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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.

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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. 

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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

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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:



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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







Posted
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





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With a reputation for innovative solutions and a deep commitment to outstanding personal service, Quintel infuses a high dose of energy, imagination, and integrity into every design project. She has a uniquely eclectic, yet slightly minimal take on style. Her approach to the creative process is both flexible and responsive, guided by her clients’ individual needs and tastes.

Immediately after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, Quintel spent her formative years at an architecture firm designing large-scale commercial, multi-family housing and community-centered spaces. It was through this opportunity that she sharpened her technical skills, developed a knack for project management, and learned the ins and outs of the business. Upon relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina, she used her experience to develop the Home Stylist program for West Elm store associates across the nation. Becoming the first certified Home Stylist for the brand, she implemented learning and design education modules, managed project accounts with builders, and served as a regional mentor for the creative credentialing process. In 2014, she officially launched Quin Gwinn Studios and surged into her creative future. While residential design remains a core service, most of her spatial design work consists of elevating experiences for commercial projects, public spaces and small businesses.. As a highly sought after expert, Quintel has been featured in local publications such as Charlotte Home Design & Décor and South Park Magazine. She has also worked with top home and lifestyle brands including Tastemade Home, Dwell Magazine, West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware.

Aside from her practice work, Quintel is passionate about the impact design has on society at large and recently completed a Master of Arts degree in Interior Architecture and Design. She serves as an arts community advocate, design educator, and creative researcher. She organized the Coalition of Young Designers, a burgeoning creative collective dedicating to promoting next-generation design professionals, and currently is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Olive Guide – the first digital shelter magazine to highlight the work and perspective of designers of color. Quintel also leads design and place keeping initiatives for underserved communities and non-profit organizations through her signature program – Design Delivered. Armed with self-starting business acumen, she recently established Blu Prnt Wrk – a series of business development workshops for local creative entrepreneurs. Quintel currently resides in Charlotte with her husband, three children and a host of house plants.

photo: Lorna Simpson, candid. Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum - https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-overlooked-black-women-altered-course-feminist-art

photo: Lorna Simpson, candid. Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum - https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-overlooked-black-women-altered-course-feminist-art

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Collective action. I think it’s important in this current social and political climate that we fully embrace the understanding that we are better together. Conversations around diversity, inclusion, appropriation and representation in creative professions are still challenging topics to discuss. While many of us have made important contributions individually, there are still opportunities for us to strengthen personal and professional support systems with one another.

photo: Faith Ringgold in her studio at her home by Melanie Buford/Prime for the Washington Post, 2013 - https://melanieburford.photoshelter.com/image/I0000wx5iDlZrP14

photo: Faith Ringgold in her studio at her home by Melanie Buford/Prime for the Washington Post, 2013 - https://melanieburford.photoshelter.com/image/I0000wx5iDlZrP14

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I’ve developed a slight obsession with studying processes of other creatives, artists, and makers. I frequent local galleries, art shows and open studio nights with the hopes of gaining insight into their world. From printmakers to weavers to collage artists, I’ve been so inspired by the tools and materials used in creation.

To Learn More About Quintel Visit:

Website: quingwinn.com

Instagram: @quinngwinn









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Régine Labossière is a New York City area blogger and maker with a passion for interior design. Her blog, The 256 Project, is all about making a house a home through food, renovation and design. The 256 Project represents Régine’s interests and pursuits in interiors and her family’s Haitian culture. She writes about design influences, DIY and renovation projects, as well as her Haitian grandmother’s handwritten recipes, with all the mishaps and failures included.

The 256 Project began four years ago when she and her husband purchased their first home, leaving Brooklyn for suburban NJ. She has been able to offer e-design interior decorating services since starting the blog.

Last year, Régine created the Designer Spotlight series on The 256 Project. In the series she interviews interior designers, DIYers, and stylists about their start in the business, their inspiration, learnings from their mistakes and successes, plus their future goals. Her hope is to show the diversity of the designer landscape through these interviews; that not all designers of talent and influence look the same and produce the same product.

In addition, Régine is the creator, designer and maker of women’s clothing line Mitton & La Boss, sold on Etsy. The 256 Project and Mitton & La Boss are just two parts of her eclectic resume. Her career has been in communications, starting out as a reporter for newspapers around the country, before moving to public relations at a strategic communications agency in New York. Her career has taken her to Seattle, Los Angeles, Hartford, and New York City. The 256 Project allows her to combine her skills and passions – writing, interviewing, designing, making – into one creative venue.

