Meet the Nominees

2024 Black Carpet Awards

Now in its second edition, the Black Carpet Awards celebrates diversity and inclusion in the global community. This annual event from Milan’s Afro Fashion Association recognizes the achievements of the unheard voices within society and unites the champions of Diversity and Inclusion across fashion, design, art, food, music, technology, business, sports and cinema. Meet the 2024 nominees below in Culture, Community, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Legacy, plus a special dedication: the inaugural Virgil Abloh Award.
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BCA 2024 Nominees

Leader of Change: Culture

This category is dedicated to leaders that move the discussion about Diversity & Inclusion forward in their specific fields of action, becoming examples for all of society. We asked each nominee to share a brief introduction to their work in their own words.

Marlon Brandao

Marlon Brandao

The perfect definition of me is: “an artist like many, a common person like few,” because being ordinary in today’s world, in the world of large social groups is really difficult.

My journey began at the age of 14 with the Disney Channel sitcom Hip Hop Hurray. I immediately experienced firsthand what it means to be a young black boy in Italy, with the dream of becoming an actor. I decided that I would make my dream come true for other young people too: black, African, foreign kids. Every step I have taken in the artistic world I have sweat with blood, tears and sweat. They didn’t give me anything, but I’m honestly happy, because I was able to demonstrate to myself and to all of Italy that it can be done.

I am currently the protagonist of the short film La Mia Milano on Prime Video, a story of young second generation kids who have to deal with an Italy still closed in the past.

Obviously through my career there have been advertisements, social collaborations, event hosting gigs, TV appearances and much more, but what makes me most proud is the journey made with esserenero, which is not just a social page but much more. We manage in our own small way to transmit African, Afro-Italian and bipoc culture, telling stories of the past, culture, tackling difficult issues, informing and uniting our community. Every day we work to make it clear that stylists, actors, doctors, policemen and singers can be born and grow in Italy.

Danielle Madam

Danielle Madam

Born in Cameroon, Danielle was seven when she came to Italy, accompanied by her mother, to escape a complicated situation in her home country. She has since turned her experience into a tale of determination and resilience, winning the hearts of sport fans around the country, alongside 5 Italian champion titles, 2 youth bronze medals, 1 overall bronze, and other prestigious awards in shot put.

After a long bureaucratic struggle to obtain citizenship and after a full 17 years in Italy, Danielle finally swore allegiance to the Italian Republic on April 30, 2021, becoming an Italian citizen. Her impact goes beyond the world of sports, inspiring many young people, encouraging them to pursue their dreams with passion and determination.

With a tireless spirit, Danielle motivates women to overcome every obstacle and achieve excellence in whatever field they choose. Her promotion of the importance of women’s sports motivates girls to pursue their dreams without fear. She was recently recognized among the 107 outstanding Italian female figures portrayed in the national exhibition “Extraordinarie, protagonists of the present.”

Cinzia Adanne Ebonine

Cinzia Adanne Ebonine

Cinzia Adanna Ebonine is the founder of educationwithcinzia, the first educational portal in Italy with resources for parents and educators of Afro-Italian children and youth ages 0-18. Cinzia Adanna: an Italian and a Nigerian (Igbo) name. Two names, distinct and perfectly complementary. It is in this combination that her personal and professional story is written. Cinzia Adanna is driven by a strong sense of social justice that has led her to become an educator and trainer on diversity & inclusion issues within the Italian educational system. She has developed “educazione s-catenata” (literally “education unchained” a teaching method for intercultural education. In recent years she’s collaborated with Amref Health Africa, IOM (International Organization for Migration), Teach for Italy, SFIDE-La scuola di tutti, Infol education, Save the Children, Colory.it, Festival Divercity, Photovogue by Vogue, Afroveronesi, Black History Month Torino, Italiani senza cittadinanza, How to start seeing colours, and Enprise Network.

Djarah Kan

Djarah Kan

Djarah Kan (1993) is an Italian-Ghanaian writer. Growing up in the province of Caserta, from an early age she became interested in writing as a means of expression and resistance, in a difficult community deeply marked by racial tensions between Italian residents and African communities. It is in this climate of segregation that she creates, with the help of her best friend and photographer, the blog Kasava Call, which will allow her to write consistently about Castel Volturno, a seaside town with a complex past. Kan regularly publishes for several magazines and has participated in the Women’s Creative Mentorship Project and the International Writing Program funded by the University of Iowa.

