Story By: Jessie Taylor
Featuring: Lakeithea Nicole Anderson
Nashville Design Week 2020
For LaKeithea Nicole Anderson, supporting BIPOC designers means bridging her two passions: community engagement and design. It all started with a childhood love of FUBU, the Black-owned brand that celebrates Black culture in all its creativity and power. That vision continues through LaKeithea’s PR agency, For Us. The Agency, in which she helps launch, establish, and grow Black-owned brands and talent. She’s also the Community Engagement Coordinator for Nashville Community Education. Nashville Design Week reached out to LaKeithea for her insight into supporting BIPOC designers.
“To connect with BIPOC designers, you should show up to where they are.”
How do we engage, encourage, and support the next generation of BIPOC designers?
To truly engage, encourage, and support the next generation of BIPOC designers, you must open your platforms for BIPOC designers to showcase their work and expertise. Many times, BIPOC are asked to discuss trauma-related incidents and Diversity. All too often we end up being asked to showcase who we are when there is trauma involved in the Black Community or when audiences are asking for more transparency from the organizations and communities they are part of. Encourage your team to dig into the work of BIPOC as the thought leaders, creatives, and the educated designers they are.
Often, organizations say they “don’t know many designers of color.”
This is a disconnect that stems from two places: (1) Not putting forth the effort to safely include BIPOC into the spaces they occupy. (2) Not showing up to where BIPOC are.
If the spaces you are in don’t have the representation and diversity you desire, you need to change the spaces you are in. To connect with BIPOC designers, you should show up to where they are, go to their events and showcases to see their work.
Lastly, talk to your teams about how to support the BIPOC designers that are already within your organizations. Think about the opportunities and training they are being offered. Are you nurturing and supporting BIPOC that are already within reach, are you utilizing their expertise? Are they having to jump through hurdles for opportunities? If you have BIPOC in your spaces that have been there for years, ask yourself why they are still not at your tables to help make decisions?
What educational materials do you suggest to the NDW community?
Is there a question you would like the NDW community to consider prior to your event?
What unconscious biases are you carrying, and how do those biases affect the way you connect with the BIPOC community?
When was the last time you have shown up for BIPOC community events to engage? How do you expect to diversify your brand if you are only in the same spaces?