In honor of Black History Month, we’re sharing work from creatives who inspire us along with a list of resources that uplift Black creative voices. These organizations are committed to building a creative community that is diverse and representative. Their focus on inclusivity and education stretches throughout all months of the year.
For those of you local to the Middle TN area, we’ve also included a few ideas on how to celebrate Black History month here in Nashville.
Keep reading to learn more and be inspired.
Creatives Who Inspire Us
Salehe Bembury is a footwear designer who is famous for his innovative and colorful shoe designs. Bembury has worked with multiple massive brands, including Versace and Cole Haan. Incredible stuff.
Tré Seals, founder of Vocal Type, is a graphic designer who is finding ways “to increase diversity and empathy in the design industry” through his work. He creates custom typefaces that highlight diverse perspectives and stories.
Cymone Wilder designs and creates custom lettering at her studio, Simon and Moose. Wilder and her company have helped build experiences for and tell the stories of brands like Netflix, Wired, and Oatly. In the words of our team, “their work is p r e m i u m.”
Joshua Kissi is a director, photographer, and co-founder of TONL and more. Kissi excels at capturing emotions in his work and has collaborated with brands like Nike, Adobe, and Apple.
Jade Purple Brown is a graphic designer who infuses all her work with vibrant blocks of color. Her creativity shines through in her work with Clinique, TikTok, Meta, Haagen-Dazs, and more.
Resources for Black Creatives
- One School provides Black creatives access to mentorship and resources to help them build a best-in-class portfolio to help them land jobs in advertising. Apply on their website.
- This public Google sheet of BIPOC Studios contains a list of over 400 studios worldwide that are Black and POC-led. Contact information and job opportunities are also listed there.
- TONL is a stock photography company that tells the diverse stories of Black and Brown people visually. They bring the spotlight to underrepresented groups by displaying a variety of ethnic backgrounds in their large collection of photos.
- #blkcreatives is a collective that works to nurture and protect Black creativity by providing access to opportunity. The group unites around a goal to help creatives “build the future they want for themselves and the next generation.”
- Rememory, a growing creative directory inspired by Toni Morrison, highlights the talents of Black women and non-binary people of the African Diaspora. Visit their site to get connected and read more about their mission.
- Nappy was created in response to the lack of representation in stock images as a collection of free, hi-res photos featuring Black and Brown individuals. Learn about their goal to “tackle diversity one stock photo at a time,” and check out their collection.
- The Ghetto Film School is a nonprofit education program that has prepared thousands of students for creative careers through 100% free, intensive courses. Read more about how they’re developing and celebrating the next generation of great storytellers on their site.
- Hire Black Female Creatives provides a growing list of talent for creative roles including photography, industrial design, wardrobe styling, and more. There is a space to add yourself or a Black female creative you know to the list to get started.
- The Boom List is a monthly newsletter dedicated to giving diverse creatives the celebration and credit they deserve. Subscribe to stay up on impressive creative happenings.
- Women Who Create, a unique mentorship community built by and for women of color within the creative industry, pairs mentees with female mentors. The group even provides a guided 15-week program to help participants get the most out of the process.
- People of Craft is a dynamic space for creatives of color to share their talents in design, advertising, tech, illustration, lettering, art, and more. Their goal is to accomplish what’s long overdue–redefining what a creative looks like.
- The Boundless Fellowship Program is a mentorship and job placement program that creates opportunities for Black and Brown people to enter the Marketing, Consulting, and Tech industries. Check out their website to apply.
Celebrate Black History Month Locally
- Dancing in the Street: the Music of Motown (Feb. 9-11) – Listen to the Nashville Symphony perform smash hits by Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and more.
- The Nashville Black Market at the Fairgrounds (Feb. 11) – Take a stroll through the Nashville Fairgrounds and shop from over 100 black-owned businesses.
- United Street Tours (Feb. – Oct.) – United Street Tours is leading walking tours around Nashville all month that highlight moments from the Civil Rights Movement and hidden culture. The tours are led and curated by locals and great for all ages.
- Black Entrepreneurship & Innovation Day (Feb. 15) – The Nashville Entrepreneurship Center is uplifting Black-owned businesses and how founders can gain access to capital through their Twende program. This event is open to all and admission is free.
- Black History Month Hackathon (Feb. 24) – Hosted by The Black Codes and Nashville Software School, developers of all skills levels can find opportunities to collaborate and build new projects in this hackathon.
- National Museum of African American Music (year-round) – The museum’s mission is to “educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack.” New RFID bracelets allow guests to save playlists and videos as they peruse the installations.