Anna Osei

Anna Osei

Anna is a renowned author and journalist bridging cultures through words. She shares:

“With two published books, including Sotto lo Stesso Sole by Italy’s leading publishing house Mondadori, I delve into themes of racism, identity, and the representation of black Italians. As an active contributor to Vogue Italy, my interviews with influential figures, like the Gen Z mixed-race Italian actress championing Afro hair, have garnered acclaim, earning accolades such as the Bulgari Award for Journalism. My passion for storytelling extends to spotlighting BIPOC designers and beauty icons, celebrating their migrant journeys akin to my own. Beyond writing, I lend my copywriting expertise to brands like Ferragamo, promoting diversity and sustainability. Stay tuned for my latest venture, where I continue to showcase the beauty of diversity in fashion!”

BCA 2024 Nominees

Leader of Change: Community

This category recognizes a leader who has made a difference by using their work, knowledge, and or skills to create great change within their community. We asked each nominee to share a brief introduction to their work in their own words.

Johanne Affricot

Johanne Affricot

Johanne Affricot is an independent curator and cultural producer. Founder and artistic director of SPAZIO GRIOT and GRIOTMag, she serves as curator-at-large at the American Academy in Rome (2023-2024). She is deeply committed to the concept of creative spaces as regenerative forces that foster the cultivation and dissemination of strategies and practices of radical imagination with profound cultural and social impact.

Her recent projects include the solo exhibition Studio 1. I Miss You So Much (Italian Cultural Institute in London, London, 2023); Il Mio Filippino: For Those Who Care To See, (Mattatoio, Rome, 2023); the group show and public programme Sediments. After Memory (Mattatoio, Rome, 2022); and the discursive programme Chef Binta. Reframing Traditions (Museo delle Civiltà, Rome, 2022). An independent researcher, Affricot holds an MA in Innovation and Development from La Sapienza, University of Rome. She co-edited the limited-edition poetry collection Rage & Desire (SPAZIO GRIOT, British Council, 2022) and the publication Exercises for the Imagination of a Space (SPAZIO GRIOT, Palazzo Esposizioni Roma, 2022). She is the artistic director of Mirrors, a contemporary dance and video art performance designed for the Italia, Culture, Africa program of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAXXI, Roma, 2018; Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, Addis Ababa; UJ Arts Centre Theatre, Johannesburg; Daniel Sorano National Theatre, Dakar, 2019). In 2022, Affricot was one of the ten women selected by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs to promote Italian culture, creativity, and language abroad, with a dedicated portrait in the documentary series Italiana – Portraits of Women.

DEI Futuro Antirazzista

DEI Futuro Antirazzista

D.E.I. Futuro Antiracista is an anti-racist, nonpartisan, anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-homolesbobitransafobic, anti-abilist, anti-greedophobic, and non-profit collective.

As a social collective, we insist on the need for discussion on issues concerning civil and social rights, focusing our attention on the BIPOC community, on denouncing discriminatory acts of different nature/reasons, and on the common foundation of solid anti-racist education. We need to give a true STOP signal with racist and other dynamics in our country by projecting towards a future based on diversity, equity and inclusion.

D.E.I. was born in June 2020, during the pandemic, at a time when we could not leave our homes. A disadvantage became our strength, as we made our voice heard from behind a phone, from behind a laptop: we fought so that anyone, even from home, or even outside their country, could make their voice heard. We did what was considered impossible years ago: fighting for one’s rights even when not taking the field directly (not always accessible), giving a chance even to those who, for various reasons, could not actively and physically participate in demonstrations, formations, and changes (because let us not forget that in a country not equipped for people with disabilities, visible or otherwise, and not safe for neurodivergent@ people, physically demonstrating is still a privilege today) and we fought so that it would be understood that “digital activism” is no less important than traditional activism. But it is also time for us at DEI to step up and meet you in person.

