Print and digital publishing giant Hearst Magazines is bringing its “Celebrate Black” conference back for a second year—and this time it has Sephora, Unilever’s SheaMoisture, Stitch Fix and The Ritz-Carlton on board as sponsors.
The three-day event—which launched last year in a virtual-only format—will retain its emphasis on free streaming sessions but will also incorporate some in-person events in Manhattan. Slated for Oct. 18-20, the event, previously known as Celebrate Black: A Virtual Style Summit, has been retitled Celebrate Black Style Summit.
As in 2021, Celebrate Black is “designed to amplify the voices of Black changemakers, entrepreneurs and creators across fashion, beauty, business, design and entertainment,” as Hearst Magazines puts it.
Among those taking the virtual stage: fashion designer Jerry Lorenzo of luxury streetwear brand Fear of God, in conversation with Samira Nasr, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar; celebrity chefs JJ Johnson, Auzerais Bellamy and Jessica Craig in a cooking demonstration and discussion that will be streamed from one of Hearst’s test kitchens; and photographer Kelly Marshall, in conversation with Asad Syrkett, editor-in-chief of Elle Decor.
Cara Sabin, president of beauty and wellbeing, Unilever NA, and CEO of Sundial Brands, told Ad Age that SheaMoisture signed on as a sponsor as an expression of the brand’s “deep commitment to uplifting Black voices, entrepreneurs and communities.” And Rauvan Dulay, senior VP, global merchandising business development & strategy at Sephora, said, “We’re proud to join a forum like Celebrate Black that shares authentic conversations about building a more inclusive beauty industry.”
As in 2021, Celebrate Black is being spearheaded by Tommy J. Atkins, multicultural marketing lead at Hearst Magazines and founder of Hearst Black Culture, an employee resource group (ERG).
Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco spoke with Atkins and Todd Haskell, senior VP and chief marketing officer at Hearst Magazines, about the editorial, cultural and marketing missions of Celebrate Black.
Tommy, what did you wish you had been able to do in the first-year event that now you’ll be able to do in the 2.0 version?
Tommy J. Atkins: The first iteration was such a dream and such a quintessential collaboration for so many people here at Hearst. I think for 2.0, we’re super excited about some in-real-life components, including a prelaunch celebration that we are in the midst of planning right now. We have surprises planned for that before the streaming sessions start the week following.
Todd Haskell: This is also where we’re thrilled to be working with The Ritz-Carlton, which is going to help us with those IRL events, which are about using this program as an opportunity to bring together the community—the fashion and beauty world that is really so connected to Black changemakers and tastemakers. It’s just such a great opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate. But it’s also a great opportunity to bring our own Hearst teams together to celebrate. For the virtual portion of the event, we’re creating viewing events here within the [Hearst] tower, so that our own teams can gather and experience what we’re doing together.
In addition to having external sponsors this year, Celebrate Black also brings more Hearst titles—Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Delish, Elle, Elle Decor, Oprah Daily and Good Housekeeping—in as presenting brands. Whereas in 2021, Harper’s Bazaar was the sole editorial brand behind Celebrate Black. How did that happen?
Haskell: Tommy and our Hearst Black Culture ERG are so connected around the organization that they’ve been just fantastic evangelists, which led so many of our brands to raise their hands and say, “We would love to be involved with this year.” You know, getting seven editors-in-chief and their brands to collaborate is a complicated process, but I think this level of multi-brand collaboration is so representative of a unique differentiator for Hearst.