Father’s Day is literally right around the corner, and if you’re like me you’ve been secretly trying to figure out the perfect Father’s Day gift this year. Since my daughter is pretty young and not the best at keeping secrets yet, it’s up to me to do some investigating on finding the perfect gift for my husband this year.  


I know he loves electronics, but let’s face it these days, who doesn’t want something with wifi and bluetooth capabilities?  Well I decided to reach out to Home Depot for some help this year, and rounded up 5 tech-friendly gifts that Dad is going to love, and you’re gonna want to use all the time because they make major home improvements to your house, too.

Kitchen- Samsung Smart Refrigerator in Stainless Steel  

A pretty annoying and common question that happens in my house around dinner time is, “What’s in the refrigerator Dad, and what are we going to eat?” I feel like my husband has to go foraging through the refrigerator to find all of the ingredients for the night.  There are a lot of discussions around when are we going to upgrade this fridge. Well ta-da, here is the dream fridge. The Samsung Smart Refrigerator is much more than a big metal box to hold food.  Forget about the magnets and the chalk boards to write down the entire family to-do list, this refrigerator has you covered on all fronts.  Where do I even begin to talk about all of the bells & whistles. There are three cameras that let you see what’s inside the fridge without ever having to open the door. Your smart screen can pull up recipes to help assist with the ingredients in your fridge. It can connect to your family calendar, and it responds to your voice so there is no need to type in the grocery list, just tell it what you need. This is the type of Father’s Day gift that the whole family can enjoy. But if Dad is questioning whether or not this gift is really for him, remind him the screen can also be used as a TV and he can watch whatever he wants.

Patio-Traeger Grill & Smoker

It’s less than two weeks until summer, and now is the perfect time to grill.  But grilling is so much more than just plopping some meat on the hot racks. We all have a family member (usually Dad that we trust with this responsibility) to make sure we eat well cooked, juicy meat.  Dad is normally hovering over the grill the entire BBQ to make sure the burgers are flipped at just the right time, and checking that the roasted vegetables are browning just right. To be honest, Dad misses most of the fun because he’s manning the grill, until now.  

In comes the Traeger Pro 575 Wifi Pellet Grill and Smoker.  This is so much more than just a grill. I mean where do I even begin to talk about all of the bling that this grill comes with.  First of all, the grill has smart WiFIRE technology, which means you can set the temperature from anywhere. That’s right, no more feeling for the right temperature with your finger tips, you can digitally tap in your desired temperature or if you are on your way home, you can have the grill fire up remotely from your phone with the Traeger app (I know, what?!?) This grill burns on real wood pellets, so your food gets that nice smokey flavor, and it cooks faster than a traditional grill.  Lastly, if you feel like you are out of ideas of what to cook on the grill, no worries. The Traeger app has you covered with loads of recipes to try out on your new grill.

Bathroom- Home Netwerks Stereo Speakers Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Have you ever thought if it was up to your Dad there would be a speaker in every room?  Well, here’s to getting Dad a little closer to his dream with the Home Netwerks Stereo Speakers Bathroom Exhaust Fan.  Yes, every bathroom needs an exhaust fan to keep air moving so we’re not stuck with the funk of wet smelly towels. But what if your exhaust fan could do so much more, like have a bluetooth speaker to pump out your favorite songs while you are in the shower, and also give you more overhead lighting with an LED light? I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of bringing my phone into the bathroom to play tunes because of all of the moisture, and speakers sound terrible in the background to the sound of a shower. But no more worries with this baby, you can play your tunes or even meditate or listen to the latest TED talk with this smart exhaust fan. Get your day started off right!

Living Room-iRobot Wi Fi Connected Robot Vacuum

Nobody likes to vacuum. This is definitely a job that all of us would gladly give over to a robot. So if your Dad is the clean freak in your house, constantly trying to vacuum up all of the kids’ mess (yeah and your mess too), then help him out with this iRobot wifi connected robot vacuum.  Dad is going to absolutely love this gift. Vacuuming can finally become stress free. All he’ll need to do is set-up the app, tell the robot which rooms to vacuum and its off.  If you’re feeling a little stunned by the sticker price, don’t--this vacuum is worth every dime. Think of it as an investment to end all of those arguments about who’s turn it is to vacuum the living room today and for years to come. This vacuum moves gracefully from carpets to hardwood floors with no problems. Not only that, this robot is so independent it can dump its own dirt. I mean talk about a smart household cleaner, this is a big time saver for Dad, who can now sit back, relax and just enjoy the day.

Front Porch-Ring Doorbell

More and more packages are being delivered to our homes, and a peephole and doorbell just aren’t doing it, mostly because we’re never home.  If your dad is tired of sending packages to his job or a back door because he’s worried about something getting swiped, well no need to worry anymore with the Ring doorbell. This is so much more than just a doorbell with built in video surveillance.  It comes with an app so you can be connected at all times to your home.  Some of the great highlights of this device is the two-way voice conversations you can have between you and a visitor, and everything can be monitored and saved if your neighbor says one thing, but you video records another. It’s great for peace of mind while you are out, and Dad will have a lot of fun making sure that your home remains safe.  

Okay so if you have a techie Dad in your house like I do, then head over to Home Depot to pick up one of these goodies. Also don’t forget these types of Father’s Day gifts actually add quality of life to your home, and make the day-to-day chores practically disappear so Dad has a lot more time to do the things that he actually wants to do.


