By NaTyshca Pickett
The 3rd Annual Digital Fashion Summit hosted by Harlem’s Fashion Row took place February 12 – 18. Since 2007, Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) has been promoting people of color in Fashion. Founded by Brandice Daniel, Harlem’s Fashion Row’s goal is to create a bridge between retailers and designers of color in fashion through brand strategy, collaborations, experiential marketing, recruiting and pipeline programs.
The Digital Fashion Summit celebrates the enduring influence of Black people in fashion. The panelists consisted of Tommy Hilfiger, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s BAZAAR, Samira Nasr, Sergio Hudson, Tom Ford and many more. The theme of the summit was Moving Beyond the Black Box – A New Conversation About Race and Fashion.
This event was created for all to come together in the industry to discuss strategies that will help them move forward with racial equity. According to Daniel, “there is work that needs to be done and I believe that we are up for the challenge.”
Daniel has been discussing race in fashion since she started HFR. “This is a conversation that we need to have, it’s an uncomfortable conversation, but it is needed,” Daniel stated.
On the panel with Tommy Hilfiger and Randy Cousin, the Senior Vice President of Product Concept, and The People’s Place Program at Tommy Hilfiger; they discussed how Hilfiger groomed and mentored many Black designers throughout his career. “When I started school in the 70s, I always told myself that when I come across someone I believe in, regardless of their skin color, how much money they had, or social-economic background, I will open the doors for that person to do what I possibly can to help them,” Hilfiger stated.
One well known designer who has been mentored by Hilfiger is Romeo Hunte. Hunte’s clothing has appeared on celebrities such as Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Laverne Cox, as well as athletes such as Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul.
The People’s Place Program, founded by Hilfiger, was born out of the need for social change and inclusion of Black, Indigenous and people of color in fashion. “The People’s Place Program will amplify our mission to dedicate resources to underrepresented people who are so important to the fashion landscape and giving them a true platform for their talent to shine,” said Cousin.
The three pillars of the program consist of Partnership and Representation, Career Access, and Industry Leadership. “When I’m asked about what change looks like in the industry, I reference The People’s Place Program because it has clear goals and dollars that are designated to meet those goals in a way to move forward and develop longevity,” Daniel added. “I think every brand should create a program and follow through with it. I don’t want to be the only one doing it and I hope to inspire them all to do it,” Hilfiger stated.
In the Fireside Chat with Designer Sergio Hudson, he shares his journey in the fashion industry and what life has been like since dressing Mrs. Michelle Obama and Madame Vice President Kamala Harris.
Hudson started his designing journey at an incredibly young age. He stated that he was influenced by his mother, who was a designer, and his sister who was a model. His mother would design clothes for his sister to model for different fashion shows. Much of his influence comes from designers in the late 80s to early 90s. Hudson stated as a child, he would watch Elsa Klensch from CNN’s weekly fashion and design television program, CNN Style, which ran from 1980 to 2001.
Some of the challenges that Hudson faced as a designer was financing. “It’s easy when you come out of college and you want to do any and everything and make clothes for everyone, but when you change your direction and want to become a custom designer and want to put out a collection, money does become an issue” Hudson stated.
Another challenge Hudson faced was the misconception of him wanting to be an American Sportswear Designer and being a person of color. “When I went into meetings with buyers, they didn’t expect me to create dainty dresses or tailored suits. They expected me to make hoodies and sweatshirts and things of that nature,” Hudson said.
Hudson had a realization of the discrimination when he would meet with different buyers and boutiques for his clothing and would often be met with the stereotype that he should design urban clothing instead of the high fashion designs he created and loved. “Growing up and loving fashion and being obsessed with it, you never realize that there are blockades until you enter the industry,” Hudson expressed.
Despite the pushback, Hudson’s love for the industry allowed him to keep his focus on creating and growing his custom brand.
