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I’m Tamara the baker and blogger behind Jem of the South, the place where you “Discover Something Sweet!” I’ve been baking since I was a teen and I started, Jem of the South in 2010 as a way to share my creativity through baking. My adventures in baking have led me down many paths including having my own radio show, hosting dessert events, producing dessert guides and in 2018 I’ll be publishing my first cookbook, “Let’s Have Brunch!”  

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

 Black Girl Magic From The Movie, Black Panther

Black Girl Magic From The Movie, Black Panther

Black History Month this year means that we are still making history daily and that I am a part of that history.  After seeing the movie Black Panther, and the strong female cast members from the film, I am reminded that Black History is happening right now, and I am a part of this movement.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Bake This Year?

 My parents are a constant inspiration in my life.

My parents are a constant inspiration in my life.

I find my inspiration from so many places. This year I am taking time to step back and remember why I started Jem of the South.  I’m making sure I am creating things that come from my heart.  So I guess my inspiration is coming more from within myself.

To Learn More About Tamara Visit:

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I’m a freelance photographer born, raised and living in Brooklyn.  Photography has been a part of my life for 10 years plus, but it was only about 2 years ago that I decided to pursue it professionally. Since then I’ve been able to make some amazing connections, learn a lot more about photography (both the technical and business aspects) and take some fun photos.

 I took a seminar last year at the Brooklyn Public Library taught by Professor Sarah Lewis, and was totally surprised to learn that Frederick Douglass was the most photographed man in 19th C. America - intentionally so on his part.

I took a seminar last year at the Brooklyn Public Library taught by Professor Sarah Lewis, and was totally surprised to learn that Frederick Douglass was the most photographed man in 19th C. America - intentionally so on his part.

As a Freelance Contributor for Apartment Therapy, I’ve had the opportunity to go all over New York City to meet interesting people, photograph amazing apartments and to see all of the ways in which people create and design their homes. It’s an amazing (and surprising thing) when someone invites me (a complete stranger) into their home and we can just connect over the way they’ve designed their home, which is very often an extension of their personality and character.  

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black History Month is always a time to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Black people. And as much as I love that everyone celebrates, promotes and discusses Black History every year during this month, I always try to keep in mind and live into (mostly by reading and learning about it throughout the year) that Black History is American history. Our contributions are/have been intrinsic to the creation of America and to the social, cultural and economic fabric of this country and the world.

 

This year, there has also been a lot of personal reflection as well. 16-yr old Chinasa wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice and was passionate about learning about the Civil Rights Movement and I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring some of her into what I’m doing now, but, to be honest, I’m still working on it.

This month, I’ve also realized how much I still have to learn. I recently watched a Facebook Live organized by Diversify Photo, The Photo Brigade and Adorama, which featured two Black women photojournalists, Michelle Agins and Akili Ramsess. Their stories definitely inspired me, but they also highlighted that as much as I think I know about Black History that there is always something left to learn. So this year, I want to dedicate time to learning more about Black women (and men - but I’m starting with the women first) photographers, past & present. 

 My younger sister (on the right). We definitely have some great discussions around social injustice and she currently works to help immigrants throughout NYC. She’s also helps me with my photography by being a model. I did want to include a recent photo of the rest of my family, but we don’t really have any, so we’ll just say that my parents are represented here through us.

My younger sister (on the right). We definitely have some great discussions around social injustice and she currently works to help immigrants throughout NYC. She’s also helps me with my photography by being a model. I did want to include a recent photo of the rest of my family, but we don’t really have any, so we’ll just say that my parents are represented here through us.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

This year, I’ve been finding inspiration from seeing other creatives follow their passion, from seeing the possibilities that they imagined and then, brought to life. These people keep me motivated when I’m feeling overwhelmed about all of the things that I don’t know about being a photographer.

Finding inspiration has been a challenge for me of late. So, I’ve recently decided to pick up my Vivatar 3800N (my first camera, bought for me by mom when I first started showing interest in photography) and get back into B&W film photography.

Dance will also be a source of inspiration and focus for my photography this year. I’ve always felt such big emotion and a fascination with the capabilities of the body when watching a dance performance, so this year, I want to dedicate any extra time that I have to exploring dance photography.

To Learn More About Chinasa Visit:

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AuthorAngela Belt
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I am a British born Zimbabwean who lived in Zimbabwe till the age of 14. Our family moved to the UK at that point, and I lived there till 2017; when I moved with my family to the USA following my husband’s job relocation. I worked in several fashion head offices till 2015 when I decided to stay at home and look after our 2 children. I love writing and making people laugh. I am obsessed with clothes (especially on sale), and spend too much time pinning home style looks (free therapy). Thankfully it’s not all in vain as I am working on a business idea based around fashion and home; which I hope to realise in the next 2 years when I get my life (and hopefully functioning memory) back.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

In my senior year at school we were four Black girls, three grew up in African countries and one grew up in the UK. One day during one of our political discussions, our UK “comrade” said to us, “You’ll never appreciate what it is to grow up in an environment where Black professionals are the norm. where your relatives are doctors and CEOs and your president is Black. You grew up seeing Black success as the norm, you believe you can be anything.”

