The One Club and WPP announce “Behind the Stonewall Riots” winners, celebrating creativity in the Black LGTBQ+ community

17 Nov 2021

The One Club for Creativity and WPP today announced the three winners in the first “Behind the Stonewall Riots” (BTSR), a free competition designed to raise awareness for the important role of trans women and gender non-conforming individuals of color who participated in the historic 1969 event and paved the way for the LGBTQ+ community.

The free competition is open to Black LGBTQ+ creatives aged eighteen or over around the world — artists, writers, designers, journalists, podcast hosts, storytellers — who are entry-level talent not currently employed by an advertising, marketing or communications agency. BTSR provides a platform for black creatives to share their stories, and that of Black LGBTQ+ pioneers.

Entrants were asked to select a charity or nonprofit that works with the LGBTQ+ community, and create a campaign for them inspired by the true igniters of the Stonewall Riots: trans women and gender non-conforming individuals of color such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who were on the front lines of advancing the LGBTQ+ community.

Johnathan Gabriel, an art direction intern and artist based in Austin, Texas, was selected as BTSR Gold winner for “Flower Crown Riot”, created on behalf of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. The campaign centered on flower crowns like those worn by Johnson, utilized in real life at events, in political campaigns and on social media to pay homage to Black trans women and bring awareness to their fight for equality.

As the Gold winner, he receives a $4,000 cash prize, $2,000 to donate to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, two portfolio review sessions with Keith Cartwright, President & Chief Creative Officer of WPP-backed agency Cartwright, a 10-week internship with a WPP agency, and access to WPP’s NextGen Leaders content.

Gabriel is a graduate of The One Club’s ONE School, the breakthrough free portfolio program for Black creatives, and a past participant in the club’s Creative Boot Camp.

The BTSR Silver winner is freelancer Jordan Avery, based in Melbourne, Florida, for “In Color” on behalf of charity Equality Florida. Taking inspiration from the Lavender Scare of the 1950s and the actions of House of Labeija founder Crystal Labeija, the video and print campaign carried the message “There is more to our world than just black and white. Those worth remembering are those who lived in color”. He receives $2,000 and access to WPP’s NextGen Leaders content.

BTSR Bronze winner is Venessa Hanshaw, a student at Miami Ad School Toronto, for “Spot the Difference” on behalf of Human Rights Campaign. The out-of-home, print and merchandise campaign used rows of images of the generic person symbol to showcase that everyone is equal. She receives $1,000 prize as well as access to WPP’s NextGen Leaders content.

Judges for "Behind the Stonewall Riots” included:

  • Darryl Adams Jr., VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, H+K Strategies
  • Keith Cartwright, President & Chief Creative Officer, Cartwright & The One Club Board member
  • Brian Ellner, EVP, Growth and Marketing, BCW, WPP Unite
  • Ant Jackson, Senior Copywriter, Wunderman Thompson, WPP Unite
  • Chelsea Jackson, Racial Equity Program Manager, WPP, WPP Roots
  • Laura Jordan Bambach, President & Chief Creative Officer, Grey, WPP Unite
  • Rob Reilly, Chief Creative Officer, WPP & The One Club Board member

"Behind the Stonewall Riots” is driven by two groups within WPP: WPP Unite, an LGBTQ+ community united to ensure diverse thinking and creativity thrives within WPP’s workplaces and within its work, and WPP Roots, a network of individuals passionate about championing greater ethnic and cultural diversity within WPP and the advertising industry.

Rob Reilly, WPP’s Chief Creative Officer, said: “This competition is a celebration of the creativity and potential existing within the Black LGBTQ+ community, one of the most underrepresented talent groups within the advertising industry. Johnathan, Jordan and Venessa each approached this competition in a unique and thoughtful way and their work was a thrill to judge. I can’t wait to see where their creativity and imagination take them and hope their work inspires others to consider a career in the creative industries.”

“The One Club for Creativity exists to support the creative community, and one of our top priorities is expanding creativity through diversity,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO. “As our name says, we are the industry’s foremost global nonprofit organization ‘for creativity’ and are very proud to work with WPP on this new program that identifies, elevates, gives voice and helps open the door to young LGTBQ creative talent.”

Quote cards

Stonewall Riots background
The 1969 Stonewall Riots are commonly cited as the catalyst for the modern-day LGBTQ+ rights movement. When the New York City bar was raided by police, queer patrons decided to stand up for themselves and fight back against oppression. Led by trans women of color, notably mothers of the trans movement Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, this iconic moment in LGBTQ+ history has become whitewashed and watered down in subsequent years by brands and the media.

The LGBTQ+ movement owes a great deal to this moment, but there’s still too little recognition for the trans women of color who started it. Today, trans women of color, and black trans women specifically, are the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community, and their stories continue to be overlooked.

About The One Club for Creativity
The One Club for Creativity, producer of The One Show, ADC Annual Awards, Type Directors Club Communication Design and Typeface Design awards, Young Guns and Creative Week, is the world's foremost non-profit organization whose mission is to support and celebrate the success of the global creative community. The One Show is a top global awards show for advertising, design and digital marketing, focusing on the creativity of ideas and quality of execution. The global ADC Annual Awards honors creative excellence in craft, design and innovation across all disciplines. Creative Week takes place in June, and is the preeminent festival celebrating the intersection of advertising and the arts.

About WPP
WPP is a creative transformation company. We use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. For more information, visit