BLACK INSPIRED CULTURAL INITIATIVES
OFFERING A CREATIVE TAPESTRY OF CELEBRATIONS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Time to celebrate the incredible achievements and contributions of Black individuals throughout history, and yes, that includes the present day too. This year the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) deemed the Black History theme to be African Americans and the Arts. We want vibes, we want impact, we want to see brands and individuals walking the walk, not just posting performative black squares. We found some examples of what it means to do Black History Month right.
SOLE VISIONARY - MAKING STRIDES AND MAKING PLEDGES
Founded by Aurora James, Brother Vellies, this luxury shoe and accessories brand champions Black craftsmanship and artistry. The company was founded on the platform of sustaining traditional African design methods and techniques all while encouraging and supporting artisanal jobs. But James didn’t stop at accessories - in 2020 she started the Fifteen Percent Pledge which asks businesses to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands - because Black people make up 15% of the US population. Since inception, the organization has been able to cultivate $14 billion in revenue to Black-owned businesses from over 28 retailers including Nordstrom, Madewell, and Rent The Runway. The organization offers a host of different Black-owned businesses for retailers to support.
ART THAT INSPIRES YOUTH OR YOUTH THAT INSPIRES ART
From September 2023 to March 2024, the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco has hosted Old Roots, New Leaves. In a groundbreaking move, the museum entrusted ten talented youth artists from the San Francisco Bay Area to curate MoAD's first teen-led art exhibition. From East Africa to Sierra Leone, Arkansas to the Dominican Republic, each artist intricately weaves their cultural legacies into a mixed-media masterpiece that transcends time and space. This exhibition, part of the MoAD Diaspora Stories Project, offers a reflective space for young artists to explore the impact of their personal cultural experiences on their artistic practice.
STATE OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY THROUGH ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
In the heart of Philly, where murals pulsate with stories and resilience whispers from cobblestone streets, rises a beacon of artistic empowerment. The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) partner in a rare collaboration to present Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America which focuses on the singular question: “Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?” Pieces from 20 different artists dive into themes of equality, free speech, and other core principles of democracy. The exhibition is available at AAMP through March 3, 2024