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That day my perception shifted, and being a Black parent in the diaspora I understand more the need for ALL children to be surrounded by Black success. The louder our excellence is, the lower the volume of those perpetuating negative stereotypes. Every race has good and bad, but we are burdened with shining a spotlight on our good like it’s an anomaly. I am proud to be here, proud to be in a couple that can be an example to a child looking for a role model, and part of those changing the narrative on Black families. The Black Panther movie (which I haven’t watched yet) is another layer added in our kids world: superheroes they can actually relate to.
The cruel history of slavery and its effects right up to our generation (Black incarceration? Racial profiling? Police brutality?) should never be swept under the carpet. Would anyone ask Jews to get over the Holocaust? It was evil. It happened. It’s happening.  The more images of Black success our kids see, the more we show them that “still we rise”.  The more images of Black excellence the new generation in other races see, the more it is normalized. And I am privileged to be here for it.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

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My name, Tanaka, means “we are now complete”. It was what my parents spoke over me when I was born and I live my life from the perspective that people’s lives should be bettered for having met me. It’s what they say every time they say my name!
 As a result, a lot of my inspiration for writing (when it’s not about my family’s life) comes from the people I meet everyday, the conversations we have and the challenges they face. I am always seeking to be a solution provider in the areas I am gifted. I love seeking out ideas that make living stylishly easier for mums and then write about it. I currently have a couple of mums with similar body types who are frustrated at the lack of stylish clothing for their body type. This has led me on a journey which I will then write about on the blog and hopefully help a lot of other women in the same position.

To Learn More About Tanaka Visit:

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Nicole White is the president and principal designer of Nicole White Designs Interiors, a full service design firm based in South Florida. Nicole has been voted among the Top 25 Interior Design Firms by the South Florida Luxury Guide.  She has been featured in Domino Magazine among the 47 inspiring designers of color to follow, twice noted as an emerging designer to watch by the Black Interior Designers Network, and this year became the first black interior designer to have a featured vignette at the Design on a Dime Miami Housing Works AIDS charity event. Her work has been published in various national, local print and digital magazines including Better Homes and Garden, Ocean Drive, HGTV Online and the Huffington Post. Nicole who shares the behind the scenes details of her designs on her blog LiveLaughDecorate is also a brand ambassador and influencer with noted brands including The Home Depot, Purple Drywall and City Furniture.

Nicole and her team are dedicated to transforming the spaces and lives of our clients' homes and businesses. Known for her renovation prowess, she cultivates intimate and long-standing relationships with clients as they design for the varying stages of their lives, and often spend years working on various projects throughout her clients homes, businesses and vacation homes. A Jamaican native, Nicole is deeply inspired by the music and the bold colors and textures of the Caribbean, and constantly fuses those elements throughout her designs. When not dreaming up new design plans, she enjoys traveling the world, sipping copious amounts of wine and sampling great food at some of South Florida's best eateries. Her favorite moments involve reading and playtime with her 6 year-old son Xavier, a budding artist and storyteller who already has the travel bug.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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 Black history month has had special meaning this year as we’ve seen a tidal wave of resistance to political, sexist and criminal injustice in an era when we thought we’d moved beyond all this. We've seen women of all races finally have their stories of sexual harassment believed! How incredible has that been to see some of the most powerful men toppled because of those voices and to think it was part of a movement started quietly ten years ago by Tarana Burke, a black woman.

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Maya Angelou

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

 When I moved to the US in 1992, I was an immigrant lost in the hustle and struggle of NY and really just utterly bereft about my decision to move to the United States. I was broke and struggling to pay for college and Maya’s, Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now, helped steady my very rocky ship. I read that collection of essays cover to cover every day as a reminder to stay the course. That it was okay to start over again and again if you had to, until you found your way. She was a fierce woman who just lived her life. It’s a treasure of a book and one I still keep on my nightstand, as a reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go.

 

 

To Learn More About Nicole Visit:

Artist. Innovator. Educator. Grammy nominated artist entrenched in the ethos of hip hop culture yet colors outside of the lines of genre and tradition. Co-Curator of Beats&Beans: a discussion on creativity and re-imagining creative spaces, Kokayi continues to chase the origins of creativity and innovation. A recipient of the DCCAH Artist Fellowship, Sister Cites Grant and Artist Grant and his music can be found in MTV's Rebel Music Series, Kevin Hart's Laugh at my Pain, A'Larrache (Canal +) and many others. He is currently faculty at the School of Improvisational Music in NY, guest Collaborator with international arts program OneBeat and works as a music emissary throughout the world.

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"My work is an amalgamation of my life experiences as filtered through the lens of DC, go-go and the music of the African diaspora overall."

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This year black history month to me is less about the celebration of black history as it has been celebrated prior, but more about the heralding of all that we as a people have contributed and continue to contribute. As of late the diaspora has begun to embrace itself as more than just the footrest of the world but more as the creators of our own presents and futures. Afro futurism is embraced, afro now-ism is what we are seeing from black Presidents to Black Panther.

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 I was working in Mauritania with producers from Mali, Morocco, Senegal and more. The kids in the back were in awe about the software that was being used to record and produce music.   

I was working in Mauritania with producers from Mali, Morocco, Senegal and more. The kids in the back were in awe about the software that was being used to record and produce music.

