV personality Stephen A. Smith, TV personality Lala Anthony, gospel singer Kirk Franklin, Grammy Award winning hip hop artist Lecrae, actor Al Shearer, actor Marcus Scribner, and former NY Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. The campaign PSAs will be available for broadcast and digital media.

“You Will See Me shows we are actors, athletes, comedians, musicians but also mothers, fathers, siblings and champions for our community. We hope both messages have an impact through this campaign. That wearing a mask and seeing the person behind the mask will save lives,” said Tara DeVeax, EVP and chief marketing officer of Wild Card Creative Agency.

According to Judy Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, “Right now, with no vaccine available for COVID-19, mask-wearing is essential for protecting all of us, including those most vulnerable to COVID-19. We’re pleased to work with our colleagues at CDC, the Ad Council and their creative partners for important messaging like this.”

To learn more, visit YouWillSeeMe.org, view the PSAs on YouTube, or share the PSAs on social media using #YouWillSeeMe.



Turquoise Sidibe, MPH, is the emergency response director for the CDC Foundation.