In fall 2016, Hudson moved to LA with his collection where he put out his collection and was ready for production. From there, he received many opportunities that catapulted his career. His first big moment came when he created a jumpsuit for Kendall Jenner’s 20th birthday party and when Jennifer Lopez wore a leopard dress from his brand’s Fall 2018 collection.
Hudson stated that his hope for designers of color is that they be labeled as designers and not Black designers. “I want the end goal for it to be normal that a Black designer is a designer. It needs to be common that a Black person is a designer with a legacy brand,” Hudson said.
This summit was full of insightful conversation, wisdom nuggets and action plans to get the ball rolling for effective change to happen in the fashion industry and designers of color.
“As we move forward, I want for us to consider hiring and retaining people of color. I really believe that in the fashion industry we can inspire so many others by what we do to improve social justice. As we include more Black and Brown people in our leadership, it will be the catalyst in this industry,” Daniel stated.
To learn more and to stay connected with Harlem’s Fashion Row, please be sure to follow on Instagram @harlemfashionrow and check out the website at www.harlemsfashionrow.com.
I am waking up bright and early at 4:45 every morning first giving thanks to God, as I breath in the great air that I am blessed to breathe. I turn over to kiss the man that I love so dear with all my heart because he is the completion of my perfection. He is strong, loving, caring, respectful, and God’s gift to me. I begin my perfect day by working out in two great ways, (wink wink). I shower and then sit in my home office that is bright and breath taken to walk into every day.
I sit at my computer and begin writing. Either some erotic poetry, life related poetry, or just something silly. Really doesn't matter. I begin writing more pieces to the next novel as I am to have a new book a year to keep my audience coming back and wanting to read more. I then go into the kitchen and whip up some breakfast for my daughter as she has to soon get up to prepare for her school day. I wake her up and as she sits to eat we have our mommy daughter time to help us both feel empowered throughout our day. I see her off to school, come back into the kitchen make sure the coffee is hot and his food is warm as I awake my King. See him off to work with a smile.
I begin my work day with looking at caseloads and see the clientele list that has grown from two to three clients to hundreds of clients. Smiling as I get to help people that are seeking truth and are not able to gather all the facts needed to help them navigate through their own lives as they seek answers. I am such a powerful and talented Private Investigator people from all over the world hire my company for their investigative needs. I am an inspirational author and poet that women (and men) want to read and hear from me because I am stirring up something within them.
I am doing what God has called me to do by being the best Mother, Wife, Gma, Sister, Daughter, Soror and Friend. Also being an exceptional PI, author, poet and woman that serves God while helping and serving others. I am able to travel the world making millions and still maintain my integrity, my dignity, sexuality and my spirituality as I build this God fulfilled LEGACY.
By Cynnamon Brown
The seeds were planted, they were strategically scattered, upon solid ground. Being nurtured, and loved. The spirit was rooted on good soil. It grew through the concrete. Its as delicate as a pretty tulip, that's annually bought to life.
Yet telling one how they should be, when the cool breeze blows.
You're taken for a ride on a natural high. Borderline savage. Not grown, just to be thinking average thoughts. As my mind runs deep its roots seem to take flight. As the leaves fall, its almost autumn.
Seasons change, just want to be happy, sharing love around the world, being that kind of human being, rooted within a special type of perfection. Loving thyself, before loving anyone else, makes life so serene.
Summer ends, Fall is coming, orange, brown, leaves covers the pavement. As the seeds blow, some deeper in the dirt. Rooted feelings begin to surface. One always remembers. Love Thyself as you're planted within the confines of your mind.
Emotions take flight, black faces in the night. When you are secure, and knows how your blessings flow, rooted into your soul, on solid ground in good soil. Everyday is a blessing, with flaws too, you know... however continue to grow, beautifully rooted, in GOD'S love.
A few weeks ago, I took a leap of faith and stepped out of my comfort zone.
