Today, in honour of Martin Luther King Day, MTV is returning to its progressive, socially conscious days with a special twist on its programming. For twelve straight hours, the channel will air all its shows and music videos (all two of them) in black and white, in an effort to draw attention to racial tensions in the US.

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar (pictured), Common and a host of other celebrities want Americans to have #thetalk.

Commercials will still air in colour though, presumably because capitalism trumps social justice.

Stephen Friedman, the president of MTV had this to say at a press conference announcing the move: “Our audience is looking for a way to bring the national conversation on race into their homes and this campaign will give them a forum to express true color bravery.”

Get it? True colour? Because of race? And also black and white programming? Ok, so he got a bit cheesy at the end there, but as a media strategy, it seems well meaning enough.

More: Amy Schumer Confirmed as Host of 2015 MTV Movie Awards.

A number of celebrities and luminaries have also joined in on the effort and recorded individual messages and musings on race and racism, which will air during commercial breaks on the channel. The list of allies includes Kendrick Lamar, Common, Big Sean, Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, Penn Badgley, Jordin Sparks, Pete Wentz, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. John Lewis, Sen. Cory Booker and more.

MTV has lent the initiative, which will appear starting at 9 a.m. Eastern on Martin Luther King Day and continue for 12  hours, the hashtag #TheTalk, and will use on-air creative on MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams and a comprehensive editorial push across MTV’s online, mobile and social platforms to encourage audience members to share their own reflections using the hashtag and the web site,