Instagram, The Brooklyn Museum, and the #BlackVisionaries program are awarding $650,000 to 10 Black creators and organizations.

There are a number of trailblazers out there doing the necessary work to further progress Black culture. From influencers and creatives to top industry professionals, the list goes on and on of those who have dedicated their careers to one simple mission.

The furtherance of Black culture and preservation is a shared mission Founder and Editorial Director of Black Fashion Fair, Antoine Gregory, and Antwaun Sargent, a notable writer, editor, and curator, both have in common.

With this vision in mind, both arbiters have seamlessly pushed the culture forward in more ways than one. For Gregory, it’s the discovery and furtherance of Black fashion designers- a goal he’s had since graduating the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

For Sargent, it’s providing the necessary resources to Black creatives and professionals near and far. His role as the #BlackVisionaires Co-Chair is a prime example of his leadership skills, which have transcended the scope of effective mentorship to further the careers of Black talent in lucrative industries.

Instagram, The Brooklyn Museum, and Sargent’s #BlackVisionaries program have just announced this year’s roundup of #BlackVisionaries recipients who will each receive $100,000 in funding to help further their careers and brands.

Among the five recipients, includes Antoine Gregory’s Black Fashion Fair. A conceptual retail, educational, and cultural experience aimed towards the discovery and furtherance of Black designers and Black-owned brands.

Sargent’s 2022 #BlackVisionaires recipients also include Christopher Joshua Benton, an interdisciplinary artist that explores how diasporic people use cultural innovation to stage resistance; and @jaline.creates, a spatial design artist seeking to elevate stories of Black cultural landscapes and ethnobotanical histories.

 

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“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 Visionary Small Business grants and five $30,000 Emerging Visionary grants, awarded with the support of 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,” said Instagram on the recent partnership.

 

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Founded with a mission in mind to help empower and champion the future of Black creatives and professionals, Instagram’s #BlackVisionaires program provides the proper financial support, mentorship, and resources creatives need to further progress their careers and business.

 

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See our exclusive interview with both Antoine and Sargent below on the importance of #BlackVisionaries and how we can continue to highlight Black voices on a widespread scale.

Gabrielle Tazewell: Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you first enter the fashion space?

Antoine Gregory of Black Fashion Fair: I have always been a visual person. Fashion sort of just came to me in a way that never really left. I went to school at FIT and I interned a lot! My experience kind of allowed me to go directly into a really amazing corporate position. I’ve always done styling and consulting on the side as it was much more fun for me. It took me a second to find my footing but launching Black Fashion Fair was an important step I think we needed to make in fashion.

GT: Can you walk us through what the Brooklyn Museum initiative means for Black Fashion Fair?

AG: Wanting to do this event with BkM was about challenging the idea of space. We wanted to counter the idea of who is and who isn’t afforded space in these cultural institutions. It was also important to me to have as many Black people feel comfortable to visit these institutions when exhibitions that center the Black experiences that are going on. As we continue these experiences the goal is to always make sure the community has access to them.

GT: How will this help to excel the brand’s mission of “the discovery and furtherance of Black designers”?

AG: We were able to curate a pop-up shop in the museum featuring Black designers and artists. How often are you able to walk into a museum and leave with something that represents you as a person of color? Not very often in my experience. I wanted to challenge that notion. Having a shop also expands the audience of the designer and artist. To not only the community that lives around them but visitors of all kinds.

GT: How do you see Black Fashion Fair evolving within the new year?

AG: We have so many amazing projects coming. I’m most excited to release volume one of our publication this spring. I think being able to exist as a repository for Black fashion is something we want to explore even outside of just the fashion space. And I think we are doing that. I think we’re the future.

GT: I know the brand has a personal mission of contributing to the progression of Black designers and culture by preserving forgotten stories. In your personal opinion, How do we continue to tell these stories not only through fashion, but through effective community initiatives like the #BlackVisionaries program?

AG: The most valuable things you can offer people who have historically been left out is space and resources. We do that 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 who are doing that work have the access that they need and require. We reach our communities where they are. We have handled their stories with a care, respect, and beauty that allows for a relationship between us that is grounded in trust.

GT: Why is this activation important to you and how will this grant help to impact the lives of Black creatives and professionals?

Antwaun Sargent of Black Visionaries: Black Visionaries is intentionally structured to be more than just a grant. It’s a mentorship program. We emphasize storytelling, and we help cultivate like-minded connections. That structure paired 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 makes them stand out?

AS: All of our grant recipients embody a conscious engagement with today’s cultural moment. They’re leading the conversation by re-energizing and rethinking the possibilities of community-based practices.

GT: Why is awareness a critical aspect when it comes to showcasing the work of Black creatives and professionals? How is this initiative helping to aid that mission?

AS: Instagram, along with the Black Visionaries program, has created a platform for awareness while focusing that awareness toward specific ideas, like financial support and mentorship for Black artists and designers.

Antoine GregoryAntwaun SargentBlack Fashion Fairbrooklyn museuminstagram