Growing up, I have always dealt with fear and I am currently learning how to not allow anxiety and overthinking take over me. I was searching online for writing internships and I could not come across anything I found an interest in. I then realized that I may need to invest into an online subscription with Black Girls in Media. Black Girls in Media is an online subscription, networking organization for Minority women of color in the media industry, founded by Tasha McCaskiel. At first when deciding if I wanted to subscribe, I was hesitant because I was setting myself on a budget and wondered what this platform would get me that I could not find anywhere else. Little did I know this investment was one of the best decisions I could have made, it allowed me to be a part of a network of female entrepreneurs and phenomenal women in media. As a result, I was able to discover a post to write for this blog.
I want to thank NaTyshca Pickett, the founder of Arizona Coffea Magazine and this Blog, Coffea Topics, for seeing the potential in my writing. I had never written for a blog before, but I saw the opportunity and went after it. I have always wanted to write but due to fear, I held back. Over the last two years, I have been writing as a screenwriter for my web series titled ‘Risen8theSeries’, I am currently working on releasing. I knew God had been telling me to blog for a while but as I mentioned, I had always crippled with fear.
My advice is if you see an opportunity to go for it. When I applied, I didn't have any blog samples, but I reached out to NaTyshca and she informed me I could still apply with two writing samples. It was out of my comfort zone, but I knew I needed to face my fears. With hard work, doing research on blogging, and prayer I was able to produce two blog samples. Now the process was not smooth, I would overthink what I wanted to write, how I wanted to write, and then I realized I simply just needed to write. Once I allowed my thoughts to flow from what was on the inside of me the writing came out naturally.
As I mentioned earlier, I had been perfecting my craft as I screenwriter for the last two years. Screenwriting is about developing characters, a plot, and creating a world that will transition onto the screen. Blogging, on the other hand, is different, it's a different structure but as I started to write I realized I was sharing my story and what I felt passionate about which is similar to when I would screen-write. Blogging allows me to use my voice in a way I had never done before. It was as if I was writing in a journal for the world to see.
I would also often overthink how would people consider me as a writer, I knew I could screen write but could I transition into blogging. Those were questions I would constantly ask myself as I would brainstorm and start working on my writing samples. Which I realized was a form of overthinking. According to Merriam-Webster, overthinking is to think too much about (something): to put too much time into thinking about or analyzing (something) in a way that is more harmful than helpful.
I was allowing the fear of the unknown to determine my outcome, which I later found out it was only holding me back from reaching my true potential. With this being my first blog piece, I am still finding my niche and voice as a writer. However, with time and consistency, I know it will come. Have you ever thought wow this task/assignment will be hard to accomplish? But when you try it out you later realize that wasn’t so bad? That’s how I felt when I finished my blog samples. I am currently taking that experience and learning to apply it to all parts of my life. I am growing and learning every day how I can allow my faith to be bigger than my fears. I hope as you read how I was able to face my fears it encourages you to choose faith over fear! “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe”. (Saint Augustine)
Here are some ways you can get over your fear and choose faith!
1. Just start, and do not look back! Do not allow procrastination to get the best of you. What you can do today, do not put it off until tomorrow. I know that statement is easier said than done because I am currently working on applying this to my life. But ask yourself some questions. What is the purpose behind this? How will I make an impact? What are the short term and long term affects this will have on my life?
2. Write out what your goals are and pick the ones you want to accomplish first. Some advice I was given by one of my mentors, Nikki Brown Walker, is Dream big! Don’t limit your goals but prioritize what goals you want to tackle first so you can start seeing results. As someone who gets overwhelmed this method works best for me.
3. Get into a network/community of people where you can build personal and professional relationships with. Social media has a lot of online communities such as Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
4. Watch inspirational podcasts or online videos and read books that will help you reach your goals!
A scripture that always sticks out to me when I am becoming anxious or dealing with fear is 2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline”.
Please share how you have conquered faith over fear.