Do you remember what it was like when you went on road trips with your parents as a kid?  There were no tablets, you complained a lot about are you there yet, and then eventually you started making up some pretty weird games in the car with your siblings and a couple of pennies and dimes (well this was definitely my experience).

These days, whenever we take a road trip or are headed to the airport its become a no brainer to grab the tablets, the nintendo switches, and press play on TV screens so you can travel in peace and quiet. But as we learn more about how much screen time is actually good for our little ones, you quickly realize that on a road trip your kids are binging on tech.  Plus, the weirdest thing happens when you try to take those devices away from kids. They turn into little monsters who have major temper tantrums and their attitudes get real turned up.  SO to avoid all of that nonsense, I have partnered with five awesome companies to do a giveaway of some great alternatives to devices that you can play with your children on your next vacation.  

Quote by Anne England, Co-founder of Favor

Quote by Anne England, Co-founder of Favor


I know you’re thinking well of course we pack toys, but it's almost way too many and a few of them inevitably get lost on each trip. What if you could have a toy like this wooden hand held game, where all of the buttons actually work?!  The goal of the game is to get all of the hoops through the spikes in the middle. There are so many reasons to love this toy. First, it’s a great way to wean kids off their tablets, and it's probably the toy they’ll grab for first thinking it is a tablet (haha, you tricked them good this time).  Secondly, the retro vibes of this design and the compact size of this piece makes it easy to bring along on a trip. And if you’re like me and you are tired of toys being made of plastic and who knows what else, this toy was designed in Japan with beech wood and non-toxic paints by the company kiko.  

Quote by Quarto Kids

Quote by Quarto Kids

Activity Books

Traveling with an activity book is a lifesaver. In my experience, the right book with a new game on each page can distract my child for hours, or at least until snack time.  So the next time your planning to pick up an activity for your next trip, check out Quarto Kids. On the Plane activity book is just right for the next time you go jet setting.  This activity book works for a wide spectrum of age groups, and has pretty durable pages so bring on the markers. It’s so much more than just puzzles and connect the dot activities; your kids also learn fun facts about how airplanes operate, there is a diary to chronicle their adventures, and design their own passport.  

Quote by Matthew Goins, Found of Puzzle Huddle

Quote by Matthew Goins, Found of Puzzle Huddle


When you are on a long flight, an activity for both the kids and you is always a good puzzle.  Pull down the tray (permitting you have enough space if the guy in front of you hasn’t gone into a full recline), and begin to strategize together to solve it.  I’m a big fan of Puzzle Huddle because their puzzles come in a range of sizes. You can get a small size 14 piece one that’s easy for on the go trips all the way up to XL sizes.  More importantly, at Puzzle Huddle their puzzles focus on images of people of color (which is a huge opportunity in the commercial puzzle market today). It is exposure to imagery and play that we can all benefit from on a trip.

Quote by Kerry Stokes, Found of Calhoun & Co.

Quote by Kerry Stokes, Found of Calhoun & Co.

Playing cards

There is always time to play cards when you’re traveling, especially at the airport when you’re waiting to board with kids.  You will absolutely fall in love with these Always Play Nice (please) playing cards by Calhoun & Co.  The cards’ modern illustrations are a much needed update to the old-school deck of cards we played with as kids (Remember the stoic king and queen, why can’t they smile and enjoy life a little!?!)  Also, the joker cards have been replaced by dogs. Plus, there is a cool tropical design on each card that really cements the idea that you are on vacation, and it's time to just sit back and relax. With one good deck of cards you can play an endless amount of card games like spades or go fish and begin to teach them some serious strategy moves. Or in my experience, they can teach you the game of how to pick up 52 cards in a short amount of time over and over again.  

Quote by Ashley Aikele, Co-Founder Bravery Magazine

Quote by Ashley Aikele, Co-Founder Bravery Magazine


I know that whenever I go on a trip, I make sure to pack all of my interior design goodie magazines like Elle Decor & HGTV magazine. But I rarely have a magazine for my daughter, that is until now.  The Bravery magazine focuses on strong female role models that are great for any kid to read and play with on a trip. This magazine is so much more than just reading stories about heroines of the past and present, there are also fun DIYs and activities to do that go along with the theme of each issue.  This is a carry-on that you can make room for on every trip.

Traveling is a time to be unscripted, the daily routine of school is done, so it’s time to spend some quality time together.  So if you liked what you saw, and you want to take all of these items home before your summer vacation, well then sign up for the giveaway which ends Monday, May 27th at midnight.  To be considered for the giveaway you must follow all of the above websites on Instagram, and tag a place that you want to travel to this summer.

AuthorAngela Belt

As a DC Native and Howard University grad, how long have you been contemplating about writing these stories? How did these characters manifest for you? 

photography by James Britt

photography by James Britt

I've been a storyteller since I was a kid, but writing about DC in particular actually wasn't something I did until I had left DC and left the east coast. Some writers say you can't write about a place until you've left it and that was definitely true for me. I see with some of my writing students in New Mexico that they're convinced that the place they're from isn't that interesting and that some other place, often a place they've never been to, must be a better setting for their work. I think you have to fall in love with your own origin story, where you're from, the experiences you've had, the perspective you bring, to see its value. And then be able to access those feelings in order for your reader to feel those emotions too. I loved growing up in DC and going to Howard so I wanted to see if I could bring that love to this book. Once I did, I also found these characters. Some who are easier to love than others, I suppose, but I love them all. And they all came to me in different ways. I heard a TSA agent say she'd never flown and the voice of the character in All the Things You'll Never Do just started talking to me. Hers was the first story I wrote in the collection. I got an image of a little black girl in a bathing suit wanting to go to the beach and another story started to come. Each of them unfolded for me, sometimes fully formed with their story and sometimes it was six drafts in before I figured out not just who the character was but what situation they were in.


