THE LAUNCH OF INAUGURAL 2020 JUNETEENTH IMAGE CAPSULE INSPIRED BY THE LEGACY OF LEGENDARY MUSIC EXECUTIVE ANDRE HARRELL
With 2020 marking the first time in its history that the country is moving toward a national recognition and celebration of Juneteenth as a holiday, media executive, author, and Columbia University lecturer Kai D. Wright is launching an annual Juneteenth Image Capsule and Blacklist 100, a unique digital initiative to ensure that every year will be an opportunity to celebrate Black culture and Blackness. The campaign will highlight an emerging visual artist who is sparking thought and conversation with their work as well each year release a digital book, “The Blacklist,” that contains 100 Black culture-makers & thought-leaders. In this inaugural year, Wright honors the memory of his mentor, the late culture innovator, and music executive Andre Harrell. With Harrell as inspiration for this inaugural year, Wright encourages the public to share positive, uplifting images of Black history and culture as part of the campaign.
In his compelling Op-Ed, Wright uses his experiences with Andre Harrell as a mentor to explore the impact of Black Culture and the importance of providing a platform for the next generation of culture makers.
Excerpt: Op-Ed for “A Celebration of Blackness on Juneteenth: A reflection on how to move ‘the culture’ forward”
If it wasn’t for Mary J Blige being “ghetto fabulous,” a phrase coined by Andre, then there wouldn’t be “classy, bougie, ratchet” Megan thee Stallion. Andre’s thumbprint on Black culture is extensive and continues to reverberate today. He understood that culture comes from communities – and the unified struggle among Black Americans deserved a platform to be shared, recognized, and celebrated.
In this social age, Black culture consistently breaks the internet and is the predominant export of American culture abroad — music, sports, entertainment, fashion, food, and beyond. Consider the past year, Black culture drove some of the biggest moments in American culture from the Renegade dance sweeping TikTok to #verzuz & #clubquarantine on Instagram Live garnering millions of streams to all things Black Twitter such as the chicken sandwich wars. Andre believed in the power of community, and social media has become a town square for culture-moving storytelling… one image, tweet, and post at a time…Andre Harrell’s impact on the lives of executives and music artists, specifically, ripples throughout industries. He was a uniter, a champion of Black thought, and a catalyst for culture. He’ll forever be remembered; and thus, let’s make new traditions to honor him.
Keep reading the full Op-Ed on Medium.
2020 Visual Artist Spotlight: Elizabeth ColombaThe 2020 visual artist to be featured is Elizabeth Colomba, a Harlem-based painter whose five selected works are intended to create a moment of recognition, education, and celebration for the accomplishments of hidden figures and stories. The powerful imagery depicted in the Old Masters’ style paintings illustrates two universal themes shown through Blackness – leisure (i.e., attainment of success & security) and prominence (i.e., first-of-their-kind achievements). The theme for the 2020 inaugural image collection is “Have you ever considered, there’s another side of history?”
Most recently, Ms. Colomba’s work has been featured in Vogue, The Cut, and the Met Opera Shorts; museums and collections of her work can be viewed at the Studio Museum, JP Morgan, Princeton Studio, and PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy for the Art). Ms. Colomba has also shown work at Swizz Beatz’ No Commission show at Art Basel.
The Blacklist The Blacklist was created to amplify emerging voices within the Black community — voices across industries that represent forward-thinking, culture-making thought-leadership. Each year, paired with Juneteenth, a digital book of 100 Black thought-leaders will be released. These individuals should be invited to virtual & physical stages to share their research, work, and point of view that has influenced and will continue to impact culture.
Individuals will be recognized in five categories:
- Media, Arts, & Entertainment
- Marketing, Communication, & Design
- Retail, Culinary, Manufacturing, Real Estate
- STEM & Healthcare
- Cause & Community
The list will be compiled based on invite-only recommendations from senior Black professionals, tastemakers, and thought-leaders plugged into who has a message made for this moment.
In this inaugural year, the Blacklist will be released to news media outlets, conference organizers, and event producers prior to July 4th weekend.
For this inaugural year, individuals are asked to participate in the campaign, honoring Andre Harrell and his inspirational message for the Black community, by sharing positive and uplifting images of Black history and culture using #CelebrateBlack. For more information, read on Medium.