Black Owned Restaurants in Arizona
We are honored to have a platform that allows us to showcase these great establishments throughout Arizona. Although our numbers are few in the state, the Black community is making amazing strides.
We would love to have featured all of the amazing restaurants in Arizona. In our research, we have found that we have plenty well known and hidden gems in the state that are Black owned. Here is the list of some of those restaurants below.
Please note: This is not a comprehensive list of all of the Black owned restaurants in Arizona, as there are constant changes in the restaurant scene.
Alafia West African Cuisine 1040 N Swan Rd Tucson, AZ 520-331-7161
BXQ Bodega Metro Wildcat 501 1 N. Park Ave Tucson, AZ www.bqbodega.com
Cedde Jamaican Kitchen 5305 E. Speedway BLVD 520-759-3400 www.ceedeecafe.com
Cotton Family BBO Food Truck Tucson, AZ
D'S Island Grill JA 3156 E. Fort Lowell Rd Tucson, AZ www.dislansgrill.com
DA Boots BBQ Shot 1830 S. Park Ave Tucson, AZ 520-347-5169
Hush Social Club 1112 S. Wilmot Rd Tucson, AZ 520-747-1559
Mr. Cookmans BBQ & Soul Food Food Truck Tucson, AZ
Mr. K's Original BBQ 6302 S. Park Ave Tucson, AZ 520-792-9484
Nur Market & Restaurant 3565 E. Speedway BLVD #171 Tucson, AZ 520-881-6333 www.nurmarketaz.com
The Red Light Lounge at the Downtown Clifton Hotel 485 S. Stone Ave Tucson, AZ 520-623-3163 downtowntucsonhotel.com/redlightlounge
Smokey Mo 2650 N First Ave Tucson, AZ 520-203-8250 www.smokeymo.com
Zemam's & Zemam's Too 2731 E. Broadway Blvd & 119 E. Speedway Blvd Tucson, AZ www.zemamsrestaurants.com
Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe 808 E Jefferson St. Phoenix, AZ 85034
JL Smokehouse 1712 E. Broadway Rd Phoenix, AZ 85040 602-620-5132 http://www.jlsmokehouse.com/
Honey Bear's BBQ 2824 N. Central Ave Phoenix, AZ 85004
ATL Wings 3320 W. Southern Ave Unit 120 Phoenix, AZ 85041 www.atlwings.com/
Ezekiel's 4825 E. Warner Rd Phoenix, AZ 85044 https://ezekielsaz.com/
Rhema Soul Cuisine 1153 E. Jefferson St. Unit 1 Phoenix, AZ 85043
Mingo's Louisiana Kitchen 3424 W Southern Ave #180, Phoenix, AZ 480-540-7872 https://mingoslouisianakitchen.com/
Stacy's Off Da Hook BBQ and Soul Food 1804 W Glendale Ave, Phoenix, AZ, 85021 602-242-1922 http://www.stacysaz.site/
Monroe's Hot Chicken Nashville Style 45 W. Jefferson St. Suite K Downtown Phoenix, AZ. 85003 602-872-7100 http://monroeshotchicken.com/
Island Sensation Cuisine 830 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014 602-279-5866 https://www.islandsensationcuisine.net/
Papa Joe’s Fish-N-Que 2019 W Bethany Home Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015 602-973-7003 https://www.papajoesfishnque.com/
Lolos Chicken and Waffles https://loloschickenandwaffles.com/
Café Lalibela 849 W University Dr. Tempe, AZ 85281 480.829.1939 https://www.cafelalibela.com/
The Original Pancake House 6840 East Camelback Road Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 480-946-4902 https://www.originalpancakehouse.com/
Caribbean Cuisine 6031 N 67th Ave Glendale, AZ 85301 www.caribbeancuisineaz.com
Caribbean Palm Restaurant and Bar 2125 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85257 480-947-4343
JJ's Grubshack www.jjsgrubbshack.com/
"One cannot think well, love well and sleep well if one has not dined well."
~ Virginia Woolf