 

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I find inspiration in different environments; from coffee shops, galleries or anywhere there is life moving about.  My kids inspire me and keep me connected to the youth.

To Learn More About Kokayi Visit:

Cedar & Cotton is a new & vintage home furnishings company based in Southwest Baltimore City and Baltimore Magazine’s 2017 Editors Pick for Best Furniture Showroom.  The duo expertly curates, refurbishes, and handcrafts an eclectic mix of furniture, accessories & lighting.  Their signature style mixes traditional with the unexpected, and often incorporates themes from nature, African prints, and metallic accents.

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Nasira and Raina are both originally from Baltimore & have been friends for over a decade, bonding over their shared love of architecture, design, and grilled meats!

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

  Baltimore, Circa 1950.  Photo by the late I. Henry Phillips, Sr., a pioneering photojournalist for the Baltimore-based Afro-American newspaper.

Baltimore, Circa 1950.  Photo by the late I. Henry Phillips, Sr., a pioneering photojournalist for the Baltimore-based Afro-American newspaper.

Black History Month this year is a time to actively celebrate our culture and contributions even more intently than we do everyday.  In our lives and design, we work to always pay homage to Black designers who have come before us.  We place emphasis on actively shining light on underrepresented Black designers and furniture makers, locally, nationally and internationally.  This black history month (and always) we’re honoring black women business owners, both current and those who paved the way.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

  Portrait of Mursi Girl, Omo Valley, Ethiopia by Peter Adams    This oversized print hangs in the entryway of our storefront. Each time we enter we are inspired by the wisdom and resilience in her eyes.

Portrait of Mursi Girl, Omo Valley, Ethiopia by Peter Adams

This oversized print hangs in the entryway of our storefront. Each time we enter we are inspired by the wisdom and resilience in her eyes.

We’re constantly inspired by the people of Baltimore City.  The energy of the city is authentic, electric and energizing.  There is a renaissance of Black creatives owning businesses, creative hubs and safe spaces and we’re honored to be part of this group.  The collaborative, but often unspoken, mission of community growth pushes us to continue to create.

 

We are also inspired by personal items and ephemera we find in vintage pieces we restore.  Finding negatives for vintage wedding photos in a desk or a pair of classic 50’s cat-eye glasses in a sofa reminds us that we’re continuing someone’s personal and family story each time we breathe new life into vintage furniture.

To Learn More About Nasira & Raina Visit:

 

 

Born in Port-au-Prince Haiti, Nathalie migrated to America at just six months of age. Growing up, she felt a great void and a lack in identity spanning from her lack of Haitian history.  Her very own missed culture is what inevitably birthed the Mod Punch concept of  culture and design.

Nathalie Armand-Bradley is a Atlanta-based interior designer and rendering expert specializing in modern-eclectic spaces. With a distinctive emphasis on culture, ModPunch designs seeks to delve deep into the core of every client. The belief is that beauty and function should be tangible to all, ModPunch seeks to tailor each room with the individual history and culture in mind.

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Nathalie business started when she was faced with the great challenge of caring for her 24 week preemie and Autistic son Sebastian and she had to make a decision about whether or not to return to corporate America.  Nathalie begin to create one room specials to friends that inquired about there expertise. As word of mouth began to spread, Nathalie began to provide interior design services to out of town clientele virtually.  She then began working as an e-design consultant and slowly transitioned on to complex and multi-room designs. Nathalie and her team now serve residential and commercial clients  within the Atlanta area and throughout the United States.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

 Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an African-American mathematician who made contributions to the United States' aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA.

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an African-American mathematician who made contributions to the United States' aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA.

 I think that there is a great need more then ever before to celebrate Black history 365 days a year. There is a unwavering resistance in the air which seeks to strip down what it means to be unapologetically Black. We see in the white house, in our judicial system, in our housing market and in so many different aspects of life. Often times its blatant, other times its a hidden agenda. And although we have come such a long way, there is still so much to be done. I think a well learned, and well read community of people does a far greater good then bad. We should stand firm on the backs of our ancestors and those who have paved the way by learning about their trials and by celebrating their triumphs. Our very own lives should be the outward reflection of our appreciation

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

Nature with all of its rawness, depth and color is the ultimate form of inspiration. I find that some of the greatest color combos and textures are found right outside our door step. I am currently obsessed with green. It is such an awesome accessory color.

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To Learn More About Nathalie Visit:

Deena Campbell Sengstacke is a New York-based beauty and lifestyle writer whose work is published in Allure, The New York Times, Essence and a host of others. She is currently the founder of Beauty and the Boys where she writes about life with her husband and toddler, and freelance copywriter.

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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Black History Month is a time to love and accept ourselves, especially when the world doesn’t always honor us. It’s a time to celebrate our intellect, strength, culture and everything that makes us magical. But for me, Black History Month should extend well beyond the month of February. We can celebrate all year by supporting Black-owned business, uplifting each other and being undeniably strong.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

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A while back I came across a quote that always stuck with me: “Motivation is a push, Inspiration is a pull.” It’s true—things that inspire you naturally pull you into it. For me, inspiration comes from everywhere. It’s all around me. Music heard in random coffee shops  (loving SZA, and Daniel Caesar BTW), street style, paintings, and obviously my family.

