Black Designers and Community Leaders Speak Out on Instagram

Black designers and community leaders share art, insights, and calls to action on Instagram. Follow @blackinteriordesignersnetwork and @badguild to learn more about how you can support the community.

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I’m queen of compartmentalization (and recognize the privilege of being able to do this now) but I’m SPENT. I went to 4 different job sites today and marveled at the wonderful work that my team and I are doing. And at the back of my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about everything going on in the world. Without justice, there is very little beauty in the world. I don’t need to say that black lives matter or any of the catchy phrases. I don’t need to say or prove anything about how worthy we are/I am to be treated as an equal. I’m spending the rest of the week hugging my child and hoping that there will be real change for her generation. Stay safe my friends.

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During these extremely difficult days (and sleepless nights) I’ve started to notice a lot of people I know (particularly my white design colleagues) suddenly posting quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King. Most of them seem to be about unity, love and nonviolence; hope, light, or even justice. Most of these quotes are “stock” images that one can google- typically a solid black background with a white font of easily readable size and style. Some have images of Dr. King himself superimposed, others contain romantic black and white images of people looking hopeful, harmonious and slightly reminiscent of the Hallmark cards I sometimes buy from CVS or Duane Reade. When I look at these posts, I feel briefly calmed: Cradle rocked. Relieved. Reassured. He or she gets it. Everything is going to be okay. But then I do what I usually do when I am intrigued by something on instagram. I go down the rabbit hole. I scroll through your page: Months and years of carefully curated pictures go by in a blur, vibrant and gorgeous interiors, lush fern gardens, adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, stylish and handsome friends and laughing children, beautiful Limoges place settings, colorful modern art and worldly inspiration. But then I scroll again, looking and searching for more quotes from Dr. King or black writers, authors, poets, playwrights, historians, paintings by black artists, black faces of close friends. But I can’t find any - except the other quote you posted on MLK Day in January three years ago, before you posted the most perfect and delicious looking lemon meringue pie i’ve ever seen. And then I start thinking about how much people love to romanticize the history (and harmony) of this country. I think about how Dr King was one of the most loved as well as the most condemned and reviled men in America. I start thinking about his harassment by the police, the FBI and ultimately his murder by a white man. And then I get angry all over again, unfollow you on instagram and go about my day. #blacklivesmatter

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Art is my therapy, and zen space. It’s one of the few spaces in my life where I have total control. The making process keeps me in a state of curiosity, always wanting to learn more. This curiosity is never limited to the materials, but rather inspires me to seek a deeper connection with myself and culture. I hope more people are eager to learn about Black people, our experiences and become better listeners. Listening to our truths, is a harder way to learn verses reading a book, because you can always close a book and walk away. If you are listening, it’s difficult to ignore the sounds of a community pleading for, respect, support, opportunities and acknowledgement, and do nothing to help. Listen to Black people when they tell you how they feel, don’t interrupt, doubt it or interject with self serving stories. We don’t need you to relate, we need you to #listen.

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As an artist putting a mirror out their in hope that fragments of the answers will be reflected back at me #AreYouYou

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Today, my book “This Is What I Know About Art” is out in the world. For @TeenVogue, I wrote about why art is an essential tool of resistance. In the piece I write, “art, and more broadly the world of culture, can help us to better see and understand our own subjectivity. At its best, art can be a pathway to worlds far, far away and a compass for making sense of exactly where we are right now. This week, as protesters across America join forces to say no to police brutality, it is artwork: illustrations, graphics, and portraiture, that help folks to organize, coordinate, and fight back. It’s offerings by artists like @ashlukadraws, @itsmonicatrinidad, @vientoxsol and others that will light up our social media feeds and aid us in saying that we are here and we’ve had enough.” ???????

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@wholefoods @target @shopmedmen @walmart @saks @sephora @netaporter @barnesandnoble @homedepot I am asking you to commit to buying 15% of your products from Black owned businesses. . So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space. . Whole Foods if you were to sign on to this pledge, it could immediately drive much needed support to Black farmers. Banks will be forced to take them seriously because they will be walking in with major purchase orders from Whole Foods. Investors for the very first time will start actively seeking them out. Small businesses can turn into bigger ones. Real investment will start happening in Black businesses which will subsequently be paid forward into our Black communities. . Dont get me wrong, I understand the complexities of this request. I am a business Woman. I have sold millions of dollars of product over the years at a business I started with $3500 at a flea market. So I am telling you we can get this figured out. This is an opportunity. It is your opportunity to get in the right side of this. . So for all of the ‘what can we do to help?’ questions out there, this is my personal answer. #15PercentPledge . I will get texts that this is crazy. I will get phone calls that this is too direct, too big of an ask, too this, too that. But I don’t think it’s too anything, in fact I think it’s just a start. You want to be an ally? This is what I’m asking for.

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Asthetique is a company built of two diametrically opposed designers with a unified vision of deliberately blending polarizing styles and practices to craft designs and share them with the world. The very earth we live on was developed through the exchange of ideas, cultures, and religions. The notion that one culture, race, ideology, or skin color is superior is not only a figment of the imagination but also a blatant disregard of our ancestors efforts to eliminate this debilitating disease called racism and prejudice. As a company we stand by justice, we stand by unification, we stand by equal rights because without it, we as a company would simply cease to exist. . . RIP to George Floyd and the millions of other souls that have perished due to ignorance. Share this post because this isn’t just an American problem, its a problem in almost every country in the world. Together, we will always stand. #georgefloyd ?????????????????????????

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Loves of my life. Our Lives Matter. #blackouttuesday???????????????????????????

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These past few days have been a whirlwind. When I feel anxious, I will clean or I will go for a super long walk. It helps to clear my head & allow me to think about next steps. Now that America is FINALLY awake. I am watching the dialogue happening between folks. I’m watching how uncomfortable it is for America to stand in my shoes. I am watching folks finally see themselves in the mirror & realize...it’s NOT pretty. Now is the time to do the work & REALLY marinate in how it feels. Growth comes from being uncomfortable when you REALLY put in the work. Please understand the time is NOW. Be the change that you want to see in the world. Be the change that will tell racists that they have no place in this world. Be the change that God has placed in you. Now that you know better. Do better. We are watching.????????? •????????? •????????? •????????? •????????? #nolipservice #humanityhasnotimeforracism #whenyouseeus #knowbetterdobetter

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I am not okay. I’m not okay because he is not okay. Because one day in the not too distant future I will have to explain to him that some segment of the population think his life is expendable. That those that are there to protect and serve are actually threatened by his very presence. And that even with lots of role playing and explanation it might not save his life. And if it’s caught on camera, even in broad daylight, there is a strong chance that the perpetrator will never be arrested or sentenced. This is America 2020. This or some form of it has been going on for centuries. WAKE UP. You want to help. MAKE IT STOP. STOP LETTING THEM KILL US. . . . #stopkillingblackpeople #colorofchange #blackdesigner

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#blacklivesmatter

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