What have been some the surprising encounters and/or experiences that have happened since this book came out?

It has been amazing just having one on one conversations with people about the book. I've heard in person and on social media from black women who felt really seen when they read the collection and that just is so gratifying to hear. That is very much what I wanted the book to feel like to people. Just as it's a love letter to DC, it is absolutely also a love letter to black girls and women, my family, my friends, the black woman I see on the street who I don't even know but whose hair and outfit I love. I wanted for this to be us on these pages. Probably one of my best events, in the first couple of weeks of the book coming out, was reading at a high school in Southeast in DC. It was like 20 black girls and one black boy and they were excited to see DC represented in the book. They asked great questions about why I wrote what I wrote and picked up on themes and ideas that even some of my adult readers hadn't. I didn't cry but I definitely fought back tears to see black girls connect with the book like that.  

So much talk can get wrapped around the plight of Black people, and the solutions that we need to fix them. But where do you find the silver lining, where do you go to get your Black Girl Magic?  

Basically any conversation with my mother, sister, or cousin gives me that! They are three of my biggest cheerleaders and also my truthtellers. Same for my girlfriends and my aunts and cousins. I really feel so surrounded by and lifted up by incredible black women. Oh and also, the Instagram feeds of Tracee Ellis Ross and Cree Summer. And any episode of Insecure. Those give me all kinds of Black Girl Magic too.

To Learn More About Camille Visit:

Website: camileacker.com

Instagram: @cam_acker

Twitter: @cam_acker

LinkedIn: Camile Acker

Nationally acclaimed interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins mixes vibrant colors with layered patterns to create architecturally inspired spaces that are, at once, elegant, inventive and timeless. Taking cues from runway fashion, his residences feature luxurious and refined materials including intricate wallcoverings, sculptural lighting and stately furnishings. Jenkins’ goal “is to ensure that my clients’ homes are always classic, chic and without an expiration date,” states the designer. Jenkins’ has designed client projects throughout the United States in Michigan, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas and Nevada, and internationally in Toronto, Canada.

Corey Headshot Sept 2018.jpg

Most recently Jenkins was honored with Traditional Home’s “New Trad” Rising Star of Design Award, as well as an extensive cover feature highlighting a recent commission. His work has also garnered attention from numerous publications including Architectural Digest, The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, Veranda, Domino, and HGTV. His brand expanded into product design with the 2016 launch of Corey Damen Jenkins Exclusively for Leathercraft, a line of elegant home furnishings. In 2018, Corey debuted a new lighting collection with Hudson Valley Lighting—the first designer collaboration in the brand’s history. He was also tapped to design the national ad campaign (Vanity Fair, Elle Décor) for DXV, American Standard’s luxury kitchen and bath line.

Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates expanded its imprint in 2018 with the opening of a second office in New York City’s Flatiron District. However, Jenkins remains dedicated to the resurgence of his hometown Detroit, and the original Birmingham, Michigan studio will continue to serve as the firm’s flagship location.

Jenkins strongly believes in giving back to the design community. His firm generously supports a number of charities including Housing Works: Design On A Dime, Variety For The Children, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and DIFFA: Dining By Design in New York City.


What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black History is such an evolving narrative because we are still making history in the present, and will continue to break through barriers in the future. What warms my heart is seeing millions of people from every race and walk of life coalescing together to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in February. Think about it: my ancestors were brought to the States against their will. But their descendants—including yours truly—have chosen to remain here to contribute to the social, financial and cultural wealth of the United States. And you can see our contributions woven throughout everything from music and fashion to technology and design. So I’m thrilled we are acknowledging that and celebrating it.


Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I recently bought a place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A big part of that decision was fueled by the visual inspiration I always receive every time I visit there. The cobblestone streets, old world towns, strong cultural touches, and, of course, the hospitable people and delicious food really appeal to me. In fact, the prevalence of terra cotta, sky blue, gold and other rich earth tones in Puerto Vallarta strongly influenced the color palette I’m currently designing for a client’s master en suite!

To Learn More About Corey Visit:

Website: coreydamenjenkins.com

Instagram: @coreydamenjenkins


Jumoke Dada is best described as a technologist and social entrepreneur whose sweet spot lies at the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, goodwill, and girl power!

Dada holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Sciences and real estate certification from Temple University. She is also a certified Scrum Master. Her technical experience includes corporate work as an application developer, business/ systems analyst, quality assurance tester and technical project manager. As the principal of Signature RED, she provides technology and strategy consulting services to companies and creates tools and resources for women interested in careers in technology. In 2017, she created the Tech Women Network - an online platform and community for women with technical skills.

Dada is also a public speaker with a growing passion to empower women and girls especially those with interests in STEM fields or social good. Over the years she has hosted several educational events and workshops including Building iOS Mobile Apps, Rails Girls, Techies Who Brunch, and HUE Tech Summit. In the summer, she gives back through her nonprofit Signature Red Cares whose main program, Project ALOE, provides care packages and advice to college-bound girls.