To Learn More About Deena Visit:

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Bailey Li is a Decorative Artist, Interior Decorator/Designer and Curator of insanely stylish spaces.  Bailey has a background in fashion, real estate and radio. She discovered her passion for decorating homes while working as a successful Real Estate agent in 2003. Drawn to the Architecture & character of the homes in the Historical districts of South Orange and Maplewood New Jersey she began providing Home Staging services to homeowners that were looking to sell. In order to appeal to the influx of professionals from NYC she mastered the skill of combining antique /rare vintage pieces with modern colors, elements & textures. This resulted in stylishly blended interiors that made the homes sell almost immediately. Naturally once their homes sold, her clients were calling her to decorate their new homes. She realized she had a gift, a natural talent to create spaces that made the inhabitants feel amazing. She began to focus more on decorating and designing than home staging. It was then that she was able to truly express her full creative vision & watch it translate into stunning environments. She is known for her ability to select unique antique/vintage pieces & combine them with artistic and modern elements resulting in beautiful, functional, original spaces.

Bailey also has a live /work artist studio /showroom located in the Firehouse Art Gallery in the Valley Arts district of Orange New Jersey.  Her designs have been mentioned in Vogue.com, featured on Designerlebrity & seen in Ebony magazine.  Bailey was interviewed on PBS’s show “A state of the Arts” and filmed for NBC’s Open House  NYC.  Bailey also designs one-of-a-kind home furnishings, hand made decor, and she personally hand paints walls, floors and furniture for some of her projects.  Bailey's antique graffiti chairs and other customized furniture installations have been featured in art exhibits.

 

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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As I reflect back on my childhood, Black History meant much more to me than I was aware of at the time. Born in Newark, NJ to a Puerto Rican mother and a Black father, they were heavily influenced by the era in which they grew up—a time of drugs, riots, segregation, and war that unfortunately caused them to become products of their environment. I realize now that despite my circumstances, we have a history rich in beauty, intellect, talent, strength, and perseverance. The mere fact that I was able to seek out and identify with certain powerful artists, creatives, and writers, allowed me not to place limits on my dreams while solidifying my identity as a Black woman. It’s up to me/us to continue to create a history that will strengthen and inspire our youth. Black History should be acknowledged and celebrated on an ongoing basis—not just 28 days.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

Growing up without the consistent presence of my parents, I felt very disconnected from my place in the world. It was a challenge to feel loved and nurtured at home. The moment I realized certain things in life had the ability to take my breath away and give me glimpses of happiness, I was intrigued. I first discovered poetry as a child when I began organizing my aunt’s books. I wanted to create an aesthetically pleasing environment by organizing them on her bookshelf but Soon I began to absorb the influence of those that lined the shelves. Phyllis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, Sonia Sanchez, and Nikki Giovanni were some of the greats that connected me to my passion and creativity. These and many other black artists allowed me to recognize how beauty can lie within the unexpected and overlooked.  I take this philosophy with me when designing for my clients.  The momentary high I experience when I witness the energy of color, the excitement of lines, the movement of space—even when it is seemingly at a standstill is what inspires me. For me Design is poetry; it is a means of expression, an opportunity to tell the story of the client, of those before us and to create a new, personalized story. I am constantly  inspired by the past and simultaneously inspired by the current.

To Learn More About Bailey Visit:

 Bailey Li's son painting his self portrait

Bailey Li's son painting his self portrait

 Completed work of his self portrait

Completed work of his self portrait

A professional in product design and illustration for over 15 years, Shayla Johnson is an artist and textile designer living in the Detroit area. Shayla was born and raised on Florida's coast. She was trained as a product designer at the Georgia Institute of Technology earning a BS in Industrial Design in 1999 as well as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013.  She received her MFA in Visual Communications. In 2013 she started Scarlet Crane Creations, which specializes in handcrafted, high-quality products that feature screen-printed patterns on natural fabrics.

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In March of 2017, Scarlet Crane was selected as a local vendor to showcase and sell items at a regional location of national brand, West Elm. She serves as a member of the Ocelot Print Shop, where she works within a community of local artists to promote screen printing projects and innovation within the craft.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

“Representation” has meant a lot to me as of late, it seems to be one of the most effective means by which we can combat damaging stereotypes. Now more than ever, there’s a need to be intentional and thoughtful about how we represent ourselves. We must to the best of our ability control the varied images of ourselves in every sphere. I often think of those who excelled as minorities in their fields, like Katherine Johnson, the math genius celebrated in the recent film, “Hidden Figures” or Raye Montague, who broke barriers in the then-male-dominated US Navy. I love what I do and am passionate about it partly because textile design is certainly one of those industries where African-Americans are underrepresented. Each of us plays a part to show the beautiful diversity of black life and our contributions to culture. I hope to be one such example especially to young black girls that certainly the possibilities are endless.

