'16th Century Life Expectancy' for UK Black Pride


Explored through the most popular form of the age, ‘16th Century Life Expectancy’ heroes modern day black trans influencers in authentic portraits of the era. Working with five members of the Black trans community, we unearthed their personal stories and lived experiences, brought to life in an exhibition and event raising awareness and debunking misinformation and myths surrounding the community.

The Challenge:

As a non-profit, UK Black Pride’s main activity is their annual Pride Festival, held every August. UK Black Pride wanted to diversify their reach year-round, by raising awareness of the experiences of the UK’s Black LGBTQIA+ community by being factual and empathetic, whilst giving this marginalised community an opportunity to speak to their struggles and highlight the real issues they face.


When it comes to misinformation, the most damaging and shared story is that Black trans women have a life expectancy of just 35. This bleak statistic first arose back in 2015 when a report compiled by the ‘Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ found the average age of a Black trans homicide victim in some parts of Latin America was between 30 and 35. Although rooted in a very real and shocking statistic, it quickly became misappropriated, extrapolated, and shared widely around the world, out of context and cited as fact. 

Our Idea and Brand Platform:

To debunk the misinformation, we dramatised the absurdity of it. A life expectancy of 35 years old is the equivalent of someone living in the 16th Century – a time where lives were cut short from diseases like the Black Death and Cholera.  


Nationwide OOH, digital media and fly-posters drove awareness. The portraits debuted with an exhibition at world-renowned art and auction house, Christie’s, with an opening showcase and high-profile event. This included a panel discussion with prominent trans and Black LGBTQIA+ community members highlighting the issues the community faces - such as media misinformation, housing difficulties, mental health, and access to trans affirming healthcare.   

An online hub acted as a virtual exhibition in support of the Christie’s debut, showcasing the portraits and delving deeper into to the sitters’ lived experiences


The ‘16th Century Life Expectancy’ campaign diversified UK Black Pride's reach, the Christie’s partnership, launching exhibition and events thereafter saw an upshoot of 25,000+ attendants, bringing people together within and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community – and platforming UK Black Pride's activity to Christie’s 1.1M followers.  

Thanks to the participation of allies to the campaign, in their own 16th Century portraits, UK Black Pride saw the campaign spread to a combined reach of 500,000+ followers through social media. 

UK Black Pride saw the alignment of multiple members of parliament, such as MP Nadia Whittome, to back a pledge to push for the trans community to receive reduced wait-list times for gender affirming healthcare. 


'16th Century Life Expectancy' for UK Black Pride

"16th Century Life Expectancy" showcases Black trans influencers through authentic portraits, partnering with five members of the community to share their personal stories and debunk myths. The exhibition raises awareness and celebrates their experiences.

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McCann London

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