Dada has been recognized in several media outlets including the MIC, MORE, Philadelphia Inquirer, Black Enterprise, EBONY, MORE, CBS 3, Radio One, Clear Channel radio, and more for her innovative ideas, leadership skills, and community involvement. Additionally, she is a contributing writer for ForbesWomen where she covers diversity in tech.

Photo from  Hindustantimes

Photo from Hindustantimes

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This year it’s all about celebrating Black culture, and getting recognition for all of the contributions Black people have given to this country. It’s also a time to pay respect for those that have come before me, and focus on what are we doing now to move forward. This year, I am also hosting our second tech summit in Philadelphia on May 3rd, and our mantra is, No More Hidden Figures.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I’m finding inspiration from Africa. As a Nigerian American, I continue to be inspired by the people that I meet in Africa that have few resources, but with ingenuity and hustle can create so much innovation. I think about this a lot. I reflect on how I have access to so much as a Nigerian American, and it reminds me there are no boundaries or barriers too large that I cannot overcome. I’m also looking forward to an event in Nigeria focused on Africa and women in tech. I will be one of the speakers, and I’m excited to go back home and help inspire other women in the technology industry.

To Learn More About Jumoke Visit:

Website: dadaverse.org

Website: huetechsummit.com

Instagram: @huetechsummit

Instagram: @jumokedada


Culturefit clothing was established in 2018 by a collective of West African women. These women saw a need in the activewear industry to create workout gear with Black and brown women in-mind. The creators wanted to take traditional African textiles from countries like Ghana and Nigeria, and then re-image them in bright, feminine colors that felt more modern. This activewear was made to be both functional and for all body types. The founders of CultureFit are of West African descent, and their team members are from all over the world, working together to live #theculturefitway.


What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This year we want to focus on educating the world about Black influence, and how we can create mainstream brands that tell a cultural story. We want to incorporate our culture in our products in a way that is inclusive, and has a global feel. We want to make sure we’re telling our West African story through Culturefit, and showing everyone our global approach to design.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Right now we’re focusing on the African diaspora, and looking at how we can show through our brand that we are all connected. When we initially started with the design concept for Culturefit clothing, we began with traditional prints that we know resonate with people and are recognizable. We focused on Ankara and Kente cloth patterns, and then worked together to decide how could we make these patterns have a modern feel. For instance, Ankara fabrics from Nigeria are typically bold and colorful prints; so we decided to play with the color palette by using grey and purple to give it a more modern vibe. We also focused on Kente cloth (another popular African textile) from Ghana that is traditionally shown in gold, red, and black colorways. We decided to add pink into this pattern for a more feminine touch.

Lastly, we are really inspired by women, specifically curvy women, who want to feel sexy in their athletic gear. We have really focused on creating activewear that you want to wear after the workout, we created tops with breathable fabrics, and shapes that flatter a curvy body type. Moving forward we are looking to continue our growth in the activewear market, and also offer larger sizes in the future.

To Learn More About Culturefit Clothing Visit:

Website: culturefitclothing.com

Instagram: @culturefitclothing


Breegan Jane is an LA Mom and lifestyle blogger. An experienced and accomplished interior designer, Breegan’s resume boasts enterprises that span the gamut, from custom designing personal creative music studios to managing international real estate projects with full staff. Her design savvy is well sought after by clients in almost every industry, including a double platinum-selling recording artist, for whom she designed an elaborate home complete with a tailored wardrobe room.

Breegan honed her design skills working as creative director and marketing professional for a luxury yacht manufacturer. She staged yachts in-house and traveled internationally for consultations with her Dubai clientele. Those unique experiences set the stage for more exceptional design opportunities.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

As an American woman, February is about celebrating our history with everyone. In the US, we celebrate so many different cultures and celebrations like bar mitzvahs and quinceañeras, so this month is a time to share our culture. I think it’s so important to remember that Black history is about celebrating American history. It’s a time for all of us to embrace Black culture, and recognize all of the contributions we have made to this country.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Last year I went on a humanitarian trip to Kenya to combat the illegal FGM practices that are still happening in the country today. This trip was literally a life changing experience , and it inspired me to work with the women in the Kenyan community to curate a line of jewelry called the Kenya collection. I was drawn to the pigments and color tones in the Kenyan jewelry but more importantly, I wanted to work with the community to end FGM. All proceeds of the sales go directly to World Vision’s Child Protection Through Education in Kenya Campaign.

To Learn More About Breegan Visit:


Mo Glover is a veteran NYC based fashion designer experienced in working on department store and emerging women's wear brands. Becoming a parent to her son Zyem lead her to create her own brand, ZYEM NYC. She began honing her creative skills studying art at LaGuardia High School of Music & Performing Arts and Pratt Institute, earning a BFA in Fashion. Her unique point of view emerged from memories of growing up in Brooklyn, traveling to Europe, Hong Kong and India. Her style aesthetic includes influences of street-style culture old and new. Young models and style influencers wearing her brand are mentioned on RollingOut.com and Essence Magazine Street Style Block Party blogs. She has contributed costume design for Toddlewood's homages to the Met Gala, September 2018 diverse fashion magazine covers and Black Panther movie poster. She was inspired to create and present a Wakanda-inspired kidswear collection at Fashion Week Brooklyn in April 2018.

