On June 5, Okou and Albury launched the Where are the Black Designers? Instagram account, where they announced an initiative that would kick off with a virtual event on June 27, building upon the work of Holmes-Miller, Cherry and others.
Upon launch, registrations quickly surged past the original capacity.
“The response has been absolutely massive,” Albury and Okou say. “When the original planning for this event began, our greatest hopes were to have 100–200 people attend. Now, a few days out from the event, we have over 10,000 registered attendees. While we were originally overwhelmed, the more voices we hear from, the more sense it makes that so many designers want to be involved. This is an opportunity for our industry to take a step in the right direction and acknowledge that in the past this has not been an inclusive space.”
The event is set to run from 12–5 p.m. ET Saturday. The programming, which Albury and Okou say flows from education to action, includes panels on such topics as design education, allyship and “what’s next?” and features Okou, Vanessa Newman, Raja Schaar, Naj Austin, Dori Tunstall, Christina Harrington, Antionette Carroll, Jasmine Burton, Chris Livaudais, Kennedi Johnson, Sandy Speicher, Shabnam Kashani, Elaine Lopez and Lindsay Logan. The virtual session concludes with a set by legendary DJ collective Underground Resistance.
When Okou and Albury announced Where Are the Black Designers?, they also posted a call for posters expressing the vital question central to their initiative—and it has since generated hundreds of brilliant works. Some follow below. Head to the official account to see many, many more.
*Stay tuned for an all-new piece from Holmes-Miller on PRINT soon.