Currently D.E.I. has 30 people within the collective, residing in 7 different countries and 3 different continents, and we are constantly expanding. Our mission has just begun, and even though the road is winding, it is possible because of your help, support and backing. Thank you for being part of this battle, thank you for those who have been and those who will be, every voice will never be forgotten, we, from the depths of our hearts, will never forget.



Khadim Loum

Khadim Loum

Khadim Loum was born in Dakar in September 1992, where he spent his childhood and adolescence until 2009, when he moved to Italy to reunite with his father and brother. He has been living in Milan for 5 years.

In 2019, he co-founded Pleazer Mob, a streetwear brand born in 2018 from the idea of a group of young individuals aspiring to convey ideals and values to a growing community. The underlying concept of Pleazer Mob is to engage people with diverse interests, ideas, and passions, ranging from clothing to music, while not overlooking the social issues that affect us in our daily lives. The aspiration is to foster the sharing of interests, ideas, and passions, aiming to create an imaginary space where everyone can immerse themselves and express themselves freely, without prejudices.

In 2022, he co-founded NettaliHshouma, which is a series of weekly meetings focused on various socially relevant topics.These meetings explore subjects such as the environment, racism, classism, sexism, homo-transphobia, radical activism,independent artistic and musical scenes, historical insights, through a critical, analytical, and creative lens. The meetings provide a platform for dialogues to address topics in a participatory and shared manner, stimulating the natural growth of new  relationships and facilitating networking among individuals, collectives, and urban realities. Every Tuesday, experts are invited to guide participants through the inherent challenges and opportunities of each theme, aiming to understand the complexities and bring forth potential, stories, and methods to formulate questions and move closer to finding answers.

Sabrina Onana

Sabrina Onana

Italian-Cameroonian of origin, born in Paris and raised in Naples, Sabrina Onana is a 25-year-old sociologist, independent film director, photographer, and creator of the clothing brand Vêtue d’Art. She graduated in contemporary sociology at ENS-Paris Saclay and Sorbonne University (Paris) and started working as an independent director at 18 years old while still being a student. Since then, she directed 7 feature-length documentaries and already presented 3 of them publicly: Crossing the color line (2020) and Crossing the color line-healing from the past (2022), about Afro-italians, and I am black, I am beautiful (2023), about black womanhood in France. Her documentaries have been selected in more than 20 film festivals, screened internationally (Italy, United States, France, UK, Colombia, Cape Verde, Canada, French Guyana, and more) and award-winning in (Festival International du Film Panafricain de Cannes, Cannes World Film Festival, Rencontres Cinématographiques de Sya).



Carlotta Vagnoli

Carlotta Vagnoli

Born in 1987, Carlotta Vagnoli is a Florentine writer, author and radio speaker. Through her social channels she contributes, along with many other voices, to raising awareness on the issue of gender-based violence. Since 2017 she has been teaching classes in high schools on gender stereotyping. In 2021 she published Maledetta Sfortuna: seeing, recognizing and rejecting gender violence, for Fabbri Editore, followed by Poverine, published by Einaudi. Her latest book, Memoria delle mie puttane allegre, was published by Marsilio in 2022.

Since 2022 she has been a speaker for Radio1 Rai’s Il mondo nuovo and host of the format “Basement Café.”

BCA 2024 Nominees

Leader of Change: Creativity

This category recognizes a leader who makes a global impact through their vision and work. We asked each nominee to share a brief introduction to their work in their own words.

Mistura Allison

Mistura Allison

Mistura Allison is a researcher, curator and art historian. She is the founder of ashikọ, a visually driven research platform inspired by Africa and its Diaspora. Currently, she serves as Curator and Project Coordinator at Villa Romana in Florence, engaging in transnational artistic practices with a focus in contemporary art and advancing methodologies of decentralized exhibition-making. Her work focuses on research-based practices engaging with the plurality of contemporary Afro-Diasporic visual and oral productions.

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji is a multilocal curator and cultural practitioner with over a decade of experience in the art world. She has written for publications including Phaidon’s art books African Artists: From 1882 to Now and Vitamin C+, Collage in Contemporary Art. Co-founder of The Recovery Plan (Florence, Italy) and former Director of Exhibitions at MACAAL (Marrakesh, Morocco), Janine Gaëlle works on curatorial projects pertaining to contemporary African art and artists,museums, and cross-cultural interactions.

