By Ariyana Griffin.
Special to the AFRO

Hundreds gathered at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn, N.Y.  the weekend of Oct.7-8 to attend the sixth annual CultureCon. 

Nneka Oyigbo, of Boston, attends CultureCon to learn more about using social media effectively. (Photos by Ariyana Griffin)

In 2017, Imani Ellis changed the landscape of social media when she created CultureCon, a conference for Black creators to unite, collaborate and expand their platform. Over the course of six years, the event has grown exponentially, adding pop up experiences in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

This year marked the first time the convention was extended to two days.

“I was inspired because I didn’t see a place where Black and Brown creatives could authentically be ourselves. I thought that was so strange; I thought surely it had to exist. I can’t complain about something and not do something about it, so I never could have dreamt that Culturecon would be this large,” Ellis told the AFRO. “It just goes to show that we need each other, we need community, and we need spaces like this.”

Marsai Martin, the youngest producer in studio film history, attends CultureCon in New York. (Photos by Ariyana Griffin)

Business owners, fashion enthusiasts and more were ready to network, build community, attend activations and hear from industry vets about their experiences in their creative fields including performers. Various stages hosted major names and people who influenced the culture, such as Issa Rae, Teyana Taylor, Marsai Martin, Lola Brook, Tinashe and so many more, for attendees to collect gems.

“I love connecting with other Black creatives, networking and listening to the panelists. They really dropped some gems and jewels. As a creative myself, I am also eager to learn and grow,” said Amira Shaunice.

The presenting partner was Max, formerly known as HBO Max. Other major sponsors and partners this year included Shea Moisture, Walmart, Ciroc, American Express, Adidas, Tubi and Google. These companies hosted networking events and had on-site recruiters for people to speak to and learn about career opportunities that they had available. 

Amazon Prime had an interactive booth where people were able to listen to soundtracks from various movies and shows and even had a scavenger hunt if someone could find 5 easter eggs around the space from a show. There were several complimentary photo booths with professional photographers offering free headshots or photos. 

Dominique Garrett, 28, visits the “Big Apple” to enjoy the influencer conference. (Photos by Ariyana Griffin)

“All the activities and networking really inspired me to get out of my shell and share my work with more people. I am normally quiet but this space felt safe, especially knowing everyone here is some type of creative and we all have a common goal,” said Miracle Jones. 

Adidas had a space for people to wake up their creative juices and design a pair of sneakers using various materials such as rhinestones, paint, color pencils, markers and more. The best designs were selected, and the winners could design a physical pair of shoes on-site. 

“I really wanted to get influenced by other creatives, especially people of color, and it has been nothing but inspirational to see how people created their own personal brand online. It really motivated me into wanting to start making my own personal brand,” said Maryland native Adora Lee.

While this is the last CultureCon of the year, you can keep up with upcoming events on Instagram through the account @culturecon in preparation for next year. 

Ariyana Griffin is an AFRO intern from Morgan State University.