#MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke and her leadership team reached out to AP race and ethnicity writer Kat Stafford in early October, pitching a story on the significance of the movement now being led by two Black women. Stafford thought the new leadership structure would be a timely angle given the racial climate in the U.S., including a presidential election that features a Black woman on a major party ticket for the first time. The story would also coincide with the three-year anniversary of #MeToo receiving global recognition.
Stafford, who is based in Detroit and covers intersection of race and politics, set out to tell a story about #MeToo that she hadn’t seen before. The result was a piece centered on the first joint interview with the movement’s new CEO, Dani Ayers, and founder Burke. They told Stafford that the movement’s original intent was to focus on marginalized voices and experiences, emphasizing that the organization's main concern is on inequality in a year marked by a nationwide reckoning over systemic racism and inequities that have disproportionately impacted Black Americans. Burke told Stafford that people have failed to acknowledge the #MeToo movement was started and led by Black women and people of color.
The multiformat project included portraits of Burke by Steve Ruark in Baltimore, and of Ayers by John Bazemore in Atlanta. New York video producer Vanessa Alvarez created a video piece from the interview and file footage of some key #MeToo moments.