Oscar-nominated filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Showtime's Attica) is joining forces with Jacqueline Olive to direct a brand new documentary, The Color of Cola. The film, which they will co-direct, will tell the inspirational story of Pepsi's all-Black sales team, the very first of its kind for any major corporation, in the Jim Crow South. Viola Davis and Julius Tennon's JuVee Productions are exec producing.
Previously, HBO was working on a scripted series about this but nothing has materialized.
According to an official description, The Color of Cola "aims to elevate one such story exploring a time when corporate America did not include Black professionals, and the Black experience was stereotypically portrayed. The extraordinary efforts of these individuals mirror the courage of many who fought to propel America closer to its aspirations and ideals."
Stanley Nelson says 'The Color of Cola' will highlight "the achievements of groundbreaking Black business leaders."
He said in a statement, “With The Color of Cola I look forward to telling the story of the first Black sales team established in the corporate world. This project harkens back to my very first feature film Two Dollars and a Dream, about the amazing life of Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made Black woman millionaire. I was able to touch on Madam Walker’s story again, among other stories of Black entrepreneurship, in a more recent film of mine – Boss: The Black Experience in Business. I see The Color of Cola as a continuation of my past work highlighting the achievements of groundbreaking Black business leaders, whose stories are still underrepresented and often underappreciated in the context of American history.”
Jacqueline Olive on what initially attracted her to this project
“What first attracted me to the project was the opportunity to tell the story of this pioneering sales team of Black men whose work launched an effort at corporate diversity that laid the foundation for meaningfully engaging what has become a trillion dollar Black consumer market today,” she said. “If you think it doesn’t get much more powerful than that, Ed Boyd and his team, in the process, helped open the American consciousness to just how dynamic Black life truly was in the late 1940s, so the throughline of this story to benchmarks of cultural diversity in the present is remarkable. I could not be more excited to direct this film with Stanley Nelson in collaboration with our talented team at All Day Every Day, LAMF and Pepsi.”
Executive producers Viola Davis and Julius Tennon are excited to tell this inspiring story
“With The Color of Cola, Viola and I were really excited about exploring another story that’s been hidden in the amazon of American history,” said Tennon. “These men had grit, tenacity, and sheer will, being the first black sales force in corporate America. We couldn’t have better directors and partners than Stanley Nelson and Jacqueline Olive to bring this incredible documentary to life. I think we’ll all get a snapshot into what Jim Crow America was like and get to understand some of the challenges that these brave African American men faced.”
The doc y is co-produced by the Los Angeles Media Fund under the leadership and in association with Pepsi’s in-house content studio. Executive producers include Michael Karbelnikoff and Peter Kline for Alldayeveryday and Mark Landsman.