In January 2023, she joined the team of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (Washington DC, USA) where she continues to expand her practice as a curator.

Loretta Grace

Loretta Grace

Loretta Grace is an Italian artist, TV personality, and the leading Afro-Italian beauty and lifestyle influencer. She is also an extremely talented singer and actress, well known in Italy for her performances in various musicals, including Ghost and Sister Act.

In 2022, she made her debut as one of the co-hosts of the Italian launch of Incredible Transformations, a TV show on the Warner Bros Discovery network.

Alberto Mlanchino

Alberto Mlanchino

Alberto Boubakar Malanchino, born in Cernusco sul Naviglio, graduated in 2016 in acting from the Paolo Grassi Civic Theater School in Milan. In the same year he participated in the Venice Biennale College following the Masters Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod and Pascal Rambert. After his academic training, he began working as a drama actor.

He has collaborated with directors Moni Ovadia and Silvio Peroni and starred in roles and monologues both in theatre– notably with several award-winning performances at the Franco Parenti Theater– television, and film. In 2019, he was part of the cast of the Netflix production Summertime and was chosen for the role of Elvis in the film Easy Living, written and directed by the Miyakawa brothers.
In the spring of 2020 he returns to television with the role of Gabriel Kidane, one of the protagonists of the series Doc – in your hands directed by Jan Michelini and Ciro Visco.

For Disney Pixar, he provides the Italian voice of Buzz Lightyear in the animated film Lightyear: The True Story of Buzz, and the voice of the protagonist Tonio in the animated film The famous invasion of the bears in Sicily, based on the novel by Dino Buzzatti, and Bob Marley in the biopic Bob Marley: One Love, for Paramount Pictures.
He received the Giffoni Explosive Talent award in 2022 and in 2023 he won the UBU award for best actor/performer under 35.

Le Sorelle Toledo

Le Sorelle Toledo

Luciana and Adriana Toledo are Brazilian, sisters, mothers, stylists and fashion consultants born in Sao Paulo, where they lived until the nineties.

They have had careers as contemporary dancers, with training in classical dance. After arriving in Italy, Luciana also worked in advertising and created her own line of accessories; Adriana’s dance career instead took her to the US and subsequently Italy, where she studied theater and dance at the Paolo Grassi School of Dramatic Arts and participated in the Biennial of Dance of Venice, directed by Carolyn Carlson.

Following these experiences they both dedicated themselves to their families, Luciana has three daughters and Adriana two.

Their joint project was born on the threshold of their fiftieth birthday, in the middle of the pandemic. From 2020 through now, they’ve had the opportunity to understand and focus on what really stimulates them. Their Respiro project, created in collaboration with the Brazilian actress and director Barbara Paz, was shown at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, and represented the birth of a concept they have coined “Conscious Styling.

They believe that fashion can be a powerful tool to share their values, to encourage conversations and opinions on issues they consider important and relevant. They are the Toledo Sisters (le sorelle Toledo): they believe in alchemy, energy and the uniqueness and preciousness of each individual.

BCA 2024 Nominees

Leader of Change: Entrepreneurship

This category celebrates a leader who has made a significant contribution towards new business models and/or design principles that create positive change.

Ada Ugo Abara

Ada Ugo Abara

I was born in Nigeria and raised in a small town in Northern Italy. I obtained my BA in Political Sciences, International Relations and Human Rights at the University of Padova, then I completed my MSc in Development, Cooperation and Innovation in the Global Economy at the University of Turin back in 2017. 

Throughout my studies, I was upset by the Eurocentric approach that I encountered, with little or no place left for other regional studies, perspectives or even single authors. I found few alternatives and then decided to create my own space. In 2015 I founded the association Arising Africans and started deconstructing stereotypes and promoting cultural awareness on black Italy and diasporas in Europe. Amongst our projects, we realized a short movie titled “Io sono Rosa Parks” that premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2018 and we are now promoting 8 spots on systemic racism called “Fading”. 

