The Black Professional Networks All Creatives Need Right Now
April 6, 2022
As more creative career opportunities have become available, Black creatives have learned what professionals of color across many industries have known for years: there’s strength in community. Being part of a professional organization not only allows individuals to network and learn from their peers but also allows marginalized professionals to set industry-wide standards for acceptable practices.
There’s also much to be said about the social benefits that come from networking with others who understand the particular stressors and demands of your line of work. This is especially true for those of us with non-conventional careers that are often met with skepticism from friends and family who have chosen a more traditional professional path. In addition to all of these benefits, joining a professional network is one of the best ways to stay in tune with opportunities and resources that are available to those in your field of work. Professional networks also allow us to extend the legacies we hope to establish as creatives by allowing students to find mentorship and a roadmap to becoming working (and successful!) creative.
Here are five organizations – spanning a multitude of industries – that are working to establish equity for Black creatives:
Founder Melissa Kimble has grown what started as a Twitter hashtag into an organization that works to “create sustainable pathways to resources for Black creatives.” The organization’s main vehicle is a newsletter, which offers job opportunities, insight, and other creative resources. Keeping in line with its mission to “keep smart, talented, and skillful Black creatives from giving up on themselves,” #blkcreatives also emphasizes personal development and mental well-being across its blog and social platforms.
Founded in 2018, BAD Guild boasts a membership that includes professionals in Africa, the Caribbean, North America, and Europe, specializing in architecture, ceramics, fine art, furniture, interior design, and textiles. The organization aims to honor the ancestral legacy of Black people in art and design by cultivating leaders in these creative industries who can share resources, create opportunities and identify allyship to help our presence in those fields continue to grow.
Since 1997, BWFN has worked to prepare Black women for careers in film and television. The non-profit does this through film and educational programs that aim to empower, inform and support the work of women who are already in the film/TV world. Throughout the year, BWFN hosts a series of workshops and screenings as well as its annual Black Women Film Summit and BWFN Film Festival.
Born out of founder Imani Ellis’ apartment, The CCNYC is a part professional network, part creative agency. On the network side, the platform spotlights creatives across a variety of industries – from photography to tech to wellness – while also offering resources and job opportunities through its “Creative AF Careers” board. On the agency front, The CCNYC partners with brands like Nike and HBO to not only place their products in front of influencers and creatives of color but employ those very influencers and creatives to get it done.
Black@INBOUND is a social networking group that gathers Black professionals across industries to connect and network. The group started as a hashtag on Twitter to accomplish one goal: help Devyn Bellamy – a marketer with debilitating social anxiety issues – build his professional network at one of the largest marketing events in the world. They hold monthly meetups, AMA events, and networking sessions devoted to growing black professionals and their social capital.
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