Over the past several years, the LEGO Group has significantly enhanced its messages of diversity and inclusion across its corporate policies, advertising, social media, and even in related media like The LEGO Movie franchise. The LEGO hobbyist community includes amazing, wonderful people from all over the world, of every sexual orientation and gender identity. Seeing someone like ourselves represented through our favorite building toy truly matters, but until the announcement of 40516 Everyone is Awesome today, LEGO hasn’t released a LEGO set that fully embraces and celebrates the company’s myriad LGBTQ+ fans and employees, including people of color. Featuring 11 colorful minifigures with a rainbow backdrop built from 346 pieces, the set will be available on the first day of Pride Month 2021, June 1, for US $34.99 | CAN $44.49 | UK £30.
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
Read our hands-on review of LEGO 40516 Everyone Is Awesome
Long before the Covid19 pandemic rocked the world, the BrickCon staff chose to playfully name this year’s theme “Hindsight”. The idea was based on the old expression, “hindsight is 20/20,” referring to past events and decisions being clearer in the present. It was hoped that the theme would spark creations that poked fun at the past. Unfortunately, most of us around the world could not have seen this coming, nor prevented it if we did. The irony has been palpable and even painful for millions of people across the globe. There’s no denying it’s been a tough year – for everyone. But one part of “hindsight” that benefits BrickCon, is the fact that it’s one of the last conventions of the year, and thus, they’ve had a chance to learn from all the rest. This con promises to be different than the others. Read on to learn how, and in what ways you can help.
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Although The Brothers Brick has always been committed to diversity and inclusion in both the LEGO builders we feature and our own team members, ranging from the builders in Asia that we specifically featured on Pan-Pacific Bricks or our longstanding commitment to including LGBTQ+ staff on our team, we know that we can do better. During our interview with Ekow Nimako last month, we recommitted to ensuring that our own team better represents the real diversity of the LEGO community we’re a part of. The specific roles we’re looking to fill from members of the community are Contributor (Writer) and Social Media Manager.
Read more about what we’re looking for in a TBB contributor
In response to the growing protests about racial inequality centered in the US, LEGO announced that they stand with the black community and will donate $4 million to several organizations working to both support and educate children about racial equality. The donation is one of the largest by a corporation announced so far, similar in scale to the $5 million donation announced by Disney.
LEGO’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement and their sizeable donation is a notable response to the tragic events unfolding throughout the US, especially considering their own flagship store in New York was looted earlier this week. These pictures from Twitter users @aaronwhite and @SteveKornacki show the Flatiron District LEGO Store’s windows smashed and shelves wiped clean, with only a broken Star Destroyer and a few permanent displays remaining.
LEGO’s core values state that the company will strive to “make a positive difference in the lives of children… not because we have to – but because it feels right and because we care.” LEGO has also asked retailers and affiliates to pause advertising a variety of products including City sets featuring police officers and firefighters as well as the new LEGO Architecture White House.
Here at The Brothers Brick, we’ve taken “political” stands on matters of peace and justice for as long as the LEGO building community has created LEGO art that communicates an important message, whether that message was in support of marriage equality way back in 2006 or freedom of discourse in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015. Dave Kaleta joins a chorus of people around the world who choose not to remain silent in these excruciating, infuriating times.
From a LEGO build perspective, Dave uses largely disconnected white slopes, tiles, and plates to surround solidly attached black bricks. Dave also leverages the new range of small curved tiles to create the lettering along the bottom of the mosaic. But the build and its techniques are hardly what grab my attention.
A few thoughts on the intersection of LEGO, art, politics, and privilege