After my Master’s Degree, I started working in the field of diaspora engagement and policy making; I am now a project management and implementation consultant working with different public and private entities. I spent four years working as the junior PM of the National Diasporas Summit, a project funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. I have also organized, supervised and thought different training programs on afrobusiness, youth entrepreneurship, community organizing, diaspora engagement policies, black Italia and ICTs for Development for associations, foundations and NGOs. I was also a guest lecturer at the University of Padova, Turin, Palermo, Sapienza University, New York University and many others. I am in charge of the Research and Perspective department of Fondazione Aurora and I am engaging African Scholars in an alternative narration on socio-economic trends in the Continent.

My latest challenge is becoming an expert Information and Communication Technologies for Social Good scholar. I am deepening my studies, working with innovative startups, and focusing on D-Tech Podcast, my latest podcasting project on digital transformation for profit and non profit organizations and youth entrepreneurs.

Afroricci

Afroricci

Afroricci is a unique and innovative brand that offers specific products for afro and curly hair. The brand was founded by Alice Edun to promote belonging, self-care and inclusiveness and remains a trendsetter brand that is committed to promoting women’s empowerment. We celebrate that beauty does not have a specific shape or appearance but manifests itself in many shapes and shades. 

Afroricci today boasts a vast line of products for the whole family, available throughout Italy and several European countries thanks to small and large distributers. We are proud to offer products that meet the needs of people with afro and curly hair, and that promote healthy and natural hair care.

Our company also stands out for the use of raw materials and eco-sustainable packaging and the adoption of practices typical of the circular economy; this led us to be chosen among the companies representing a green and digital future at WWWorkersCamp 2022.

In 2023 we were chosen among 100 small and medium-sized virtuous Made-in-Italy companies to strengthen, with the support of institutions, their presence abroad by leveraging sustainability and digital technologies.

Madeleine Camara

Madeleine Camara

Madeleine Camara is the founder of Milan’s Ristorante Baobab here in Milan. Her roots trace back to Senegal, where she harbored a deep passion for the culinary arts from a young age.

Camara’s culinary journey began in the 1990s, apprenticing in her parent’s restaurant in France. After completing her university studies in Senegal, she honed her cooking skills in Lyon and then in Rome at a prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant, with London and Paris to follow. When it came time to chase her own dream of opening a restaurant, her experience in Italy convinced her that Milan was the ideal place. She shares:

Baobab is more than just a restaurant; it is a bridge between cultures, a place where the flavors of Africa, particularly Senegal, blend with the warm and refined atmosphere of Milan. We collaborate with African artists and artisans to decorate our venue, giving them visibility and promoting their culture. We support corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as our orphan aid program in Africa and the Baobab Luxury brand, which supports African female artisans.

Looking ahead, my primary aim is to grow Baobab as a place of gathering and celebration of diversity. I aim to expand our menu, offering our customers an ever richer and more authentic experience. We will continue to support local and global communities through our corporate social responsibility initiatives. I look forward to the future of Baobab with great excitement and cannot wait to share this extraordinary journey with all of you.

Victoria Adede Mensah

Victoria Adede Mensah

Born in 1992 in Ghana, Victoria moved to Italy in 1998 with her parents and began her education towards a future of great satisfaction. At May she began posing for photo shoots, making television appearances and taking part in various beauty contests.

Always having a passion for make-up in her heart, Victoria began doing make-up for friends and acquaintances for their important events and in 2014 she specialized to become a professional make-up artist. After 12 years of working as an employee in the commercial sector, Victoria created her first beauty line Adede Cosmetics and in 2023 she specialized in the real estate sector and founded her own real estate property management agency.

Victoria has always believed in and followed her passions, transforming them into a full-time job.



Nappytalia

Nappytalia

Since its inception in 2014 as a vibrant online community of Afro-Italians, Nappytalia has grown to become an icon in the beauty industry.

From recognized blog, the company began a new chapter in 2015 with the launch of its first start-up, imported from America. Through years of determination and risk since, Nappytalia has conquered the international stage, obtaining awards such as the Moneygram Award and the European Union Social Category Award. In 2018, the opening of a second company and the launch of Nappytalia Eco Bio Cosmetics marked an epic triumph, becoming the first black-owned company to produce eco-organic cosmetics for curly afro hair in Italy.