Women in Congress courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine

Women in Congress courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black History Month – which is lived every day, all day, all year every year – means opportunity and I’m seeing it manifest in different ways. First, politically, with a diverse group of new Congresswomen filling more and more seats in the House of Representatives. This gives me hope for how diversity – especially from the perspective of Black women – will help shape policy and move our country in the direction of greater progress.

Secondly, specific to design, I hope brands will see the value in Black interior designers, decorators, stylists and DIYers and offer them opportunities the same way they do white designers and DIYers. Consumers need to see diversity in expertise, products and designs; and we don’t get that by brands only working with a select few. Brands have so much opportunity to treat Black designers like the influencers they are and diversify the playing field.

Third, I’m a new mom. My child is biracial, and half of that child is Haitian. I’m a first-generation American and half of my extended family lives in Haiti. I want my son to know where he comes from and understand what it means to be a person of color and grandchild of immigrants.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Photo courtesy of Influencing in Color on Instagram

Photo courtesy of Influencing in Color on Instagram

Fashion, street style, and art remind me that not only is it okay to be bold and to act as if rules don’t exist; but it’s a must in order for your individual point of view to shine. Those are the areas where I am seeking inspiration this year. I’m also finding inspiration from reading books, which may sound strange, but reading a book allows the imagination to soar and I hope that imagination will positively affect how I blog, design spaces and clothing.

And then there are my go-tos, travel is always a sense of inspiration for no matter what I’m doing. Specific to interiors, I love following what designers and DIYers are doing. As well as reading trend reports to get a sense of how the design conversation will go for the year ahead.

And, of course, I hope to interview more and more designers, DIYers, and stylists for my Designer Spotlight series on The 256 Project. I absolutely love good conversation, and learning from others. I find those interviews to be so inspiring, and they help propel my work forward.

To Learn More About Regine Visit:









Celeste Alexander is from Newport, Rhode Island and  resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She has over 25 years of experience as an interior designer, and is the publisher of Curated Quarters Magazine that features Black interior designers, decorators, and creatives.

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The mission of the magazine is to celebrate the heritage and history of the often-underrepresented African American design community, and their unique contributions to style and home décor. I believe the contributions of African American designers have been overlooked for years in a niche industry that often celebrates the influences from everywhere but Africa, and/or continents with people of color. Residential design has historically relied heavily on colonial and provincial influences associated with France, Italy and England. Due to the cultural differences of the African American experience many of our contributions have been overlooked by the mainstream interior design community. Curated quarters will provide an educational and historic look at the journey of African Americans and other people of color in the space called home.

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

This year for me it means a reflection of how far we have come from slave cabins to living in beautiful homes despite the efforts to disregard our neighborhoods. I look at all the young designers living out their passion creating beautiful spaces. Instagram is trending heavily and has given a rise to the African American designer to showcase and promote their talents. I'm still learning my way around IG, but most magazines do not want to publish photos that have already been seen every where so it could be a disservice. I feel like social media allows designers of color to share their portfolio of work in one place.

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Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I recently took a trip to Santorini Greece so I'm inspired by the brightness of royal blue. I find that when I travel, I'm inspired to bring culture and heritage back to the home.

To Learn More About Celeste Visit:

Website: curatedquartersmag.com

Instagram: @curatedquartesmag




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My name is Amber Guyton, and I’m the designer and blogger behind Blessed Little Bungalow! I’m a South Carolina native and was raised in Pineville, SC by my mother along with my older sister, and I lived next door to my maternal grandparents. After I graduated from Cross High School, I attended college at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, majoring in Advertising at their School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Over the next few years, I worked in advertising sales in Greenville, SC and Atlanta, GA, and then earned my Master of Business Administration from the University of Georgia. I moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2015 to continue my career in marketing and product management at a Fortune 100 financial services company. Though I’m climbing the ladder and successful in achieving my professional goals, my creative bucket wasn’t completely being filled. After purchasing my second home, a renovated 1940s bungalow that I fell in love with at first sight, I moved in the same day, I closed and decorated the entire house within a week. When my family and friends came to visit they encouraged me to “do this for real”, meaning putting my creative talent from childhood and love for interior design to use. So with the intent of only starting a blog to share my love for inexpensive home decor, travel, DIYing, and showcase my new home, Blessed Little Bungalow was born in 2016. BLB has since blossomed into a blooming business, connecting my faith, passion and creativity with amazing people everyday, and it’s been such a blessing.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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Black History is so important because it runs through my veins. We have such a rich history and culture that should be learned, taught and celebrated all year long. I think one doesn’t truly know their self until they know their roots and where they came from. So I make a point to celebrate Black culture at all times – whether it’s through my family reunions, serving with my Sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; or participating in the largest march in the country right here in San Antonio, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I see it as a personal responsibility to those that have come before me and the future kings and queens of our incredible lineage. 