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Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

I was trained as an Industrial Designer by way of a Bauhaus school approach which brought together all forms of art, including architecture. Hence, my inspiration continues to be the architecture and the built spaces around me. I am a minimalist and I even approach my hand-drawn floral prints in a very graphic and mechanical way, using structural dots and simple lines. The Finnish company, Marimekko maintains a similar aesthetic and continues to be an inspiration especially in terms of their dedication to the screen printing process. I'm still perfecting my own process as I integrate more super-sized motifs and giant screens into the mix. I also like the appropriate use of white space in a pattern that is common in some Ankara African prints, so my goal recently has been to achieve a nice marriage of the two.

To Learn More About Shayla Visit:

I’m a self taught interior decorator living and working in Harlem. I enjoy mixing bold colors with layered patterns and textures to create spaces that are, elegant, unexpected, and tell the story of their occupants. I have a background in fashion and beauty and often look to both for inspiration. I love to incorporate African textiles and accessories into my designs as a cultural nod to  our ancestors and to share the rich history of artistry to runs deep in the continent.  Being a native Guyanese, I think also informs my work in the use of vibrant hues and natural materials. I moved to New York in 2009 and this amazing city has been a constant source of inspiration and uplifting for me ever since.

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This year, what Black History Month means to me is “hope".  While we very much continue to struggle with issues of race in the US and abroad, I do feel optimistic for positive change. It’s inspiring to see people (not just people of color) organize, come together and stand against racial injustice and inequality. There’s a movement in our communities and in our country that has not been seen since the civil rights movement. Some might argue that this rise is due to the fact that the current climate necessitates it. But whatever the cause, there are individuals who are dissatisfied,  willing to stand up, and want to  initiate a revolution. We have still a long road ahead of us. But if we lose hope, then we stop believing that we can influence change. “We must be able to accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”. MLK

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Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

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I find quite a bit of design inspiration from traveling. Being able to see firsthand the amazing wonders and people of this planet is awe inspiring. I make it a point to always bring back items that I can use in my own home or pass along to clients. I’m endlessly inspired by the traditional dress and craftsmanship of indigenous/native people. I love intricately designed and richly colored textiles and accessories which can then serve as the jumping off point for a design.  I also love to follow designers that are innovative and fearless in their work-Sheila Bridges, Corey Damen Jenkins Ron Woodson, just to name a few.

To Learn More About Minetta Visit:

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Hadiya Williams is a designer/maker and native of Washington, DC. She is the founder of Black Pepper Paperie Co., a design studio that create handmade,  lifestyle statement pieces. This includes wearable art, home decor, paper goods, and apparel. Hadiya’s aesthetic is a combination of ancient West African art, vintage + modern design, and intuition.Her work has recently been featured on HGTV’s House Hunters (online), Shoppe Black, Okay Africa, Curbed, Afrominimalist, The Root, Studio78, In Her Shoes Blog. When Hadiya isn’t designing or making, you can find her listening to podcasts or hunting for ancestral treasures.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black History Month 2018 means self-awareness. We are currently experiencing a renaissance across the diaspora and black people and people of color around the world are creating and developing some really inspiring and dynamic work. We are owning our power and pushing back in a way that we haven’t seen in decades. This shift comes from the increase in our collective empowerment. Our ability to connect, globally has really allowed us to see ourselves for who we are. We are celebrating ourselves and continuing to draw on the strength of our ancestors and the work that was put in to get us this far.

 Alma Woodsey Thomas was an African-American Expressionist painter and art educator. She lived and worked primarily in Washington, D.C. and the Washington Post described her as a force in the Washington Color School.

Alma Woodsey Thomas was an African-American Expressionist painter and art educator. She lived and worked primarily in Washington, D.C. and the Washington Post described her as a force in the Washington Color School.

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Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

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I am finding inspiration from art all around me. Of course there is tons of content online to get inspired by. I love Instagram and Pinterest. I visit museums more often these days because I live walking distance from the downtown area in Washington, DC. The National Museum of African Art, The National Museum of African American History and Culture The National Gallery of Art, The American Art Museum are my favorite places to go get energized. Vintage shopping and estate sales are also a great source of inspiration.

To Learn More About Hadiya Visit:

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I am a self-taught photographer specializing in custom lifestyle photography. I capture lots of love (weddings and elopements), candid family moments,  and some bangin' brands too!  When it comes to photography my goal is to convey a sense of place, personality, and most of all the essence of a moment! I love the Sunday mornings of life and believe that everything God has made is beautiful! I'm here to capture all the beauty God creates along with those authentic and genuine connections! Oh, and I love to laugh (that deep belly laugh). So, when you're around me get ready to giggle a little...or a lot too!

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black History Month is all about the celebration of a culture and triumph for me.  I'm black and proud 365 and I'm proud of my heritage and flavor each and every day. I celebrate who I am each day, but as we all know, America is built on the backs, blood, sweat, and tears of African slaves and for years that went unrecognized. So, for a month to be dedicated to acknowledging our contribution to the US and the world it means a lot to me.

 The image above by James Karales, Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965, 1965. This image inspires me because there is so much power in one candid shot. This one image is a complete story in itself. So much hope and power in one shot.

The image above by James Karales, Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965, 1965. This image inspires me because there is so much power in one candid shot. This one image is a complete story in itself. So much hope and power in one shot.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

 This shot is one of my personal faves! Black girl magic is oozing out of this image.

This shot is one of my personal faves! Black girl magic is oozing out of this image.