With €75k of initial investment and 8000 products sold in 3 years, Nappytalia has demonstrated its strength in the market. However, the desire for innovation pushed the founder to move part of the operations to Ghana in 2022, embracing the future and reaffirming the African roots. This bold move allowed Nappytalia to be independent and maintain total control over the supply chain. “Africa is the future” is not just a cliché, but a tangible reality that Nappytalia is helping to create.

With ambitious plans in Ghana, the company now seeks partnerships and funding to shape a successful and sustainable future. The story of Nappytalia is not just a success story, but a hymn to the proud “Made in Ghana to the world”.

BCA 2024 Nominees

Leader of Change: Legacy

This category recognizes a leader who has a legacy of continually moving forward with culturally diverse and or inclusive projects. We asked each nominee to share a brief introduction to their work in their own words.

Justin Randolph Thompson

Justin Randolph Thompson

Justin Randolph Thompson is an artist, cultural facilitator and educator born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Based between Italy and the US since 1999, Thompson is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence and of the research center The Recovery Plan.

Thompson is a recipient of a 2022 Creative Capital Award, a 2020 Italian Council Research Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Award, a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin and an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park amongst others. His work and performances have been exhibited widely in institutions and contexts including The Lagos Biennial, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and The American Academy in Rome and are part of numerous collections including The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museo MADRE. His life and work seek to deepen the discussions around socio-cultural stratification and the arrogance of permanence by employing fleeting temporary communities as monuments and fostering projects that connect academic discourse, social activism and DIY networking strategies in annual and biennial gathering, sharing and gestures of collectivity.

Miyuki Yajima

Miyuki Yajima

Born in Japan, Miyuki Yajima is the co-founder, CEO, and since 2012 Creative Director of the Milan architecture and design studio Sergio Calatroni Art Room, where she previously also served as Art Director. 

Yajimi studied natural science, humanities and design. She works across the fields of architecture, industrial design, graphics, installations, creative exhibitions, visual merchandising, and more, garnering awards ranging from the Japan Display Design Award Grande award for exhibit design of the exhibition, “Biosophia of Birds,” two Art Directors Club Award Grande Awards for work with Shiseido, an Aga Khan Award as Architecture Finalist for the Japanese Embassy in Syria, and Chi è Chi Awards Best Digital Designer.

Passionate about the desert and archaeology and adventure to the point of almost risking her life

Interested in freedom: so she also likes improvisation.

BCA 2024 Nominees

Virgil Abloh Award

\We asked each nominee to share a brief introduction to their work in their own words.

Romy Calzado

Romy Calzado

Romy Calzado is a Cuban native fashion and textile designer, from Avana. At the age of four she moved to Italy with her family, between Pavia and Udine, where she attended School of Art, later specializing in Fashion Design and CAD Modeling at Istituto di Moda Burgo in Milan.

She developed a passion for ethnic prints through professional experience at Etro S.p.a, and a taste for classic elegance through an internship at Musani S.r.l and several remote collaboration including a menswear label. Thanks to her work experiences, she became an enthusiastic fashion teacher of Fashion School Monza, with high aspirations
for students, committed to support them to realize their learning objectives.

In September 2020, the Afro Fashion Association chose Romy for the second edition of the FAB 5 “We are Made in Italy,”, a project sponsored by the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, which aims to support emerging BIPOC designers for two seasons.

Her first spring / summer 2022 collection called “Unlabeled” during Fashion Week was successful thanks to the garments made of antiviral and antibacterial graphene denim, in particular the chemisier Naomi 1.5, chosen by top model Naomi Campbell for Fashion Week’s events. Romy launched her brand to express creativity, admitted feeling like an artist who can “express my feelings and emotions playing with fashion, using different silhouette and experimenting new effects.”

Her goal is debunk the misconception that a Caribbean designer should always tap into florals and prints, but can keep the colors and intensity of her birthplace mixing them with the charm of western aesthetic. Like Afro Fashion as a whole, Romy believe in the transformative potential of fashion, design, art, and culture as a means for cross-cultural exchange, empowerment, and sustainable economic development.

