A New Angle: the founder of Black London Creatives on the power of a network
Adam Terrelonge created the BLC to showcase and connect Black voices in his city’s creative community, to act as a resource and hub for individuals and businesses alike.
- Jenny Brewer
- 12 January 2021
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
A New Angle is a new editorial series that aims to give a platform to creative industry changemakers who make it their mission to disrupt the status quo. Each week we’ll chat to a person or team doing important work in the sector, making it a fairer place, championing vital causes, supporting underrepresented groups and tackling pertinent issues facing creatives everywhere.
This week we meet Adam Terrelonge, the founder of online talent directory Black London Creatives. Set up last year and quickly expanding, the platform acts both as a network for Black creatives to connect and a resource to find and hire talent. BLC spotlights individual creatives and their work through articles delving into their practice, and is starting to partner with larger organisations to broaden its impact.
It’s Nice That:
What is your mission, and what about the creative industry are you hoping to change?
Adam Terrelonge: Our mission is a two pronged approach: to dismantle and rectify the imbalance of representation in the creative industry across every platform. So often, people that look and think like me are shortchanged in lieu of tokenism or becoming the ‘other’. What BLC seeks to do is give opportunities to the minorities across London and host a platform/tool that can bind the various Black organisations and create a useful hub to truly activate the creative industry, to put our voices in the moment. Lastly, BLC also seeks to showcase and broadcast every individual Black voice; voices that are undercast by the storm of social media and the biases already prevalent in the world at large. Whether this is through collaboration with brands, events in the future or the weekly articles we produce – it’s a start.
INT: Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to this point.
AT: BLC in essence is something that I've always subconsciously wanted to exist but didn't know the framework in which to set it. I have always had a creative spirit but I always found it difficult to simply go straight to the creator and ‘get to the point’. Now reworked to accommodate Black creators, BLC seemed like perhaps the most constructive and useful tool for the industry – not only for myself but other creatives/industries and brands. I think on paper, BLC is something that I’ve always wanted; a platform to see everyone outside of the social media context and just network. We have a habit of pinning likes and shares onto things and I wanted to break that. What led me to this point is seeing little systemic change in the creative industry, further bolstered by the emotions that I felt in the wake of the violence against Black people globally. I knew I had to do something, for the long haul. I want to change the industry intrinsically, not just for the moment.
INT: What are the major challenges you’re facing, and why?
AT: In the midst of a global pandemic, it is hard to put a pin on any distinct ‘challenge’ we face. We want to do events and network and meet, collaborate and build, but all of that has been limited to an online platform. At the moment, BLC faces, as with any business, the difficult task of building something under the pressure of the coronavirus.
INT: How are you tackling them?
AT: Aside from expanding BLC's database daily, we seek to collaborate with every Black-led brand with a similar mission. Any brand that aids in mental health, job security, the representation and education of the Black creative, we are seeking to build a hub for that. Beyond that, BLC is also writing weekly articles in which we advertise and showcase a lot of perspectives and artistic voices in the industry. We seek to highlight those of interest without a biased lens. What we are doing at the moment is building something that is ready, powerful and brilliant for a time in which interaction and creative outlet isn't so taboo.
INT: How can the creative industry help your mission?
AT: Collaboration and involvement. If these brands truly wanted to help, there is no better way to help than stand alongside this goal. BLC, by all metrics, is helping itself but it would be great if the subsets of the creative industry sided with us. The goal is to showcase voices that we rarely get to see. We have seen incredible literary, artistic, musical and journalistic works up till now – imagine if we could all speak. To that end, it also means to remain standing, not only in a time of crisis but even when the news articles have died down and it isn't fashionable to use a Black voice anymore. BLC is not a trend and we do not intend to reach a ‘quota’ or a ‘limit’ because there is no quota for creativity, so there shouldn't be a quota for how many Black voices we hear.
Photo copyright © Luke Terrelonge, 2020