This video makes a strong statement about diversity and acceptance without using words.
True
Absolut

An old man walks into a bar, where he sees a young couple kissing.

He approaches them with an intimidating look on his face. Our hearts drop as we're led to think that this might not end well.


That's when something unexpected happens. Instead of confronting the couple, he starts kissing one of them. A third character starts kissing him, and on it goes as a lineup of colorful characters carry the kiss-train through city streets, into a cop car, and finally to a hotel pool.

More than just a make-out session, the short film has a strong message to convey about love, equality, and acceptance.

"Equal Love" was created as a way to communicate a vision: a world free from judgment, where gender, sexuality, and age are no longer the lines that divide us, but the notes that turn us into a symphony.

What you don't see in the video is the personal story that led each cast member to the project.

"I was cast through a street-casting, so it sort of took me by surprise," says Cairo, the actor in the first scene who kisses the old man. Cairo, a transgender man, had taken a yearlong break from acting to begin his transition.

"My biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to work as an actor," Cairo says. "And I kind of proved myself wrong."

Everyone involved in the film knew right away they were stepping into something powerful.

Pete Mynch, another actor who appears in the film, was immediately excited by its celebration of expression and individuality.

"Expressing freedom as well as expressing yourself as an individual ... it's a good message, isn't it?" Mynch says. "This story is asking people, maybe in some way, to look at their own belief system."

Absolut Vodka deliberately hired diverse actors to make a statement about acceptance — one they've been making for years.

They began advertising directly to their LGBTQ customers in 1981, a time when being gay was heavily stigmatized and supporting the LGBTQ community might earn you more protest than praise.

In 1986, Absolut collaborated with openly gay artists Andy Warhol and Keith Haring to create art that supported LGBTQ causes. In 2003, they partnered with Gilbert Baker, creator of the Pride flag, to create the world’s largest pride flag that extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.

"Equal Love" is the continuation of that work and its evolution into a celebration of even more kinds of diversity.

"All the characters are different," says Sid Ouared, another actor in the film. "You have the police officer, you have the grumpy old man. … There's someone representing all of us."

At a time when the world feels divided and brands have tried and failed to capitalize on healing that divide, Absolut seems to know what they're doing a little more than most.

The film's timing is no accident either. It's being released right after Pride Month.

"I think this advert is much more open-minded," Cairo says. "I’d spoken to the producer and director, and they seemed really up to date and really positive. I felt like they’d done their research."

"It will get people talking," Ouared says. "It will get people's attention, and it will spread a positive message and raise awareness to diversity."

"Equal Love" may not heal the world's divides, but it's still doing something pretty important.

It's portraying a world where kissing is an expression of the soul as much as the heart — a world where love is, quite simply, love.

"I think it’s so good to be a part of something that says — behind everything — it just doesn’t really matter about your gender or your sexuality. We’re just all equal and human," Cairo says. "It just makes me proud."

True

Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pixabay

As people get older, social isolation and loneliness become serious problems. Many find themselves living alone for the first time after the death of a spouse. It's also difficult for older people to maintain friendships when people they've known for years become ill or pass away.

Census Bureau figures say that almost a quarter of men and nearly 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone.

But loneliness doesn't just affect those who reside by themselves. People can feel lonely when there is a discrepancy between their desired and actual relationships. To put it simply, when it comes to having a healthy social life, quality is just as important as quantity.

Keep Reading Show less