TIAA/The Martin Agency Partners with Jack Morton to Make Essence Fest Debut

Vivi Blog

August 11th, 2023 By Vivi

Financial Solutions Provider and Legacy Makers Aim to #RetireInequality 

For the first time, TIAA, a Fortune 500 financial services organization, proudly took the floor at Essence Fest to showcase its #RetireEquality campaign, aiming to bridge the 30% gender retirement gap and address economic inequalities affecting 54% of Black Americans’ ability to save for retirement.  

Wyclef Jean is wearing a white jacket with black lines and white pants with black sheet music printed across them. He also has a black hat and sunglasses on. He is performing on a small blue stage with pale yellow lettering on the backdrop, he points out to the crowd while holding a custom black guitar with his signature on it in red lettering. There are also people behind him recording his performance. Working with our agency partners at The Martin Agency, our team at Jack Morton, along with Vivi, Jack’s culture-forward consulting practice, helped bring TIAA’s presence to life through the “Legacy Makers Studio.Jack Morton was responsible for bringing the booth design and build to life with production excellence, as well as brand ambassador casting and curation to ensure authenticity and relevancy to festival attendees. The team also delivered creative development support and strategic grounding on the Essence Festival of Culture property, along with integral audience insights 

Left: Finance expert Lynnette Kalfani Cox in an orange dress, smiling with her hand on her hips and gesturing to a backdrop that says “Share your legacy” and features the TIAA logo with #RetireInequality Right: Wyclef Jean is holding a microphone on stage with his hand in the air. He is next to a smiling Black woman with braces, braids in a high ponytail, wearing a denim dress and holding a custom black and white guitar with red lettering and Wyclef’s signature. There are people off-stage in the background.

The concept, inspired by TIAA talent partners musician Wyclef Jean, designer Fe Noel, choreographer, dancer Sean Bankhead and financial expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, demonstrated how a person’s achievements and career can leave a legacy for their family when coupled with financial preparedness and retirement planning. 

With the alarming statistics serving as a backdrop, the talent partners joined TIAA to empower and inspire the festival attendees. Sean Bankhead is wearing a matching blue and white striped shirt with all white shoes and stands in a mirrored dance studio with wooden floors. There is blue vinyl writing on the walls that says, “Think you can keep up with Sean?” and “When he moves, you move.” “#RetireInequality” and the TIAA logo.

Left: Fe Noel is wearing a black kimono with a green palm leaf pattern. She is smiling with her arms open wide in front of a mock atelier featuring a dress made of money with poofy green shoulders. Right: A man in a dark short sleeve shirt, with a dark-colored trucker hat is writing at the top left-hand corner of a chalk wall that reads “WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR LEGACY TO BE?” in yellow lettering. There are other multi colored comments written on the chalk wall.

Within The Legacy Makers Studio were three distinct spaces, each featuring a celebrity “legacy maker” paired with different statistics on economic disparities. Musician Wyclef Jean’s studio teased a campaign song, while designer Fe Noel’s famed dress made of (faux) $100 bills was on display to highlight gender-based retirement disparities. Attendees enjoyed a mirrored studio where they danced with choreographer Sean Bankhead (on-screen) to encourage “retirement moves.” 

Left: Womenswear designer Fe Noel, dressed in a mesh, black top and black bottoms, is laughing next to a crouching woman with red locs in front of a mock atelier, featuring a dress made of money and poofy green shoulders. Right: A Black woman wearing white and blue floral top and bottoms is dancing inside of a mirrored dance studio with vinyl graphics on the walls. The blue graphics “Think you can keep up with Sean?”. The white floor decals read “Jump in and start small”.

In addition to exploring the legacies of TIAA’s partners, attendees had the opportunity to meet with TIAA Financial Professionals on site for personalized advice. TIAA also hosted engaging panel discussions and performances on the Global Black Economic Forum stage.  

Left: Sean Bankhead is sitting in a white leather chair wearing a matching blue-and-white striped short sleeve shirt and shorts with all white shoes. He is on a blue stage next to Lynnette Kalfani Cox, who is wearing an orange dress and open-toed shoes. They are both holding microphones near their faces. Right: With their backs to the camera, Flau’jae Johnson and Wyclef Jean are on a small blue stage performing to a large crowd of people, many of whom are recording on their phones.

Attendees left TIAA’s Legacy Makers Studio feeling inspired to create their own legacies for their families and their communities as they plan for retirement.  

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