Imani Ellis (@imaniimani) and the Creative Collective NYC (@theccnyc) are bringing CultureCon, the record breaking conference for creatives and change makers of color, straight to the A. We caught up with the Atlanta-born founder about why ATL is joining the illustrious ranks of New York and L.A. as a CultureCon home.
Tell me a bit about CultureCon.
CultureCon began in my one-bedroom apartment in Harlem with 10 friends who shared a vision to build a community, support one another’s dreams and assemble a collaborative space for other creatives of color. The heart of CultureCon is to empower multicultural creatives and create a brave space for creatives of color to be themselves, to be supported and to be celebrated. This passion and vision have evolved into our first-ever three-city CultureCon tour, due to the help of a fearless team and the undeniable need for such a space to exist.
What inspired you to create CultureCon?
We just saw there was an appetite for a conference built by creatives of color for creatives of color. We got tired of begging to have a seat at this table, so we decided to build our own. People want to feel represented because representation makes us feel seen, feel heard and feel connected. It is so important for creatives of color to connect, and we want them to have a space where they not only feel safe, they feel brave too.
Why is Atlanta a great fit for CultureCon?
Atlanta is at the pulse of culture; its vibrancy, diversity and sheer talent is inimitable. It is also my hometown, my original inspiration and a well of strength and identity. It feels so full circle to bring CultureCon home, and it is no coincidence that it is the first stop. You can’t truly celebrate Black culture and leave Atlanta out of the conversation. It was important to share CultureCon with the city that has played such a pivotal role in my life and ultimately the culmination of CultureCon.
What will CultureCon Atlanta entail this year?
CultureCon Atlanta includes both the conference and CultureCon Week. The conference will feature inspiring conversations, skill-building workshops, interactive activations and the opportunity to shop at the Small Business Market. Leading up to CultureCon, guests will be invited to attend CultureCon Week—an offering of exclusive events, workshops, parties and experiences leading up to the big weekend.
How often do you get back to Atlanta these days? Any favorite places to frequent in town?
My parents and sister still live there so I try to go back as much as I can. I really love Twisted Soul, South City Kitchen, Spice House and Jeni’s Ice Cream. I also have become obsessed with all the antique furniture shops in Atlanta and taking time to walk on the BeltLine. You can be as social or as stay-at-home cozy as you want to be in Atlanta—there’s something for everyone.
Where do you see CultureCon in five years?
CultureCon was built for creatives of color by creatives of color, with a mission to create brave spaces where creatives can be seen, and to provide resources that lead to economic freedom, creative liberty and unprecedented access. My hope for CultureCon is to continue to grow and continue to spark the ideas of the next generation of creatives in cities and counties across the globe.
Photography by: Photo by Kvle Johson