Instagram, The Brooklyn Museum and the #BlackVisionaries program are awarding $650,000 to 10 Black creators and organizations.
There are a number of pioneers out there who are doing the necessary work to further advance black culture. From influencers and creatives to top industry professionals, the list goes on and on of those who have dedicated their careers to a simple mission.
Promoting Black Culture and Conservation is a Shared Mission Black Fashion Fair founder and managing director Antoine Gregory and Antwaun Sargent, a noted writer, editor and curator, both have in common.
With that vision in mind, both referees seamlessly fostered culture in more ways than one. For Gregory, it’s the discovery and promotion of black fashion designers, a goal he’s had since graduating from New York’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology.
For Sargent, it’s providing needed resources to Black creatives and professionals near and far. His role as co-chair of #BlackVisionaires is a prime example of his leadership skills that have transcended the realm of effective mentorship to further the careers of Black talent in lucrative industries.
Today, Instagram, The Brooklyn Museum, and Sargent’s #BlackVisionaries program announced this year’s roundup of #BlackVisionaries recipients who will each receive $100,000 in funding to further help their careers and brands.
Among the five recipients is Antoine Gregory’s Black Fashion Fair. A conceptual retail, educational and cultural experience aimed at discovering and promoting Black designers and Black-owned brands.
Sargent’s #BlackVisionaires 2022 recipients also include Christopher Joshua Benton, an interdisciplinary artist who explores how diasporic people use cultural innovation to stage resistance; and @jaline.creates, a spatial design artist who seeks to uplift Black cultural landscape stories and ethnobotanical stories.
“To uplift, center, and invest in Black voices and organizations working in art and design, Instagram is awarding $650,000 to 10 Black artists, designers, and small businesses across the United States. Presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum, the #BlackVisionaries grants include five $100,000 Small Business Visionary Grants and five $30,000 Emerging Visionary Grants, awarded with support from Meta Open Arts. As part of the museum’s commitment to the local community, one of this year’s Visionary Small Business grant recipients is based in Brooklyn,” Instagram said of the recent partnership.
Founded with a mission in mind to help empower and sustain the future of Black creatives and professionals, Instagram’s #BlackVisionaires program provides the right financial support, mentorship, and resources creatives need to further advance their careers. career and their business.
Watch our exclusive interview with Antoine and Sargent below on the importance of #BlackVisionaries and how we can continue to highlight Black voices on a massive scale.
Gabrielle Tazewell: Tell us a little about your background. How did you first enter the fashion space?
Antoine Gregory of Black Fashion Fair: I’ve always been a visual person. Fashion came to me in a way that never really went away. I went to school at FIT and did a lot of interns! My experience has landed me directly into a truly extraordinary corporate position. I’ve always done styling and side consultations because it was so much more fun for me. It took me a second to find my footing, but the launch of Black Fashion Fair was an important step that I think we needed to take in fashion.
GT: Can you explain what the Brooklyn Museum initiative means for the Black Fashion Fair?
AG: Wanting to do this event with BkM meant challenging the idea of space. We wanted to contrast the idea of who has and who hasn’t space in these cultural institutions. It was also important to me that as many people of color feel comfortable visiting these institutions during the ongoing exhibits that focus on black experiences. As we continue these experiences, the goal is to always make sure the community has access to them.
GT: How will this help excel in the brand’s mission of ‘discovering and fostering black designers’?
AG: We were able to curate a pop-up shop in the museum featuring black designers and artists. How often can you walk into a museum and walk away with something that represents you as a person of color? Not very often in my experience. I wanted to challenge that idea. Having a shop also broadens the audience of the designer and artist. Not only to the community that lives around them, but also to visitors of all kinds.
GT: How do you see the evolution of the Black Fashion Fair in the new year?
AG: We have so many amazing projects coming up. I am very excited to release the first volume of our publication this spring. I think being able to exist as a repository for black fashion is something we want to explore outside of just the fashion space as well. And I think we are. I think we are the future.
GT: I know the brand has a personal mission to contribute to the progression of Black designers and culture while preserving forgotten histories. In your personal opinion, how can we continue to tell these stories not just through fashion, but through effective community initiatives like the #BlackVisionaries program?
AG: The most valuable things you can offer historically excluded people are space and resources. We do it every day for black designers and black creators in fashion. I think receiving this grant allows us to be able to continue this work. These opportunities should exist so that the people doing that job have the access they need and demand. We reach out to our communities where they are. We have handled their stories with the care, respect and beauty that allows for a trusting relationship between us.
GT: Why is this activation important to you and how will this grant help impact the lives of Black creatives and professionals?
Antwaun Sargent of the Black Visionaries: Black Visionaries is intentionally structured to be more than just a scholarship. It’s a mentorship program. We emphasize storytelling and help cultivate like-minded connections. That facility coupled with financial support provides a framework for Black creatives and professionals.
GT: Can you tell us what this year’s #BlackVisionaries bring to the table? What makes them unique? What sets them apart?
HOW: All of our fellows embody a conscious engagement with today’s cultural moment. They are leading the conversation by re-energizing and rethinking the possibilities of community-based practices.
GT: Why is awareness a key aspect when it comes to showcasing the work of Black creatives and professionals? How does this initiative help help that mission?
HOW: Instagram, along with the Black Visionaries program, has created a platform for awareness by focusing that awareness on specific ideas, such as financial support and mentorship for Black artists and designers.