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"CultureCon" A Movement For The People By Our People

Short N Sweet Ent


Photo Credit: Something_light_media


When you look up the word “Culture” you come across many different definitions that would describe the way of life that includes art, beliefs, and institutions of a people that are passed down from generation to generation. Well, well, well “my culture” or should I say “black culture” has been around for centuries and has single handily been the structure of how the masses live their lives. People all around the globe are unfortunately treating the “black culture” as the latest trend but my people cannot be duplicated. For the most part, some people cannot describe what culture is because it lives in how we dress, how we talk, and most importantly it lives in our bloodlines.


 

On October 8th, CultureCon came back home to Brooklyn New York where hundreds of creatives, influencers, entrepreneurs, and game changers of people of color came out and celebrated our “culture” to the highest form. Imani Ellis, the founder, and CEO of CultureCon and The Creative Collective created a platform giving us space to freely be ourselves. This year there were two distinct stages, the Culture Stage and the Creator Workshop stage that included appearances by Gia Peppers, Chad Sanders, Angie Martinez, Lena Waithe, Elain Welteroth, Terrance J, Sidnee Michelle, Taraji P. Henson, Speedy Morman, Ryan Clarke, Phoebe Robinson, Tabitha Brown, Tracee Ellis Ross, and many more. This year CultureCon also partnered with major brands such as Jet Magazine, Audible, Nike, Conde Nast, Netflix, Toyota, Google TV, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, and the list goes on. Some of the topics that were discussed included, financial freedom, understanding contracts and protecting intellectual property, fashion and music trends, black storytelling, and building legacy and black wealth. One thing that I know for certain is that everyone came and showed out. Everywhere that I looked “the drip” was impeccable and the room was full of support and joy.

 

As more young professionals started to sprinkle into the early morning of CultureCon, the panels started to heat up and nuggets of knowledge started dropping drastically into the minds of the creators that waited on the edge of their seats to hear more jewels. The crowd erupted with excitement when award-winning journalist and author Elaine Welteroth introduced “the goat” Lena Waithe to the stage. Her presence in this industry as an actress, screenwriter, and producer has shifted our culture in a way that allows people of color to have a voice and use it to create change. As the conversation began to take off, Elaine Welteroth gave Lena Waithe her well-deserved flowers.


Photo Credit: Something_light_media


“I’m a fan of your work but I’m also a friend of yours in real life and there are very few people in this world that you meet when you know precisely that they are doing the exact thing that they were born to do and you are one of those few people my friend. You live, breathe, eat, and sleep this and this is what you are meant to do. It’s so inspiring to be around somebody like that”. Elaine Welteroth


During the conversation, Lena Waithe discussed her views on what it means to have company or community in the acting field.


Lena Waithe: Do you want company or do you want community? They are two very different things. It’s always good to know what you are surrounded by.


Elaine Welteroth: How do you define the difference?


Lena Waithe: Community is a give and take. Company you feel drained.


Elaine Welteroth: Creators in this “community” who want to be a part of the “Hillman Grad” community and need support that you are talking about, what do you want them to know?


Lena Waithe: I think it’s give and take as well. I think if someone thinks they could come up to a person who has gotten to a place and think they can give you something, you’ve already lost. It’s all about what you are willing to give.


Photo Credit: Something_light_media


 

As the day continued, the excitement in the room became heightened when comedian, writer, and producer Phoebe Robinson came to the stage and introduced the one-and-only award-winning superstar actress, activist, and director Tracee Ellis Ross. The queen has been in this game for years and has made an impact on our culture that will last forever. When speaking about her newest docuseries “Hair Tales” which can be exclusively watched on OWN and Hulu, Ross expressed how passionate she is about shedding light on the black women’s experience in our society.


She stated, “our stories, our history, and where we come from is decontextualized. We don’t have any context. We don’t have any connections to each other. We wanted a place where we could find the joy and celebration of who we are and use hair as a metaphor for our humanity. “Hair Tales” is a celebration.


Phoebe Robinson: Hair Tales, do you want to bring everyone together but really bring black women together in a way that we are truly celebrated?


Tracee Ellis Ross: It’s a show that’s about black women for everyone but the deal is that our hair is like a portal into our souls. It is political. It is economics. It is cultural. It is all of those things. What we are doing is giving context to our stories. Each episode is centered around the notable guest, Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, Chika, Oprah, and many others. We go into salons and “kee-kee” with people getting their hair done and the hair believers. Those women and people who work on our hair on a weekly base are here to help us to love our hair because they have the expertise on how to dive in.


Photo Credit: Something_light_media


Everyone has that childhood story of that moment, that “hair tale” when they discovered and saw themselves in relation to how the world saw them and the shame they faced of realizing that who you authentically are is not necessarily the way the world sees you. It was these threads of experiences that really moved me. I connected to this vast community of black women. Your crown is not just about your hair, it’s the way you wear your identity, culture, and legacy and that’s something that we all share.


 

As CultureCon begin to come to a close, they ended with a very special panel that was full of luminaries. The “Content Queen” Danielle Young came to the stage and introduced Meagan Good, Kendrick Sampson, and Jamal Henderson to tell their stories in Hollywood.



The biggest takeaway moment of the night came during this exact moment!


Danielle Young: What gets you up in the morning and what pushes you through your day, especially when it gets tough?


Meagan Good: God gets me up in the morning and the fact that I get to do something that I love to do. There are a million talented, beautiful, amazing, and incredible people but I get to do this. When I have those days when it gets really tough it’s really about perspective. At the end of the day, this is a day of my life that I would never get back so I have to choose and be intentional about it being the best day it can be. Enjoying the people who are around me and even those who get on my nerves, I have to choose how I want to digest this day and how I can make it the best day it could possibly be.



One might ask why this was the biggest moment of the night and to me, it is because sometimes we sit at home and watch our favorite celerity and forget for a moment that they are human too. It is important to understand that yes, we too might want to be in their position and or get some of the same opportunities that they have but it is about taking care of yourself throughout this life journey. Taking a moment to breathe and appreciate what you do have and push yourself when it gets hard is motivation on its own. The time that we have is priceless and we have all the time to make magical creations within our respective fields but how we take care of ourselves comes first.


Photo Credit: Something_light_media


We are all very excited to see what comes next for CultureCon. This year was a huge success and we wish everyone on the team many more wins in the future.


Until next post… Coach Tay