I find my inspiration in everyday life and authentic human connection. So far this year, I’ve been really inspired by the flow of dance. I love the flow and connection in dancing.

To Learn More About Sirena Visit:

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Crystal White launched her career in 1993, attending the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. She received the CFDA Award in 1997 while only a senior in college for promising/upcoming new talent.   White was recruited out of college her senior year to work for popular brand Abercrombie & Fitch before graduation, quickly rising to senior management within 3 years.  She has been in leadership roles  in various successful brands in Menswear, Womenswear and Childrenswear including American Eagle Outfitters, Suitsupply, Ralph Lauren Club Monaco, Ali Ro, and Osh Kosh B’Gosh before landing a coveted position as a Design Director for Donna Karan/DKNY, where she is currently.

 

 

 

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

 my favorite illustrator is Normal Rockwell.  Every time I see this photo, it melts me.  It’s called “The problem we all live with” painted in 1964.  It speaks for itself...

my favorite illustrator is Normal Rockwell.  Every time I see this photo, it melts me.  It’s called “The problem we all live with” painted in 1964.  It speaks for itself...

After 20 years in the industry, this year 2018, is the first time that any of the companies I’ve worked for have acknowledged and supported MLK Day.  It’s significant to me that Donna Karan/DKNY now owned by GIII, recognized and honored this monumental day. It gave me pause and reflection... I felt acknowledged, appreciated and welcome.  Recognizing and celebrating the lives of Blacks in American history is important for all Americans, not just minorities. It’s very easy to take for granted the rights that many people before us died to secure. Blacks in the Design industry are few and far between.  I have found myself the only executive sitting at the table the majority of my career, but I feel blessed to be here.  So to me it is essential to have an awareness of the past, so that we may truly value and appreciate the blessings we enjoy in the present.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

 Art prints that offer creative inspiration

Art prints that offer creative inspiration

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I am inspired by all things...  fabric and texture, nature, music, pop culture, and other designers, but most inspired by contemporary art...   I use it in my work.  Our prints are original designs by different artists all over the world.  Daily motivation is inherent...  I had strong parents, it’s part of my make up.  I am product of a strong talented black, powerful Southern family of God, but I also recognize that what I share with the world is a blessing and gift.  My family and friends have supported  me everyday since I was a young girl.    My children inspire me to be my best self in all things... 

 My children Blake & Peyton

My children Blake & Peyton

To Learn More About Crystal Visit:

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AuthorAngela Belt
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A'Driane "addyeB" Nieves is a USAF veteran, self-taught artist, activist, and speaker with a heart for serving others and social good. She's also a mental health advocate living with bipolar disorder, and runs an online mental health support group for women of color called Tessera Collective. She empowers women to transform brokenness in their lives into power and beauty, and amplifies the voices and experiences of those marked as Other in society through her written and visual work. Most recently she was featured alongside Bono as a ONE Campaign activist and volunteer for Glamour Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” issue, where Bono was awarded their first ever “Man of the Year’ award for his work on gender equity and extreme poverty. She believes creating and viewing visual art that addresses themes such as racism, mental health, and recovering from trauma can serve as a catalyst for personal growth and social change. Her work has been featured on BlogHer, Everyday Feminism, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Mashable, The Fourth Trimester Bodies Project, Sheryl Sandberg's "Option B" platform, and MISC Magazine. Her artwork has been exhibited at Wild Goose Festival, Johnson State College, WORKS San Jose, and most recently at Rare Device in San Francisco. She lives in New Jersey with her robotics loving husband and three boys.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

 Danai Gurira as the leader of Wakanda’s special forces team, the Dora Milaje/ Marvel/AP

Danai Gurira as the leader of Wakanda’s special forces team, the Dora Milaje/ Marvel/AP

Black Panther (Wakanda Forever). All the Black athletes in the Winter Olympics. Ava DuVernay directing A Wrinkle in Time. Black people across the diaspora continuing to show that the impossible is actually quite doable.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

 Ava Duvernay, award winning director and founder of ARRAY

Ava Duvernay, award winning director and founder of ARRAY

The impact of personal and collective trauma, Dopeciety, Toyin Odjih Odutola, Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Kesha Bruce, Kendrick Lamar and SZA in “All the Stars”, Mindy Kaling, and A Wrinkle in Time.

To Learn More About A'Driane Visit:

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I am a textile artist who creates goods combining cultural consciousness and clean design aesthetic.

I was born and raised in Nyack NY, a small town on the hudson river 45 mins north of NYC with Victorians on the waterfront and a main street of mom-and-pop antique shops. Nyack was where my interest in design and architecture was rooted; as a little girl, I helped refurbish tiger wood oak dressers and art deco armoires with my mother, who tucked handwritten affirmations into mirror frames.

My fascination in “how people live” comes from sleepovers at some truly incredible homes my childhood friend’s mother house-sat during the summer months. Experiencing up close and personal how people I had never met approached their interiors impacted my own sense of style and desire to fill my spaces with inspirational pieces.

With my company rayo & honey, I utilize typography and draw on literature, affirming quotes, and urban pop-culture references to create handmade pennants and other home goods with positive intent, resulting in soulful pieces with a timeless aesthetic. My intent is to create art for people who believe that that there is incredible power in the things we choose to surround ourselves with.

