A heralded publication and an entertainment hub recently honored Black content creators with an intimate dinner celebrating their trendsetting work.
Taking place at the city’s Virgin Hotel, the event highlighted culture disruptors, tastemakers, and thought leaders who are actively making an impact and amplifying diverse voices across the entertainment industry.
Co-hosted by TikTok’s Kudzi Chikumbu, Director of Creator Community, and Shavone Charles, Head of Diversity & Inclusion Communications at TikTok, attendees included actress/ songstress CoCo Jones of Bel-Air fame…
Black Women Photographers founder Polly Irungu…
ESSENCE Ventures’ Senior Vice President of Creative, Corey T. Stokes…
TikTok’s Thee Muses…
and fellow TikTok standout Pierrah Hilaire.
Also on hand was travel, culture, and entertainment storyteller Tenille Clarke who reflected to fellow honoree/BOSSIP’s Managing Editor Dani Canada about the Visionary Voices dinner that included Black content creators like herself who represent Caribbean culture.
Clarke is proudly Trinidadian and the scribe said she felt honored to be one of several Caribbean creators in the room like ESSENCE’s Cheif Revenue Officer Pauline Malcolm-Thornton who has Jamaican roots.
“There are only 1.3 million people in our country and to be the only Trini in that room, it was a little bit surreal but I was also comforted by the idea of seeing other Caribbean creators in this space, like Pierrah Hilaire, and of course, Shavone Charles, who is the head of diversity and inclusion at TikTok, who is also Trini,” Clarke told BOSSIP.
“So I think it really was a very gentle, but reassuring reminder that there is space for black creators on the global landscape, but also recognizing the power of subcultures as well. The Caribbean is known for the sun, sea, and sand but not necessarily for other forms of creativity or forms of contributions to the Orange Economy beyond that. So I felt like it was a very important step and I felt that my TikTok and Essence collaborating to recognize the value of unity in the community is really a tell-tale sign of what is to come, not just for TikTok or not just for ESSENCE and ESSENCE Fest but what is to come from black creators,” the Chambers Media Solutions CEO added.
“We are the shapeshifters. We are the change-makers. We are the ones that set the trends and everyone else follows and it’s good to remind ourselves of that so we continue to challenge the way that we work as individuals, but also as a collective as well. There was no coldness or isolation. This space did not give you an opportunity for that. It was an instant hug immediately.”
In addition to Clarke, BOSSIP chatted with cultural commentator/ visual storyteller Kenny Williams Jr. who reflected on the gravity of assembling Black creatives into one room.
“It was an absolute honor to be acknowledged by ESSENCE and TikTok for my contributions to Black media,” said Williams. “However, the highest honor was being surrounded by so many of my game-changing peers who continue to inspire me on the daily. Black creativity is the gift that keeps on giving and I’m overjoyed to be celebrated with so many amazing Black creatives.”
Congratulations to this year’s honorees!
See more highlights from ESSENCE x TikTok’s Visionary Voices dinner below.