Milan – The Italian Afro Fashion Association is holding the inaugural edition of the Black Carpet Awards during February’s Milan Fashion Week from February 22 to 28.
The association, which has promoted diversity, equity and inclusion since 2015 and showcases diverse talent focused on the African continent, will host a gala on February 22 at an as-yet-undisclosed location, where 10 awards will be presented to 10 in five categories. Transformational leaders from underrepresented communities.
“Throughout my career, I have met people and businesses who challenge the perception and write the history of DE&I in the country. I thought to honor them. Because celebration is a fundamental form of representation,” says Michele Francine Ngonmo, owner of Afro Fashion Association and produced in Italy with designers Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan. WAMI Collective, which recently participated in the Milan Fashion Week shows.
The Afro Fashion Association’s database of 3,000 professionals and talents was included in the 25 finalists. An international jury will select 10 winners in five categories: culture, heritage, innovation, community and entrepreneurship. Speaking of the latter category, Ngonmo said, “Diversity is often presented as a virtue when in fact it is a driver of wealth.”
While the seminal edition will focus on Italian-based personalities, businesses and associations in fashion, design, food, music, sports and cinema, among other fields, who have contributed to the establishment of new cultural and entrepreneurial paradigms in the country, Ngonmo’s aim is to expand the event’s reach internationally. .
The event will include a projection of a video tribute to the late Virgil Abloh, a long-time supporter of the Association and Ngonmo’s work.
The project is the result of ongoing discussions with other like-minded professionals who have been drawn to the Afro Fashion Association over the years.
In addition to Buchanan and Jean, Ngonmo also engaged social media personality Tamu McPherson; art and fashion curator and digital artist Gloria Maria Cappelletti; Jordan Anderson, Milan-based journalist and creative director from My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness, or MQBMBQ, a digital project; Art Director Macs Iotti; Ghanaian-born, Italian-based designer Nana Brenu, as well as head of editorial content at Vogue Italia Francesca Ragazzi and Ns founder and CEO Walter D’Aprile.
“Diversity is about sitting around the table and discussing against representation,” Ngonmo said. “I hope this project breaks down walls and barriers and helps to understand the importance of building relationships and working together to write the history of DE&I,” she said.