Victor Hart

Victor Hart

In 2019, he worked as an intern with Matteo Bardi consultancy to (Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana) as a textile designer and “cool hunter” in Milan, designing textiles for Calvin Klein, American Eagle and others using his professional experience of how everyone wants to wear something unique, and to feel special when they wore unique clothes.

In 2020, Victor was the Creative Director for Vicini D’istanti, a sustainable project in Bologna. Having been educated in Europe and Africa, Victor Reginald Bob Abbey-Hart broadened his knowledge of fashion. He relaunched his brand in Italy as “Victor-Hart” in 2021. The brand focuses on hybrid workwear to tackle everyday social problems with the use of Ghanaian heritage and culture with futuristic, made-in-Italy craftsmanship.

Thais Montessori

Thais Montessori

I am Thais Montessori Brandao, I’m 30 years old and I have mixed origins: Italian-Brazilian. My articulate last name is the proof. I am a stylist. The research of my origins, of my Afro descent, has become with time an essential aspect of my artistic research. I work and live in Milan, the city where I grew up, that I love so much and that allowed me to build a network of people and creatives I like to collaborate with. Being a woman is a wonderful gift, for me it is life itself. Being a woman means living with the visceral impulses of creation and acceptance, it means perpetrating love, teaching to push away as much as possible the concept of destruction in the world, the ability to love beyond appearances.

When I speak of creation I am also referring to motherhood of course, but not only. It doesn’t mean that women who don’t go through the process of motherhood don’t have these tools to read the world or that they are less women than others. What I mean is that any woman on the face of Earth is already an artist herself because she has the innate ability to create life. Sisterhood is a process, something I am learning. To stop feeling in competition with others is everything that society doesn’t tell you to do, so the alliance between women is a heroic act.

I grew up in the post economic boom Italy of Mediaset, with ZERO representation, and Bossi’s Lega Nord stronger than ever. No one looked like me; at school, on television, everywhere I went. MTV was different, like everything coming from abroad. I grew up without role models, thinking therefore to be out of place. Over time I realized that if you don’t find a role model, the world is probably telling you that that role model is you, and that you need to create it for yourself and for others like you. But it has been a difficult journey, timid and sometimes painful to reach this awareness. I can say today that I am proud of everything I am. And proud that I’m still working on the things I’d like to change for the better about myself, in no hurry. Hurry is the only female enemy I have.

Claudia Gisele Ntsama

Claudia Gisele Ntsama

Gisèle Claudia Ntsama, originally from Cameroon, founded her brand in Bologna, Italy in 2020 after graduating in Fashion Design from the Academy of Fine Arts. But she began creatively challenging herself long before. Since 2015, she has participated in several university projects with mentorship from Afro Fashion Association, in 2016 she participated in Lineapelle, in 2017 exhibited her first prêt-à-porter in store in Florence, and in 2019 she worked in Brussels as a Textile Designer Assistant, exhibiting at Design Week in Milan. She participated in the first digital Afro Fashion Week in Milan in February 2020 and the following September she was selected as a member of the first generation of Afro Fashion’s Fab Five Bridge Builders thanks to the support of the WAMI Collective. She has also been awarded in the “Fab Five Bridge Builders” in February 2021 with the support of Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan. Since 2020, she has been working as Textile Designer at Ratti S.P.A.and from 2021 to 2022 she worked as Fashion Design Assistant at Valentino.

Marzio Villa

Marzio Villa

Marzio Emilio Villa is a Black-indigenous artist, living and working in Milan, portrait and fashion photographer. His research focuses on the representation of people belonging to minorities. His works, with a sociological introspection deal with relationships starting from colonial reminiscences; starting from discriminatory realities present in European and international social structures, until questioning about the ethics of the photographic process and the power in the field between photographer and photographed.

Since 2009 he has exhibited in various galleries; Myriam Bouagal Galerie (Paris), Heillandi Gallery (Lugano), Leica Galerie (Paris).

Represented by Noble agency, Leica akademie professor and contributor to the Wall Street Journal newspaper. His works can be found in museums such as the Lia Museum (La Spezia) and at Mudec (Milan).

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