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Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I find most of my creative inspiration in the environment around me. Whether it’s during my personal travels to Europe or Africa, or a walk down the street in my own neighborhood. Having lived in the South all of my life (South Carolina, Georgia, and now Texas) the architecture, culture and people are what inspire me the most. I believe one’s home should be a reflection of who they are, what they believe in, and what brings them joy. It’s been my privilege to pull those elements out of my clients with every project, and transform their spaces into a sanctuary of their own. 

To Learn More About Amber Visit:








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Southern Home describes Cheryl Luckett’s style as "opulence in reach” with “vintage treasures and ingenious restyles” as essential tools in her design kit. Cheryl believes her clients should dwell in a home they love; a place that gives them a sense of well-being both indoors and out. She describes her design aesthetic as sophisticated but approachable; easy and livable. Launched in 2012, Dwell by Cheryl Interiors continues to grow with clients raving about Cheryl’s ability to transform a space as well as her professionalism and attention to detail.

For more than 15 years Cheryl worked at a Fortune 500 company in Charlotte, North Carolina where she was initially employed as a Registered Dietitian and subsequently a human resources professional in diversity and inclusion. It was here she developed her service skills and business acumen. After much prayer and consideration, Cheryl left her career in Corporate America to utilize her gift as an interior designer full-time.

Not surprising, her work has been published in Charlotte Home and GardenSouthern Home, The Charlotte ObserverQueen City Exclusive, Charlotte Home Décor and Design, and Hoffman Media’s Southern Spaces to name a few.  She currently serves as Brand Ambassador for Revolution Performance Fabrics and in 2018 she launched her first licensed product line, a five piece upholstered furniture collection called Belle by Cheryl Luckett for Sylvester Alexander Furniture.  She is a seven-time recipient of the Best of Houzz Award for Design and Customer Satisfaction and was recently named one of Charlotte’s Best Designers by Charlotte Agenda.  Her southern roots, natural ability, corporate tenure and continuing education have equipped her to be a multi-faceted creative entrepreneur poised for a successful career in the interior design industry. 

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Not sure if it’s my Southern roots, my HBCU collegiate experience, or the fact that my parents placed importance on us knowing where we came from, but Black History has always been important to me.  As an entrepreneur, this year I’m focused on the legacy of entrepreneurship within my own family.  Several years ago, I was informed by a family member that my Great-Great Grandmother sold mail-order furniture and home goods within her rural Mississippi community in the 1930s.  Needless to say, I’ve become fixated on finding out more details.   I am fascinated by the fact that my ancestor was essentially an early decorator in the Black community in the segregated South, providing access to furnishing during a time when access to our community was limited or non-existent.  It makes me proud to know that interior design is not only my passion and profession, it’s in my DNA. 

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Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I’m having a moment where art is inspiring me right now.  I’m constantly on the hunt for new artists to bring into my clients’ homes, many of whom are beginning collectors.  I love how art can add so much personality and breathe life into a space. 

To Learn More About Cheryl Visit:

Posted
AuthorAngela Belt
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Known as ‘The Afrominimalist,’ Christine A. Platt is a historian and author of African and African-American fiction and fantasy. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida, M.A. in African and African American Studies from The Ohio State University, and J.D. from Stetson University College of Law. Christine enjoys writing diverse stories for people of all ages. She currently serves as the Managing Director of The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

It means the same thing to me every year—it serves as a reminder and opportunity to tell our stories, to ensure that our voices are heard, that our history is captured. Storytelling is my divine appointment, and I take this responsibility very seriously. And this year, I am especially grateful to contribute diverse stories to children, in particular, early readers. It’s such a joy!

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Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Inspiration is all around me! From my work at the Antiracism Center at American University to my curated minimalist home, I am constantly inspired by the resiliency of people of the African diaspora—both past and present.

To Learn More About Christine Visit:

  • Website: christineplatt.com

  • Instagram: @afrominimalist











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Natalie Osborne received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. The following year she accepted a position in Brooklyn, New York as a teaching artist for The Leadership Program Inc. where she taught painting in public schools in Brooklyn and in Harlem. While in New York, Natalie exhibited her paintings in group shows at Rush Arts Brooklyn Gallery. In 2009 she joined Aaron Marx in Toronto, ON to assist in the opening of Studio 561, a contemporary art gallery located in downtown Toronto at Bloor and Bathurst. “We literally lived in the gallery.” In 2011, Natalie returned to Chicago to work with the Downtown Arts Association in their effort to turn empty storefronts in the Loop into Pop Up galleries, working under curator Stuart Hall at Gallery 220 (220 S. Wabash Ave.) In 2014 she opened her online store, selling original paintings and prints. “My paintings are about the strength and purpose that illuminates from within every woman.” 

