Kindra Meyer on queer creativity as an act of resistance

The creative director writes about her journey of perseverance—and working on the ‘Black Women Get Us Higher’ campaign.

Kindra Meyer on queer creativity as an act of resistance

Ad Age is marking Pride Month 2023 with our Honoring Creative Excellence package. (Read the introduction here.) Today, our guest editor Sandy Greenberg turns the spotlight to freelance creative director Kindra Meyer. Here, Meyer writes about growing up queer—and working with Gorilla Rx on “Black Women Get Us Higher.”

I was born in the woods of North Idaho, without running water, TV or internet. Growing up isolated from culture, I yearned for a community I didn’t even know by name. There was no “It Gets Better,” and at times I didn’t think I’d survive. Many queer people in my high school didn’t. 

Creativity was my escape, and writing, dance, performance and fashion were pathways to connect with a part of myself I did not yet understand. I would later learn that the joy of radical self-expression is a foundational element for the queer community—a form of resistance, connection and rejuvenation.

By the grace of Dolly I escaped the woods, figured out advertising was an actual job, and spent the last 20 years as an out, loud and proud #BiBoss creative director by day and drag performer by night.

My queerness has helped make me a better creative and leader. More resilient, empathetic, honest and collaborative. It’s attracted some wonderful agencies, partners and mentors who have supported me bringing my full queerdo self to work.

That’s not to say it’s been easy. I’ve been propped up by agencies publicly, then silenced for speaking truth to power. I’ve endured verbal, physical and sexual assault. This industry has taken its toll on so many of us. For every story like mine, there are countless left unwritten.

But I am still here, because that’s what queer people do. And as drag is being banned, and trans lives are more at risk than ever, utilizing the power of creativity to inspire action and protect the next generations is the tool I possess. 

Pride for me is about passing it on. The project I want to write about today isn’t my most award-winning, but I’m proud of the impact it made, and I hope sharing it increases visibility. 

While serving as creative lead for Decoded LA, we partnered with Gorilla Rx, L.A.’s first Black women–owned dispensary. Activist and founder Kika Keith wanted not just a marketing launch, but an idea the Crenshaw community could rep for years to come. “Black Women Get Us Higher” was our answer: a bold, unapologetic campaign rallying cry to uplift, support and drive business to Gorilla Rx. 

We carried that message with a drop of locally made, limited-edition varsity jackets, a massive mural and wild postings featuring powerful portraits of Black women from the community, while OOH QR codes incited folks to join the cannabis injustice fight online.

The campaign took off on social thanks to celebs like Lena White and Seth Rogen, and the demand for the jackets was so high that Gorilla Rx continued creating new apparel, resulting in an ongoing source of income.

So if you’re in L.A., swing by and support Gorilla Rx. And if you want to support LGBTQIA+ folks, listen to us, hire us, pay us, support us politically and tell our stories in all their multidimensionality, all year long.