The "All Black Everything Summit" was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. When stay-at-home orders first went into effect, I started to do an Instagram Live series called "Conversations with Global Pros" on my personal account as a way to stay motivated and engage with my community. As a full-time professional makeup artist used to being out and about, it was clear I would be stuck at home for the foreseeable future, and my work had come to a halt. The series started to take off and was doing very well. More importantly, I was having fun and the DMs I was receiving made it obvious my followers were enjoying the content, too.
While continuing to work on "Conversations with Global Pros," I kept thinking about how the pandemic would ultimately affect Black people in the creative field. I knew it would affect us in a disproportionate way, and I wanted to find a constructive way to help combat it. That's when the "All Black Everything Summit" was born. I was already producing an engaging, inspiring series on my own channel, so why not turn it into something even bigger and better?
When we look at American culture and analyze it, it's hard not to see the influence of Black culture within this rich history. Because Black history is American history.
I decided to spearhead a virtual summit. The undertaking was huge and has since turned into my life's passion project. Initially, my goal for the first three-day summit, which took place in May, was to gather Black thought leaders within the beauty industry and host them on the platform to discuss ways to come out on top when the doors opened back up. I invited photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, creative directors, influencers, and more to inspire and motivate our people into action during one of the craziest times of our lives.
But little did anyone know that George Floyd's murder would take place just a few weeks later, sending this country into a tailspin. Looking back, it was sort of a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Now, my vision for All Black Everything is creating a space that empowers Black artists both creatively and economically, ensuring that Black artists are negotiating from a position of power and strength. We need to feel like we deserve to be on the same playing field as our White counterparts. Over the years, I've found that we can sometimes get in our own heads about our worth and what we should ask for because society has made us feel less than, but I want us to throw that old narrative, record player, whatever you want to call it, out of the window. It's time for change and the time is now. UNAPOLOGETICALLY.
I was already producing an engaging, inspiring series on my own channel, so why not turn it into something even bigger and better?
Through All Black Everything, I am creating real, actionable steps for Black artists to take charge and create their own future. Another goal of mine? Do away with what I call the "gatekeeper mentality," which often makes people think that they need to go through someone to get somewhere and I say, NO MORE! That ideology is being challenged by the summit. My goal is to build a table AND bring chairs for others to partake in the knowledge. My goal is also to build up the community so that they can, in turn, build their own tables and chairs.
During and after the first All Black Everything Summit, I received messages from people all over the world telling me that they were so inspired and, most importantly, that they were doing something about their inspiration. It's definitely okay to be inspired, but did you do anything to move the needle? To find out that participants did made it all worth it to me. It is what makes me want to keep going. This message is too important to stop now.
My goal is to continue this initiative with actual actionable steps like providing resources, guides, and summits for the Black community and beyond. I am committed to this because my goal in life is to find a way for us, Black people, to heal from this generational trauma and any trauma that tells you that you are not worthy. And I'm tired of us feeling like we don't deserve to live a life worth living. My goal and allegiance is no longer to brands in trying to help them understand our world (even though that understanding is a part of the puzzle) but it is to my fellow Black creator. I want us to be prepared when opportunity comes knocking.
It's definitely okay to be inspired, but did you do anything to move the needle?
When we look at American culture and analyze it, it's hard not to see the influence of Black culture within this rich history. Because Black history is American history. Black creators help shape imagery in all fronts within culture, and because of that, we need to be respected and paid accordingly. Our contributions need to be valued and most importantly monetized. Out of this monetization comes liberation on all fronts. Please know that this movement is not about a handout. This is about placing value on a person's work and paying them accordingly.
It will create a domino effect. This is the time. Seize this very moment and don't look back, but don't forget to pay it forward.
WRITTEN BYJoy Fennell