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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Black history month is everyday for me. Not a day goes by that I do not think about the sacrifice my ancestors made for me, and I know I wouldn't be able to access the many opportunities I seek if they had not paved the way for my success and freedom.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

I find inspiration to create on INSTAGRAM. Being able to connect to other artists and designers has opened up a new world of possibilities for me. The ability to share instant feedback and follow each others growth has been very inspirational for me. I create in my in home studio so I find so much inspiration here at home. When the urge to paint hits me, I am able to just go into my studio and get started. That has been a game changer for me.

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To Learn More About Natalie Visit:



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Ron Adkins is a Director, Producer, and Screenwriter entrenched in the ethos of Black culture and storytelling. He colors outside of the lines of genre and race, yet stays true to his artistic roots. His first break came in 2005 as a videographer for 50 cent. This lead to him directing music videos, capturing some of the most iconic faces within the music industry. Continuing to chase this utopia of creativity and innovation, he began his transition into the Television and Film world by writing and directing his first short  ‘Bodega Series’ based on a family ran bodega in a gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood. It received positive reviews and toured the film festival circuit. While continuing to learn the trade, he worked on the critically acclaimed documentary ‘Mr Chibbs’, a candid, raw look at New York City schoolyard legend and former NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson. As well as working on ‘Day After Valentines’ a Cannes Short Film Selection. In 2018, Ron partnered with award winning filmmaker Joseph Doughrity, in acquiring film and TV rights to ROCK ‘N’ ROLL VICTIMS; THE TRUE STORY OF ‪ A BAND CALLED DEATH, a proposed mini series about a group of three Black brothers from 1970s Detroit playing what was soon to become Punk Rock. Ron also has several other projects in the pipeline and has partnered with top tier producers to bring them to fruition. In addition to his work within the entertainment industry, he donates his time and effort into working with inner city schools in Harlem, New York and South Central, Los Angeles in creating curriculums around digital media, entertainment, and film.  

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

In the context of the United States, I believe that it is necessary to celebrate Black History not only for a month, but on going as the triumphs of people of African descent can be acknowledged. US history is often framed as a story of European immigrants leaving Europe for the Americas in search of a land they can call their own. While this is true, this narrative overlooks the history of other races in the United States such as the African as well as the Indigenous.  Black History Month in my view, is a way of ensuring the experiences of African Americans in the United States are never forgotten, or at the very least, not neglected.


Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

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Finding inspiration is easy for me…God is the alpha artist and designer so inspiration starts with him first. I have always had a healthy diet of art, design, music and photography that inspires me to design and create. I've been inspired by the works of: John Coltrane, Nas, Takashi Murakami, Spike Lee and countless others.

To Learn More About Ron Visit:





sk.ArtSpace, located in Brooklyn NY, is an up and coming art gallery and creative hub for local emerging artists and creatives. Founded by best friends Jarryn Mercer, Melissa Sutherland, and Symone Wong, our mission is to encourage and provide opportunities for local creatives and lovers of art to indulge in the culture and expand on their individual crafts. Through sk.Artspace, we focus on fostering community engagement through eclectic and unique events. Our most popular and well attended event is a series called “Last Saturday’s” where we host a monthly art show on the last Saturday of every month. Through these series we are able to connect the local community with emerging artists and further the narrative that art is obtainable, profitable and important in the Black community. In addition, sk.ArtSpace provides a quality space for artists who wish to expand their network and present their art work in a traditional gallery style.

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Sk.ArtSpace opened on June 16th, 2017 and plans to continue its impact in the local community. Our initiatives include hosting an annual “Future is Female” (FIF) event that will focus on programming related to women in the arts and entrepreneurial industry. As women of color, we want to provide opportunities for our cohorts to network, learn, and support one another in a fun and interactive way! Sk.ArtSpace will also be creating a members only community for NYC creatives who need support in the areas of work/creative space, expanding their network, and access to an inventory of materials and supplies needed to expand their particular craft. Through these initiatives, we will continue to uplift and provide opportunities for local creatives and artists, particular in the Black community. Sk.ArtSpace will continue to work towards being a staple and trailblazer in the Brooklyn art scene.