I’m kept on my toes by the wild ride of motherhood and partnership by my 12yr old boy-girl twins and literary editor partner with whom I reside with on the banks of the New York Bay in Brooklyn.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

  This image for me represents how much Black History there is for me to still discover. I look at this prairie settler couple in the 1800’s often in my phone. There’s so much to consume in it! The crisp clothing, the way this gentleman's hat is slight cocked just so, the baby that is the future, the not so small house behind them and my favorite detail: this free black woman's hand resting on her hip.

This image for me represents how much Black History there is for me to still discover. I look at this prairie settler couple in the 1800’s often in my phone. There’s so much to consume in it! The crisp clothing, the way this gentleman's hat is slight cocked just so, the baby that is the future, the not so small house behind them and my favorite detail: this free black woman's hand resting on her hip.

Celebration of the the Black American experience is practiced in all that I do, 365 days a year.  During Black History month, our voices are amplified to a higher decibel that really should be held everyday. For me, the goodness of Black History Month is discovering and sharing new artists, writers and creatives that may not otherwise be on my radar. I believe by consciously documenting and consuming our collective narratives and individual creative pursuits, we can continue to learn from the past and be prepared for the future.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

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My great grandmother Rose
mother of Ashley gave her this sack when
she was sold at age 9 in South Carolina
it held a tattered dress 3 handfulls of
pecans a braid of Roses hair. Told her
It be filled with my Love always
she never saw her again
Ashley is my grandmother
Ruth Middleton
1921

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things that has stayed with me & impacted my work since visiting the NMAAH last year is Ashley’s sack. Embroidered by a Black women in 1921 with an account of her great grandmother’s enduring love for her grandmother during slavery is a beautiful heartbreaking testament to who we are as people.

This year I am releasing a new line of home goods. I’ve found that researching design and fabrication has introduced me to so many talented designers. Instagram is my go-to for daily bits of visual inspiration. I’m moved by the subtle details of vintage books. While my work until now has used the written word, I’ve been exploring the graphic design of books by Black presses. I’m looking forward to continuing my research in The Schomburg Library incredible archive.  

To Learn More About Roachele Visit:

Denise Mckenzie-Lee is a Portland based ceramic artist, and the creator of Enkee Ceramics.  After Denise received a gift certificate for a pottery class, she declared that life was too short to eat on uninspiring serving ware. Denise has always enjoyed being creative, and once she explored clay as a medium, her creativity was sparked, and she decided to make a set  of dishes for herself.  From this experience, she transformed this idea into a business to create one-of-a-kind hand thrown serving ware for your tabletop.  Denise is the most happy when I see beautiful food presented in an artisanal way for friends and family gatherings.

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black history month this year reminds to be proudly Black, to speak up and out loud, to be bold in my Blackness.  I think right now the marketplace is ripe for Black business owners, and being that there are so few Black ceramists in the industry, I know it’s important to get my work and story out there.

  I am constantly inspired by Ava DuVernay

 I am constantly inspired by Ava DuVernay

 When I think of Black History, I think of the beaded sista

When I think of Black History, I think of the beaded sista

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

    I find inspiration in all things rustic, rusty and dilapidated.  I pull inspiration from those weathered and worn objects, and use it as inspiration for my serving ware.  I am also inspired by producer and director (among many other things) Ava DuVernay, who works tirelessly to create new and old stories about Black History.

    To Learn More About Denise Visit:

     

     
    Posted
    AuthorAngela Belt
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    Erika Hollinshead Ward is an award winning, published interior designer whose commitment to timeless interiors, lifestyle, and wellness has positioned her to be sought after by both brands and consumers. Her strong foundation in business finance, plus over a decade of design experience as the Owner and Principal designer of Erika Ward Interiors, Erika has combined both to properly educate the consumer on the benefits, both financial and intrinsic, of a well designed home.

    As a wife and working mother of five, Erika has also demonstrated how to achieve success in both work and life. Because of her creativity and sharp business acumen she’s been the choice for national spokesperson roles and brand ambassadorships for targeted consumer campaigns.

    Based in Atlanta, GA she also has spearheaded initiatives that rally other designers and vendors together to bring great design to disadvantaged groups. She firmly believe in the charge of to whom much is given, much is required.

    What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

     Dr. King with his youngest daughter Yolanda. Reminds us that we need to engage verbally with our children and get down on their level to remain relevant and relatable.

    Dr. King with his youngest daughter Yolanda. Reminds us that we need to engage verbally with our children and get down on their level to remain relevant and relatable.

    We should all consider ourselves Black History heroes in our own right due to the fact that we are making history every day. Thanks to social media, our reach now extends much further than our own community. As a present day activist, you can put forth the same effort to influence as our predecessors yet yield exponential results. With each post, we make a conscious decision to choose how we want to be remembered.

    Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

     My Maternal Grandmother, the late Mrs. Onetha Glover Hollinshead (my greatest inspiration)

    My Maternal Grandmother, the late Mrs. Onetha Glover Hollinshead (my greatest inspiration)

    Inspiration dwells among us especially when we engage in new experiences. This year, I resolved to fully explore The Arts in an effort to see the world through various lenses. The Arts range from culinary delights to interpretive dance to the ancient art of perfumery. I can’t wait to see the impact of living life consciously through all six senses, yes six, has on my work in the field of interior design. I’m even journaling my progress.