Glover has made it her personal mission to promote positivity in African-American culture and to inspire others of all ages to express their bold and artistic style. 

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Image from The Schomburg center for research in Black culture

Image from The Schomburg center for research in Black culture

Black culture is currently at the beginning stages of a new renaissance of some sort. Art is a reflection of society, and it is a significant time to be alive. We are part of a generation to have experienced the first Black president of the United States and at the same time living in a society overcome with the patriarchy and privilege our ancestors fought against. Our history did not start after the slave trade and more people of African descent are digging deeper to uncover traditions by visiting Africa. I look forward to my first visit to the Motherland. February is the official month to bring more awareness of a continued celebration of ourselves, our roots, and those that have contributed to breaking down barriers that we now can pass with ease. I'm proud and grateful to be a part of a culture that is rich with innovation, beauty and style. 

Clothing designs by Mo Glover

Clothing designs by Mo Glover

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

My inspiration this year is a combination of past movements that are reoccurring. The desire to help make the world become a better place with unapologetic strength, unity, love and beauty, even in adversity.  Environmental sustainability is becoming a must, and I am researching ways to incorporate eco-friendly materials in my designs. 

To Learn More About Mo Visit:

AuthorAngela Belt

Nicole Gibbons, is an interior designer and entrepreneur whose expert opinion has been sought by top media outlets like HGTV, OWN - The Oprah Winfrey Network, Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens and more.

Nicole’s recent endeavor has been to create Clare, a paint company that make paint shopping fun again and targets millennials. Her work in the design industry allowed Nicole to identify that the paint shopping experience was in desperate need of a makeover, and she seized on the opportunity to improve the process from start to finish. Clare paint focuses on making paint shopping easier and inspirational by curating 55 paint colors, and using cutting edge technology and algorithms to find the color that’s just right for you.

The Obama Family  https://www.businessinsider.com/barack-obama-michelle-obama-net-worth-2018-7

The Obama Family


What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

These are such tumultuous times, so for me this year I am all about reflection. I’ve been thinking a lot about how far we’ve come, but yet how far we still have to go. It’s about finding my place in the world and working to find common ground with others who have different values and belief systems than I do. I’m also looking back on past leaders like the Obamas. To me they represent the best of Black excellence and have made history and crushed all the ceilings that exist. It doesn’t get any better in terms of Black love, Black excellence and just #goals.

Christina Lane styles new Clare Paint collection

Christina Lane styles new Clare Paint collection

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I’m always inspired by color. I love using color in fresh ways, and look to a beautifully curated color palette as a strong foundation for any space I’m designing when I begin a project. I gravitate towards color through interiors, travel, and those unique moments that crop up during everyday life.

To Learn More About Nicole Visit:

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Bukola Adeyemi is a Lagos Based Interior Designer and founder of The Yellow Interior Design Company. She runs an Interior Design practice from her studio in Lagos, Nigeria.  She ventured into Design as a hobby in 2012, when she started Hello Yellow Blog- a visual blog as a way to communicate her ideas through various mediums; writing, story boards, mood boards, sketches, doodles.

Although she is a professionally trained interior Architect/Designer with a background in Real Estate; Bukola likes to believe she’s a perpetual creative enthusiast with a passion. Blessed with some unique skill sets developed over the years, she loves to approach design in the simplest most intuitive form possible, and is ever so excited to share and spread a dose of positive energy to her audience. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 8.41.47 PM.png

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black history month 2019 to me means pushing boundaries and moving forward as a people. Exploring our history, channelling our identity, and creating a new narrative of what it means to be Black. Challenge Status Quo, and be the change you want to see. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 8.42.08 PM.png

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Culture! Now, forever and always. This year, I’m very open to discovering deeper dimensions of my identity, unravelling unique frontiers and expanding my thought process through cultural narratives. Most of my designs and mood boards are strongly connected to either my culture or other African intangible Folklore and practices. Exploring the memories of places and spaces in other to create new forms of expressions is my way of connecting with culture and identity. There is no better time and place to discover myself as a designer and journey through the unknown than from the design hub of the future, Africa. 

To Learn More About Bukola Visit:

Website: sunflowerbybukola.com

Instagram: @helloyellowblog


TaLaya and her husband Kerrick inherited their home from his grandparents, which have been in his family for over sixty years. Over the past two years, the couple has been renovating their bungalow (or as they refer to it on Instagram #ourbrickhouse), and viewers have been able to come along for the ride through their social media posts. Through Ourbrickhousestyle, we have been able to watch video feeds and photos of the good, the bad, and the ugly process that goes into renovating a house. TaLaya is an interior design enthusiast, and her social media feed is jam packed with color, African textiles and patterns, plus Boho-chic inspiration. When you see the before and after pictures of their home renovation projects, you cannot help but be floored by the amazing transformations. Their bungalow has been featured in Apartment Therapy and Charlotte Home + Garden.

TaLaya is also the owner of a creative nail studio, Artisan Nail Studio, in Charlotte, NC. She has been a nail artist for sixteen years. She is well known for her detailed nail artistry, and is the proud owner of one of the few Black-owned nail salons in Charlotte.


What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black history month means celebrating my culture and taking intentional time to acknowledge the sacrifices and triumphs of those that came before me. Our history is rich and it’s important and it deserves to be told. I celebrate Black culture and Black people 365, but I still recognize the significance of this month so I treat it with the respect it deserves!