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What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Black History Month for us is celebrating and sharing new artists and creatives with the world and particularly with the Black community through our creative platforms.  It is a time to appreciate and honor our history, culture, and continuous contributions more intensely than we have throughout the year. It’s also a time where we come together and share experiences and support each other. We look forward to contributing to the history of our people that will continue to strengthen and inspire our youth for generations to come.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

A lot of our inspiration comes from communicating and interacting with everyday people in our community.  Artists and other creatives alike possess so much passion and it is truly motivating and inspiring.  A lot of artists in New York City often work several jobs and wear many hats in addition to focusing on their individual crafts.  Their drive and tenacity is very inspiring.  We also gain inspiration from exploring different communities, traveling, and experiencing different cultures and lifestyles. What’s great is that we all have different experiences and come from different backgrounds, so when we combine them, it’s magic.

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To Learn More About sk.ArtSpace Visit:

Photo by @createdbyjarrod

Photo by @createdbyjarrod

Brandon Frame is a visionary leader, social innovator and mentor. He is the Chief Visionary Officer of TheBlackManCan, Inc. an award winning and internationally recognized non-profit and digital media platform focused on celebrating, educating and inspiring boys and men of color. Accomplishments and accolades are no stranger to Brandon Frame, but what makes him extraordinary is the humility and servant-leadership that marks his life. Brandon is the Deputy Director of Social-Emotional Learning at The Urban Assembly, Co-Founder of the award winning twitter chat #hiphoped and the author of Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Boys and Men of color and the children's book, My First Tie.

For his service to his community, Brandon has received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award, Change Maker of the Year and was named Next in Class in the field of Education by Black Entertainment Television. Brandon’s work has been featured in the Black Enterprise, Boston Globe, Essence, CBS, and NBC. Brandon pursues excellence with impeccable effort in all that he does. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and resides in Bronx, NY.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

Photo by @createdbyjarrod

Photo by @createdbyjarrod

This year I am going to pursue excellence with impeccable effort in all that you do. It means to be so reminded of Martin and Malcolm yet so inspired to sketch your own path. It means that once you make an observation you have an obligation. Black History Month means to me this year that any and all stumbling blocks should be turned into stepping stones just as our ancestors did before us! 

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

One, I want to be up high, I enjoy going to rooftops. When I'm up in high places ideas come to me, and I'm able to think through a process of how to make it happen. Secondly, the beach, I always look to find my way to get there. It is at the beach that the water calms my spirit but also gives me creative energy. it's similar to the water that we are looking at, on the surface everything looks calm and still but under the water the current is moving and life is happening. Thirdly, social media, I'm always watching the content that people post. The comments that people write on videos and photos that go viral, watching my peers succeed at chasing their dreams. 

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These three places and spaces are just some of where I find inspiration. It all drives the creative process for me. I can sit and strategically think about ways to showcase authentic, transparent and positive images and narratives of Black men and boys.

To Learn More About Brandon Visit:







Picture by Nicole Young  @girlphotography   www.girlphotography.info

Picture by Nicole Young

@girlphotography

www.girlphotography.info

I'm Ronni the artist behind Ron Nicole.  I create what I love to call florally inspired fossil reliefs using plaster and concrete. For as long as I can remember, I've always had a connection with nature. Although I grew up in a concrete jungle, nature is very good at peaking through the cracks. Even as a young child, I was drawn to them.  I experimented with so many different mediums searching for a perfect way to expose all of their intricate details.  My floral obsession took me on a journey that would eventually lead me here, doing what I love.

What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?

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Black history month is such an exciting time of the year, where we as a nation actively celebrate our contributions and accomplishments of those that have and will continue to pave the way for us. My only wish is that Black history would be celebrated all year. Not with flashy parades or anything like that (although I wouldn't be against it), but with a required school curriculum that teaches the history of slavery through a factual lens vs the watered down one in the textbooks. A reformed system that frees our Black men and women from modern day slavery. The removal of racist legislation and policies that keep those at the bottom at the bottom. Retribution for the cruelty that America has and continues to place on us. I want to see more of us in front and backed financially, whether it's TV, business, community rebuilding, better schooling, wealth management, etc. I want less gentrification and more community investment. Amazing things happen when support is provided. I mean look at the movie, Black Panther and how much it grossed.  Bigger budgets mean more worldwide recognition and awards. It means more elite sponsorships with our faces on the front that changes the narrative, which trickles down in ways that some might not even imagine. We've come so far, but the work is not done. We are just beginning. With young activists like Rachel Cargle and Shawn King I’m looking forward to our bright future.

Where Are You Finding Inspiration To Create This Year?

Well, that's easy…Nature.  This year I will be taking more trail walks and traveling all over the country working with other florist and those in the industry to discover new flowers to create my art. Last year I worked my butt off, but this year I want to work less so I can explore and experience more. I’m hoping to create personal connections with my community who inspire me every day. 

To Learn More About Ronni Visit:



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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