    To Learn More About Erika Visit:

    Posted
    AuthorAngela Belt

    Riche Holmes Grant is the founder, designer, and Chief Mom behind BambiniWare, a lifestyle brand for moms that designs stylish, functional accessories for the adventures of motherhood. Inspired by her experience as a new mom, Riche founded BambiniWare in her basement while her daughter, Riley, was sleeping. When Riley woke up, she served as BambiniWare’s first fit model. Just a year after its inception, BambiniWare was hand-picked by Martha Stewart to partner with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in the highly-curated Martha Stewart American Made Market.

    Passionate about living and working on her own terms, Riche also blogs, speaks and hosts a web series geared toward women and moms who want to live fulfilling, happy, perfectly-imperfect lives. #TheRicheLife show is a mash-up of everything Riche does in her roles as a mom, wife, entrepreneur, designer, maker, home chef, blogger and all the beautiful parts of her life that make her super rich (pun totally intended!).

    Riche is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Brown University. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and her daughter (now a 5-year-old #miniboss).

     

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    What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

    When my daughter started attending her school two years ago on February 1st, I was shocked to learn that they don’t celebrate Black History Month. It’s an Afrocentric homeschool collective, and I thought that surely Black History Month would be a huge deal. Except it wasn’t. Instead, every day is a like a mini-Black History Month there.

    Students as young as two years old learn about the rich history across the African Diaspora as a part of their daily lessons. It’s really amazing and beautiful and inspiring when you see Black history taught as a way of life, instead of crammed into 28 days out of the year.

    So, this year, that’s what Black History Month means to me––it’s about sharing our experience and encouraging other families to think outside of the month too. And, the best part is that it’s my daughter (now 5 years old), not me, who is leading the charge.

     

    Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

    As a self-taught designer, the learning curve was steep for me, but I wouldn’t go back and erase any of the challenges that I faced in the beginning. Now, five years later, I’m totally in my element. I love being in this creative space, not only when it comes to designing products, but with what I’m doing with #TheRicheLife show as well.

    For so long, I thought everything had to fit in its own little neat box when it came to my life, my career and my family. It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I realized that living my richest life meant getting rid of the boxes. Everything in my life is so beautifully connected now and I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been.

    It’s through this lens of organic connectivity that I draw from all of the different facets of my career and my everyday life as a wife and mom to produce content for the show. From designing a fabulous tablescape, to creating a vision board, to making family-friendly body butter or whipping up an easy meal that tastes great, it’s all there at #TheRicheLife. It’s the most I’ve ever revealed of myself, and that’s a little scary, but at the same time, it’s very liberating to be inspired from within.

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    To Learn More About Riche Visit:

     

    I'm an interior designer living & loving in Raleigh, NC. I'm passionate about living a well-designed life and serving others along the way.

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    I believe every space needs a little bit of vintage + a splash of brass. I'm a southern girl to the core, who loves playing dress up, and that feeling you get in your stomach right as an airplane takes off.

    My blog SingleBubblePop began in the fall of 2007 as a way to catalog my journey from pre-med student to interior design professional. Since then, readers have watched me graduate from design school (7 years later!) and work in residential + commercial interior design. I even made my way onto HGTV. I believe that the spaces we live, work & play in have a great impact on our well-being. 

    What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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    I'm thinking about all the historic first for black Women this year! Kamala Harris in California, Keisha Bottoms as Atlanta's mayor and Vi Lyles in Charlotte. Black women are resisting in a major way. I think we will look back on this era as a historic moment in our story.

    I grew up in North Carolina where there is an annual festival in Wilmington called the Azalea Festival. One year, I was blessed to be able to attend with a local group of the historic Tuskegee Airmen. I believe I was 14 years old in this photo that my dad took of my sister and me with the Miss North Carolina of that year. As a young girl, you would think that we would be idolizing this beautiful pageant queen, but we were so enamored with this senior men! The stories that they told us about being fighter pilots, and then their subsequent careers as doctors, dentists and entrepreneurs were so fascinating. They truly made me believe that I could make black history just like they did.

     Nina Simone. What can I say? As a little black girl pianist also from North Carolina, Nina represented everything I aspire to be. Limitlessly talented on the piano and an amazing singer/songwriter. Courageous, fearless and style icon. She's everything to me!   

    Nina Simone. What can I say? As a little black girl pianist also from North Carolina, Nina represented everything I aspire to be. Limitlessly talented on the piano and an amazing singer/songwriter. Courageous, fearless and style icon. She's everything to me!

     

    Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Design This Year?

    I'm finding a lot of inspiration from visual artists. Some of my favorites right now are  Malene B, Rachel Stewart, Victor Ekpuk & Allison F. The way they blend colors and create patterns inspires me so much!

     

    To Learn More About Niki Visit:

    • Website: www.singlebubblepop.com
    • Instagram: nikimcneill
    • Twitter: nikimcneill
    • Facebook: SingleBubblePop