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?


I find inspiration in everything! Travel, community, different cultures. I think my biggest source of inspiration at the moment comes from some of my favorite social media accounts. There are so many talented and creative Black interior designers and decorators. I’m so glad that a platform like Instagram has allowed me to connect with people from all over the world, so that we can share our passions and our homes and our culture! 

To Learn More About TaLaya Visit:

Website: artisannailstudio.com

Instagram: @ourbrickhousestyle


Born in the US to Ghanaian parents, Jamela spent the majority of her life overseas in the Middle East. It is this international experience that Jamela cites as the reason she is so passionate about diversity and inclusion. Jamela founded Kahmune, a luxury women's footwear line designed in 10 skin tone hues in order to provide all women with a true nude option, after growing frustrated with the lack of options for her dark complexion. She has since set out to ensure that it is an issue women of colour no longer have to face when searching for true skin-toned footwear. With a background in Accounting and having recently obtained a Masters Degree in Finance in 2016, Jamela is a great example of how passion can trump experience. A self-proclaimed fashion lover, she has no formal background in shoe design, but claims it is the desire to fill a much needed gap in the market as her driving force. She hopes that Kahmune will help drive some much needed change in the fashion industry. 

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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This year it has been all about Black HERstory. This is the first year, i’ve been conscious of how i’m spending my dollars and the impact they have on our community. As one of the few Black-owned luxury brands, particularly offering footwear, the recent outrage with the products released by brands such as Gucci and Prada has made me really start to think about the importance of investing in brands that not only care about diversity; but are proud to have a diverse clientele. It’s shocking to think about how much Black consumers spend in the fashion industry yet how little attention is paid to our needs and concerns. Black history month to me this year is about making a commitment to support other Black owned female brands not only this month but for years to come!

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?


I’m in the middle of redoing some of my branding, so inspiration is everything to me at the moment. When I first started the brand and didn’t have product, I found it nearly impossible to find other images on the internet that would give my growing fan base an idea of what I wanted to do. What I’ve realized throughout this whole process is that I have the opportunity to create something really amazing. Through my brand, I have the opportunity to create images and other projects our community has never been exposed to in the fashion world. I try not to look to much at other brands as it distracts me from my vision, but I do love simple, classic, chic, and even monochromatic moments. Of course, i’m a HUGE fan of images that include a variety of skin tone, since that’s at the root of my brand! 

To Learn More About Jamela Visit:


British born, London-based Samantha Ellington is an interiors specialist. “I started out by helping family and friends find the perfect table lamp or armchair, which then grew into creating schemes for their homes and businesses as a favour. Until it finally occurred to me,"Maybe I can make a career out of doing something that I love?”

This year, alongside her freelance work as a lifestyle content creator, she’s launching an interiors-based personal shopping and styling service.


What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This image of West Indian migrants arriving in England more than 70 years ago is representative of what Black History Month means to me. Like those in the picture, my parents left their family, friends, and all that was familiar to seek what they hoped would be a better life in a strange, cold, and often times unwelcoming country. With all their belongings packed inside just one suitcase, I can’t even begin to imagine how brave they were to take that first step off the boat and into the unknown.

In the UK, the number of Black women and men working in the interior design industry is incredibly small, and as I begin my new career in this field, I also feel as though I am moving in uncharted territory. Any change in a career will be meant with obstacles, especially in an industry that’s not inclusive or diverse. But in the spirit of those traveling pioneers who came before me, I’m stepping out with hope.

1976 Paris living room of designer Henri Samuel

1976 Paris living room of designer Henri Samuel

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Just as I find inspiration in the past for Black History month, I also look to find inspiration by revisiting periods of design throughout the ages. For the year ahead I’m calling on the 1970’s, which some say is the decade that taste forgot; but I think that couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe I’m biased because It was also the era in which I was born! The era’s exuberant mix of plush fabrics and leather, lucite and luxe metallic finishes, bold colour combinations and geometric patterns together with sculptural forms in furniture design; provides a palette from which to create interiors that can range from an understated expression of modernity to a riotous declaration of decadence.

To Learn More About Samantha Visit:

Website: thisisthelife.com

Instagram: @Thisisthelife_x

Photo credit Cameron Budlove Photography

Photo credit Cameron Budlove Photography

I am an abstract and collage artist, wife and mother from Greenville, South Carolina.  I am also a lawyer--- I have been creating since I was a child but started painting in earnest when I took some time off between lawyering jobs and have not put down the brush ever since.  My work is inspired by my children and my faith as well as organic shapes, the sky and bright colors. I tend to paint my feelings and gravitate toward bold colors. I build my art around those colors and joyful feelings. My work has many textures, depth, and layers—-I work frequently with collage and mixed media to add textural elements.  I use a medley of tools—acrylics, oil pastels,  graphite, paper and remnants of art projects.  You will often find me painting with my fingers.

I want collectors to want to dive into the painting, to touch and feel it, and explore the work with all of their senses.   I believe everyone should have the opportunity to love and appreciate art, and I know I have a role to play in that.  I have been featured in Design Sponge as an abstract artist to follow, and you can find my work in galleries and other retail locations across the country. 

I am very much a southern girl. Sweet tea and pimento cheese make me happy.

