THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project NEW!
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

SEEHER Multiplicity

Finalist in Branded Series

Audience Honor in Branded Series

About this entry

While some people may have never had to code-switch, others do it on a daily basis but may be unaware they're even doing it.

Code-switching originally referred to the practice in which people seamlessly shifted between their first language and English in conversation. The meaning expanded to any multi-cultural person of a marginalized or underrepresented community who adapts to the dominant environment around them in any context in order to fit in and feel a sense of belonging. 

According to Beverly Tatum, PhD, there's not only language based code-switching, but also culture-based which could refer to other expressions as well such as, "style of dress, physical mannerisms, and other forms of self-presentation."

Myles Durkee, PhD, who studies code-switching's mental and physiological effects considers it a survival tactic.

"As a Black man, if I work in a predominantly white workplace, I'm shifting my racial behaviors to accommodate the norms of white culture values," Durkee told Health. "Whenever there are behavioral practices or a visual profile associated with the identity, an individual can code-switch based on it. This can go for religious identity, social class, or even sexual identity."

So Health saw an important opportunity to team up with ANA's SEEHER initiative and produce the very first video series that explores code-switching through the POV of women who have experience with it first-hand. SEEHER Multiplicity will not only seek to inform, but also inspire by telling the stories of powerful women on a path to finding their identity and achieving their goals. 

Why does this entry deserve to win?

SEEHER Multiplicity is a day in the life docu-series about the shared experiences among women of color in the US who find themselves alternating between two or more cultures while finding their true identity, but are faced with societal roadblocks along the way. That said, it was crucial that the talent behind the camera reflected the cultural diversity of the cast in front of the camera in an effort to tells these stories empathetically and authentically. 

So first and foremost, our strategy was to:

Once we had our uber talented team behind the camera, it was time to cast the people in front of the camera who each had a compelling story to tell about their unique experiences with code-switching.

After viewing over 150 submission tapes, we cast the following people:

  1. For our pilot episode, we wanted to set the stage on the topic to serve as an educational and foundational presentation for code-switching. So we seeked out Suezette Yasmin Robotham who spoke on the TEDxBeaconStreet stage about code-switching in 2015. She is a VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Talent Acquisition, and a proud first generation Jamaican-American living Brooklyn.
  2. Caroline Donica is a Korean woman who was adopted by white parents in Texas (who were raised in Mexico). She’s an actor/director and also teaches ESL to Chinese students. 
  3. Mia Sanchez is an Afro-Latina artist, mother of two, who is also deaf. Mia will share her experience navigating every day life as she tries "fitting in" with the deaf community as well as the hearing community.
  4. Carolyn Kang who was born in China and immigrated to the States at age 4 by way of Germany, will speak about a recent life-changing experience that led her to code-switch as a way to protect her safety. During the COVID lockdown when the city was seeing more and more anti-Asian hate-crimes, she experienced a traumatic verbal and near physical attack on the train which subsequently forced her to disguise herself in large hats and sunglasses whenever leaving her apartment.
  5. Dina Hashem - As an Arab-American woman, Dina struggled to find her authentic self. Raised by a devout Muslim family, her passion for comedy was against cultural expectations, so she had to make the difficult decision to distance herself from her family in order to live her true identity.

Now that we had our wonderful cast:

And lastly:

Results

SEEHER Multiplicity opened the conversation around code-switching by reaching two general audiences -- those who code-switch and those you don't. For those unaware of what it meant to code-switch and/or who don't need to code-switch, this series informed. And for those viewers who do in fact code-switch, this series reminded them that they have a voice, they belong, and they're not alone in this experience. 

In the end, people connected with the content and we couldn't be more proud of how the series turned out!

Media

Video for SEEHER Multiplicity

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Health (a Dotdash Meredith Brand) + SEEHER (an ANA Campaign)

Link

Entry Credits