“A conference for us, by us,” reads a brightly colored red wall as you enter Duggal Greenhouse, the venue for this year’s CultureCon NYC event.
Black and Brown influencers, entrepreneurs, photographers, marketers, editors, and the like – STAND UP! If you didn’t know before, you gon’ learn today: this event is a MUST see.
As a blogger with a passion for marketing and communication, I knew from the moment I became aware of CultureCon that I had to be there. From its humble beginnings in the apartment of Imani Ellis, the event’s founder, it grew from her and 10 friends to hundreds (maybe more) of people.
Stars such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina King, John Legend, Keke Palmer, and Nick Cannon have all graced the stage of New York’s best event for creatives of color.
For an entire day, I was surrounded by people who looked like me and had similar interests as me. A collective of New York’s rising Black creatives spent the day making meaningful connections, gaining valuable advice, and having a blast while doing so. It’s all about a community coming together to uplift and inspire one another as we grow together.
So what does CultureCon have to offer you?
An entire day of panels, speeches, workshops, break-out sessions, and brand activations (hello, free full-sized Shea Moisture products!) created with the purpose to foster the talents of Black creatives.
Although it’s nearly impossible for me to summarize hours worth of information, I’ll highlight some of my favorite panels and the takeaways that I gained from each.
One of the best panels of the day was titled Negotiating Your Worth: Becoming Your Bravest Self at Work. Panelists discussed being in the workplace, knowing your worth, negotiating, and communicating your value to potential employers. Framing conversations with employers based on what you can give (versus what you can receive), knowing how you can be an asset, and bringing fresh perspective that others don’t have due to your background, were all important points made that contributed to the ultimate message of bringing your authentic self to work spaces.
Another great panel was the Facebook Presents Build for Speed presentation, where two Facebook employees (Nana Bediako & Court Williams) provided step-by-step explanations of how to make video content for social media. In a world where audiences are processing information in a fast way, and are constantly scrolling, they provided advice for a creative process that accounts for “speed of feed” and people. These were well highlighted in post production techniques, where they mentioned Adobe Premiere Rush and In-Shot as apps that are useful.
The last panel I’ll highlight was shockingly good: Strong Black Lead presented by Netflix. Although much of it was discussing the new Netflix film, Dolomite is My Name with Eddie Murphy, the best part was hearing Da’Vine Joy Randolph speak about her journey to playing Lady Reed. She spoke of the progression of her career, interweaving her life lessons along the way. The best takeaway was that sometimes your mind blocks your blessings, and it’s important to be able to move past that.
As you can tell from these few highlights, the panels were carefully curated and so well done. I genuinely feel that I gained a renewed sense of inspiration from hearing these amazing folks speak.
I’ll leave you all with the greatest takeaways from my experience at CultureCon:
DO: Think about what value you can bring to a company and communicate that well.
DON’T: Get caught up in comparing yourself to other people (Thanks, Regina King).
DO: Apply just as much time to your side hustle as your 9-5.
DON’T/DO: (Don’t) let them see you sweat. (Do) your research and be prepared. Act like you know what you’re talking about – even when you don’t.
DO: Be mindful of the way you talk to yourself (Tracee Ellis Ross).
If you didn’t attend CultureCon this year, you missed out. Fortunately, it’s only growing – get ready for next year! I hope I see you there!
Sending happiness, adventures, love, & light.