Photo credit Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

Photo credit Kimberly Michelle Gibson Photography

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

To me, this year it means awareness. Being tuned all the way into the past, present, and future in a healthy way to stay cognizant of the intersections and interactions. It’s easy to be overcome and overwhelmed by progress and promise, but the time of historical reflection that Black History Month ushers in is incredibly important. You can’t see patterns repeating themselves in history itself if you aren’t aware of the “yesterdays.” You can’t really tell your whole story and dream of the future if you don’t take the time to reflect on personal, familial and cultural episodic past.  You can’t inform a younger generation about personal pride and self-awareness unless you are keeping the whole picture in view—sharing stories of the past, making memories in the present, drafting plans for the future. 

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Photo credit Ben Hines/ Facebook

Photo credit Ben Hines/ Facebook

I am finding inspiration in colors, patterns, and interior design.  I love the idea of dark walls and a pop of color statement piece.  I think bold colors—reds, greens, corals, jewel tones, are in right now. This year I want to work larger and embrace color and work on more design projects.

I also always find inspiration from my children.  I find that adopting a youthful and fearless approach to art unlocks my creativity in a new and fresh way.  Children are never afraid of messing up.  They just pick a color and go for it.  There’s a lot to be said about doing what feels right and pushing past fear in that way.

To Learn More About Allison Visit:

Website: helloallisonart.com

Instagram: @helloallisonart

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Lanecia Rouse Tinsley is an abstract artist based in Houston, TX. Her portfolio includes a range of work in photography, painting, teaching, writing, and speaking. She is the owner and creator of LAR Art Studio. Lanecia creates out of a desire to make the invisible landscapes within and the human condition known; using texture and form + color to speak to life upon various surfaces in ways words cannot. Fascinated by history + story, her work also explores the "negative spaces" in life. Those times of ambiguity + uncertainty, silence + mystery through subtle textures, color, markings + layers to create a history within each piece. 

In addition to her work through LAR Art Studio, Lanecia contracts work with local + national organizations to do commission works, host art making experiences, consulting + more. She works with projectCURATE as Co-Spiritual Director and Consultant for the Arts; and is Co-founder/Co-Creative Director of ImagiNoir Group, an international alliance and think-tank of Black activists, artists, writers, scholars and educators.

Lanecia is a graduate of Duke University Divinity School (MDiv) and a graduate of Wofford College (BA in Sociology).

Photo of Lanecia studying the work of Sam Gilliam

Photo of Lanecia studying the work of Sam Gilliam

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This year it offers me the opportunity to work and think deeply about the meaning of Black life, and its significant contributions to this world and country in new ways. As an artist, I'm coming to realize more and more the contingent nature of portraying Black life; about how it needs to be shared and nuance ever so slightly as we reflect on what it means to be Black and modern. I will continue this year to push for how this is sometimes ambiguous and complex through my abstract works. 


Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

In 2019, I will continue to find inspiration from the world around me as I move around Houston; as well as, when I travel. I'm drawn to the organic textures + colors I encounter in the world around me that point to the passage of time in a place. 

I will also continue in my studies of Black American abstract artists like Alma Thomas, Ed Clark, Jack Whitten, Sam Gilliam, and others who continue to help me find a home + voice within abstraction.  I'm reading the poetic works of Alice Walker this year, Notes from the Woodshed by Jack Whitten and the Collected Essays of James Baldwin. 

To Learn More About Lanecia Visit:

Website: larartphotography.com

Instagram: @larartstudio


Ebony Staten is a chic geek (full time IT Systems Analyst by day), and an interior stylist & founder of The Vogue Room by night. The Vogue Room, which started in 2016 is an interior styling boutique providing high fashion living in Charlotte, North Carolina. The mission is to help you design a home that’s a direct reflection of your personal style, with a combination of high style, high fashion, and high design- The Vogue Room uniquely curate spaces designed just for you. Not only providing different services for your needs, The Vogue provide styling tips and inspiration to your everyday life through our blog. 

Ebony recently contributed to Casaza.com --The Property Brother’s new digital platform for the home, and Xonecole.com--lifestyle blog. When she’s not decorating, you can find her enjoying world travels and of course shopping!

As a child, the imagery of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X shaking hands despite their different views was powerful and represented to me that leadership is not a singular matter. If we take pride in our communities and provide opportunities, collaboration is inevitable.

As a child, the imagery of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X shaking hands despite their different views was powerful and represented to me that leadership is not a singular matter. If we take pride in our communities and provide opportunities, collaboration is inevitable.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This year Black history month has a significant meaning to me. Building my business network while working a remote full-time job can get a little hectic at times; but also reminds me that my passion is to acknowledge and focus on building a stronger community amongst my peers. I know that collaboration is far greater than competition.

We are truly better together, and community plays a vital role in the work that I create. This includes giving back in tangible ways. In the summer of 2018, I was thrilled to establish The Vogue Room Foundation, which is a scholarship program that awarded a first generation college woman with a fully furnished dormitory. Our goal was to alleviate the burden of expenses that come with furnishing a bare campus dwelling, on top of tuition fees and the cost of books. Moving forward the foundation’s focus is to assist, design and add personal style to those in need for dormitory spaces.

This month has allowed me to reflect on the relationships with designers and contributors that I’ve created, and has cultivated my affirmation of “Collaboration Over Competition”.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I’m finding beauty and inspiration in everything that surrounds me. I’m constantly looking to be inspired by something or someone! Paris Couture Week recently wrapped up and the runway fashions totally inspired me. From Balmain to Valentino, the colors, fabrics, and textures of the garments, immediately my wheels start turning. Then, I challenge myself as to how I can translate these fashions into an interior space. 

