I’m thrilled to be sharing the newest edition of Belle Lumiere Magazine that features my gorgeous couple Alexis and Aaron. I’m thrilled to see publications showcasing that black love matters.
Before I start, I’d like to thank my friend Keosha of Eventual Concepts for her contribution to this blog post and for always being open to hard conversations with me.
2020 was a hard year. In a lot of ways, it was one of the most pivotal for wedding businesses. With postponements, and even some cancellations, my year looked so much different than I expected it to. In hindsight, I’m thankful for the lessons of such a challenging year.
The biggest lesson was opening my eyes on how to be a better ally to marginalized communities and people. Not just in the wedding industry, but as a human being.
With the heightened coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement, I found it impossible to stay silent as a business and brand. It was a no-brainer, since my business and my brand is me. Unfortunately, that was “controversial” and I lost a number of followers and met a few trolls. In the end, I think of it as trimming the fat and I’m cool with saying see-ya to those folks.
I’m an Ennegram 8, so I’m not afraid to speak my mind but more importantly speak up on injustice. It’s a fundamental part of my personality. George Floyd changed my business. And not because he was trending, but because his story and the stories of so many other black men and women really crushed me. Shortly after the events in May, my friend and fellow creative Keosha and I hosted an IG Live to chat about how we are addressing racism, inclusion in our industry, and other “hard to talk about” subjects.
I was able to acknowledge my privilege and identify how I could do better. In life and in business. I’m still learning, and with help from others I’m finding ways to use my position to help the underrepresented. I’ve always had a charitable aspect of my business, and now I have included the Loveland Foundation as one of my business donations. As a visual creative, the biggest way I felt I could make an impact through my work was by showing black love.
From Keosha: “Black love is important because we don’t see it in mainstream America. Your favorite movies (especially romance) typically don’t feature black couples in a regular, healthy relationship. It carries over to the wedding industry, who has a white washed view on what they believe it to be (A racially ambiguous bride & groom with light skin, and fine hair) instead of allowing black creatives/couples the opportunity to share our stories.
The stereotypes about black love is that it doesn’t exist, black women don’t marry, black men don’t commit or will just leave you pregnant”
In January 2020, prior to heightened coverage of BLM, I had already noticed that my clients all looked the same. It was something that bothered me and something I was actively looking to change. I had recently photographed Alexis for a personal project, and thought I’d reach out to her and see if she and her boyfriend would like photos together. Lucky for me, they were interested.
The shoot was everything I hoped it would be — modern and chic, downtown LA living at its best. I wanted both Alexis and Aaron to feel comfortable in what they were wearing, so I gave them a vibe and let them run with it. Ultimately, it was hands down one of my favorite shoots I’ve done with a couple in years.
This cover of Belle Lumiere is pivotal to the changes we’re seeing with more black representation in publications, on blogs, and in the wedding industry in general. This is my second magazine cover in 2021 featuring beautiful black love. See the current California Wedding Day Issue here.
This can’t be a temporary trend. This needs to be standard.
Black Love Matters.
To my fellow white vendors: If you are not currently booking diverse clients, take a look at your website and social media. Who are you showing? Why would someone of color book you if they do not see themselves represented in your business?
If you want to (and you should) book more diverse clients, create the work on your own and with your own money. Hire black and brown talent, work with black and brown vendors, seek the rich depth of talent that when combined makes us all better.
In the end, it all comes down to this. Black lives matter. Black love matters. And not just during Black History Month — Always.