CultureCon, America’s ultimate creative homecoming, lived up to its name during a sold-out event in New York City with some of the industry’s top leaders and changemakers of color. The event, held at the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, boasted a star-studded lineup of heavy hitters like Issa Rae, Jharrel Jerome, Marsai Martin, Teyana Taylor, Ziwe and more. Nearly 6,500 young professionals, entrepreneurs and creatives attended this year’s marquee event by The Creative Collective NYC.
Imani Ellis, CEO & Founder of CultureCon and The Creative Collective NYC, is the visionary behind the iconic event that first launched in NYC back in 2019. The event was birthed out of her one-bedroom apartment before quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing celebrations for Black creatives. And for the Black women like me who attended CultureCon, seeing Ellis’ vision come to life was magical.
One of my favorite parts of CultureCon was getting to talk to other attendees about what the two-day event means to them. Akua DeGannes, of East Orange, New Jersey, attended her first-ever CultureCon this year and said that she really appreciated how thoughtful and friendly the staff were –– especially in the midst of a packed crowd.
“CultureCon has become a staple for Black Culture by giving us the opportunity to express our individuality through style, talent and personality amongst each other,” DeGannes told Unbothered. DeGannes is a 29-year-old hair stylist who also owns a women’s boutique and 360 photo booth company. She believes that the event created a safe space for her that made her feel celebrated, included and recognized as a Black woman.
The conference held skill-building workshops, thought-provoking panel discussions and its first-ever career fair with a diverse group of high-profile talent, hosts, media professionals and social media influencers, including Lola Brooke, Lala Milan, Jayda Cheaves, Aaliyah Jay and more. Additionally, CultureCon curated culinary delights at a Resy Dining Hall from a variety of beloved Black-owned restaurants across the New York City area, including Chef Kwame’s Patty Palace, Aunts et Uncles and Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken.
Tadia Toussaint, a New York City-based music artist and TV/film producer, attended her first CultureCon, and believes the event helped her professional growth as a multi-faceted creative who works across industries, saying it was reminiscent of finding her “tribe.”
“I enjoyed being in a space with my fellow creatives, community organizers, movers and shakers. I left this weekend so renewed and inspired,” Toussaint said.
Many CultureCon attendees left feeling just as rejuvenated, encouraged and creatively stimulated, including photographer Lami Amoky. Amoky stresses that the event is pivotal for helping bridge the gap between African-American professionals, creators, and entrepreneurs, adding that it encourages the community to build our own opportunities as well. “The thing I enjoyed most was the amazing opportunity to connect with other Black creators in a space that was created for us to be ourselves, freely," said Amoky. "It was truly inspiring to be there.”