MILAN — The inaugural Black Carpet Awards are set for Feb. 24 during Milan Fashion Week, which runs from Feb. 22 to 28.
The initiative, promoted by Italy’s Afro Fashion Association, is geared at celebrating 10 leaders of change belonging to underrepresented communities and active in creative and entrepreneurial industries, including fashion, design, food, music, sport and cinema, among others.
The association unveiled the list of nominees for the 10 awards across five categories: culture, legacy, creativity, community and entrepreneurship.
Five winners will be selected by a jury led by the Afro Fashion Association’s Michelle Francine Ngonmo, while the remaining five will be selected via online voting. For one week beginning Sunday people will be solicited to cast their ballots on a dedicated website.
The soirèe to be held at the Meet – Digital Culture Center in Milan will spotlight the work done by the association since 2015, when it started championing diversity, equity and inclusion and spotlighting talents of different backgrounds with an original focus on the African continent.
It boasts a database of 3,000 professionals and talents that were shortlisted into the 25 finalists.
The focus for the seminal edition is on Italy-based personalities, businesses and associations that have contributed to establish new cultural and entrepreneurial paradigms in the country, but Ngonmo’s ambition is to broaden the event’s reach internationally.
For the culture category, the nominees include Senegalese-born Italian social media personality Khaby Lame; Cameroonian journalist Sarah Kamsu; Istituto Marangoni’s Programme Leader in Business Fashion Sennait Ghebreab; Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker, activist, educator, curator and producer Fred Kudjo Kuwornu, and Takoua Ben Mohamed, an Italian-Tunisian graphic journalist.
Ghana-born photographer Jon Bronxl; transgender and queer activist Capovani Majid; Andi Nganso, an emergency medical doctor and an expert in global health; writer, photographer and director Marilena Umuhoza Delli, as well as writer and podcaster Nadeesha Uyangoda are candidates for the community category.
Nominees for the leaders of change award in creativity include performance artist Chiara Bersani; David Blank, an advocate for the Italian BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] queer community; Black Italian screenwriter, director, actor and producer Daphne Di Cinto; presenter and producer and human rights activist Ira Nohemi Fronten, and Afro-Italian rapper Tommy Kuti.
Entrepreneurship leaders are Angela Haisha Adamou, founder and general manager of NaturAngi, a brand claiming the dignity of natural curly and Afro hair; Hilarry Sedu, the first Black councilor of the Naples Bar Association; Junior Serge, founder of Milan-based portable chargers sharing start-up Mobbi; Tia Taylor, cofounder of Colory*, a website and platform spotlighting underrepresented Italians, and Viola Zheng Gioielli’s founder Viola Zheng, a Mongolian living in Italy.
Candidates for the legacy category have yet to be announced.
In addition to Ngonmo and fellow advocates Edward Buchanan and Stella Jean, the jury includes Trussardi’s chief executive officer Sebastian Suhl; British Vogue editor Edward Enninful; designer Tokyo James; Camera della Moda president Carlo Capasa; Fashion Film Festival Milano founder and director Constanza Cavalli Etro; social media personality Tamu McPherson; art and fashion curator and digital art expert Gloria Maria Cappelletti; head of editorial content at Vogue Italia Francesca Ragazzi, and Nss’ founder and CEO Walter D’Aprile, among others.