Almost all artist unknown in Arts of Africa Room

At Utah’s Museum of Fine Arts on the second floor towards the back is a room labeled Arts of Africa. It looks like a period room. Quite honestly, period rooms can be boredom rooms. But this one was intriguing because almost all of the art in there had no name on it. The artist was unknown for each artifact. Why?

Rowing with Crew

I am a J.Crew fan. I love J. Crew.

Last night I went to their site like if I was checking my facebook. It’s a habit. It’s a daily routine for me.

On their home page they introduced me to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and two designers who were the recipients of this award. After looking at Prabal Gurung collection and watching the Billy Reid videos, I was impressed. A part of me wanted to buy something of Gurung and another part of me wanted to visit Reid’s store in Alabama.

As I got ready for bed, I ruminated about the fashion scene and silently wished I saw more African-American artist and designers.

With that said, I give kudos to Harlem Fashion Row, an organization in Harlem whose main objective is to ‘create diversity in fashion’.¬† After browsing through their site and voting for a designer whose clothing line I would love to see in stores (Joseph Bethune), I realize that there was really no need to wish to see more African-American artist and designers as there is a need to want African-Americans to be given the opportunities that are often given to their counterparts.

There are African-American artist out there, we just don’t see them.

As the founder and CEO of Harlem Fashion Row,¬†Brandice N. Henderson, mentioned in the video posted on their site, “80% of Successful American designers come out of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion fund and in the last six years there has not been one men’s wear or women’s wear designer of African descent.”

She continued to say that “African-Americans and Latinos spend 22 billion dollars a year on apparel but this group of [designers that] represents ‘us’ is less than one percent of designers that are available in our major department stores.”

This makes me as an American, not as an African-American, but as an American think about my country and exactly where I should channel my money. Are African-Americans really not being given the chance? Are they really being kept out of the industry?

Am I rowing with the wrong crew?