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Traveling to different countries and cities inspires me as well. While traveling, I love to sightsee as much as I can. Visiting a museum or taking a journey on a tour to learn more about the culture of a country, seeing how people live-- totally inspires me.

Finally, my fellow design peers. There is nothing like having a great design tribe that totally inspire you daily. You can collaborate, bounce ideas off each other, and inspire each other is the perfect tribe!

To Learn More About Ebony Visit:


Ciona Rouse is a poet and author of Vantablack (Third Man Books, 2017). She is also the poetry editor of the literary journal, Wordpeace and cohost of the upcoming Re/Verb podcast from Third Man Books. Her work can be found in Native MagazineGabby JournalMatter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and Talking River. In addition to curating many poetry experiences and workshops in Nashville, she also collaborates with various artists to create multi-disciplinary performances including: The Longest Night with saxophonist Jeff Coffin and composer Jason Shelton at Oz Arts and the Blair House Collective with musician and poet Adia Victoria, plus poet Caroline Randall Williams. Rouse also collaborated with Nick Cave an American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist in the event, Nick Cave: Feat  for the Frist Art Museum. This performance was at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in 2018, and was recognized as the year's best poetry performance in the Nashville Scene

Photo of James Baldwin

Photo of James Baldwin

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Though I've read James Baldwin's essays and poetry before, this is the first year I finally read his fiction. I started with IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, obviously, in anticipation of watching Barry Jenkins's gorgeous film adaptation. My goodness, it's brilliant. I loved literature all of my life and studied it in college, and I can't believe I only now read this quintessential "great American novel." I'm grateful Baldwin's reached a renewed level of popularity that puts his wisdom and craft on our radar more often these days, but I'm sad it's taken me so long to see his great contributions to the canon. This is what Black History Month means to me; it means interrupting the canons of literature, art, music, film. It means questioning the standards in politics, medicine, chemistry, engineering. It means seeing how great contributions across numerous disciplines have so many more shades than what we typically venerate. It's recognizing how resilient my ancestors have been. How bold, how forgiving. How we could have let our ire rule us to destroy but we have let our brilliance and resilience guide us to create a more perfect union. It's a month to remind the nation that there's a "We" at the beginning of the Constitution, and hopefully it can inspire us to keep seeking the "we" throughout the year.

I am inspired by the house on Blair Ave. in Nashville, Tenn., where I write with a group of women. There are three of us, all Black women from the south. The beautiful house was purchased some twenty years ago by a Black woman. This woman wrote novels, screenplays and songs there; it has the most special energy inside it. But also I'm simply inspired by writing next to two incredible humans --Caroline & Adia--in this splendid house where Black girls have made a lot of magic.

I am inspired by the house on Blair Ave. in Nashville, Tenn., where I write with a group of women. There are three of us, all Black women from the south. The beautiful house was purchased some twenty years ago by a Black woman. This woman wrote novels, screenplays and songs there; it has the most special energy inside it. But also I'm simply inspired by writing next to two incredible humans --Caroline & Adia--in this splendid house where Black girls have made a lot of magic.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Reading is always one of a poet's major inspirations. I'm reading voices from other parts of the world this year, and it's been pushing me to consider my voice as a member of a larger world family, and also making me think about how much this soil contributes to my voice. It's deep within me--the dirt and grit of the U.S. South. And also I can speak to and resonate with universal experiences. Some of my favorites are Canadian (by way of Trinidad) poet Dionne Brand, who is masterful with language, South Africa's activist and poet Dennis Brutus,  New Zealand's James K. Baxter, and Poland's Marta Podgornik. I want voices from everywhere. 

To Learn More About Ciona Visit:

Website: cionarouse.com

Instagram: @cionar

AuthorAngela Belt
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Nikki Cade is an artist and maker based in Dallas, Texas. Her unique approach to art and design has opened the door for collaborations and features with companies like Anthropologie, Oak & Moss Home, and Design Sponge.  Nikki’s work focuses on creating what she describes as “forever art,” high quality pieces that should be purchased heirloom quality investments. She also focuses on creating one-of-a-kind custom pieces for the home through commissions like mural installations and paintings. 

Six years ago, Nikki quit her day job and began building her life around art and travel.  In her travels, Nikki has discovered new influences and redefined herself as a nomad.

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

For me, growing up with Black History month was something we recognized at school, but it wasn’t something that was a focus at home. As an adult it’s a lot less about celebrating Black History month, and more about focusing on being Black 365 days a year.  Through social media, I have been able to tap into more global connections with Black people like myself who love yoga, art, and a yearning to travel. I understand and appreciate why we celebrate Black History Month, but I am much more focused on the present. What are we collectively doing right now as Black people, and where are we going in the future? 

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I try to stay away from trends. If I pay too much attention to them, I feel like I am inauthentic to myself. I meditate everyday, and it opens me up to new ideas, and I try to stay in that head space. I do look at other artists work for inspiration, but I don’t draw directly from their work; a few people that come to mind for me are Justina Blakeley, Aurora James (I love her vibes), and my mentor, Mati McDonough.  

To Learn More About Nikki Visit:

Website: nikkicadestudio.com

Instagram: @nikkicadestudio