Two Black Millennials Signed A Deal With Forbes For The Culture

by Duke Magazine

The entrepreneurial space is getting broadening with increasing population, thereby putting demand for innovation at the center of discourse across the world. Irrespective of the race, language, and color, the expectations for inventive mechanisms to go by daily routines of life is getting everyone saddled with a responsibility. Nevertheless, with a seemingly non inclusion of the Black innovators in the professional space, young Black professionals are on the track of changing the narrative by reckoning themselves amongst the new generation brains and brains of the world.

Two millennial entrepreneurs are on the path of carving out a distinct niche to be rather outstanding in their enterprise instead of competing to put their heads up amidst the crowd of innovators.

 Rashaad Lambert and Vinasia Miles, who are Philadelphia natives had a common goal in mind when they created For(bes) the Culture, which culminated from their shared experiences at the 2017 Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston, MA. 

“There weren’t a lot of people of color in attendance, but there also weren’t a lot of things geared toward people of color,” Lambert said. “We were invited but not included.”

Miles often uses the analogy “there were only a few pepper flakes in the salt shaker” to refer to the lack of people of color in attendance.

Prior to the 2017 Summit in Boston, Lambert noted his observation about towards the absence of many people of color at the previous editions of Forbes’ Under 30.

Forbes annual Under 30 Summits are “more an immersive experience than a static conference,” according to their website. The summit is geared at bringing under one roof thousands of talented leaders, founders, investors, and creators from the nooks and crannies of the world to connect and engage in futuristic conversations.

The Summits feature panel discussions dedicated to various topics including business, sports, entertainment, and cultural issues. 

The concern of Lambert and Miles was chiefly towards the inability to behold recognitions towards the people of color. 

The Under 30 Summit’s diversity panel in 2016 consisted of three Caucasian men discussing inclusion in the workplace and referring to people of color as “minorities.” 

“I didn’t appreciate seeing all of the people of color that were on the under 30 list and advertised on social media, but not represented at the conference,” said Lambert. “They didn’t have the same spotlight on them as the other entrepreneurs.”

There was also an attestation by Lambert that in 2017, the Summit’s attempt to fix the diversity inclusion failed, as there was no acknowledgement made towards to the Black, only inviting a Caucasian woman to fill the diversity void alongside two Caucasian men for the panel.

Sequel to all these nonchalance to uphold the Black people prestige, Lambert and Miles took the good course upon themselves to fill the the vacuum of inclusion for the Black in the place of Forbes ‘bias’ stance. 

After speaking with a few folks from the conference, Lambert said he teamed up with Miles to bring together a small group of people to have a productive conversation about things affecting the Black in the professional world that only they could relate to.

The idea behind this planned discussion was to engage with other attendees and discuss the state of the culture.

What started as a small gathering planned for 25-30 people at Anthem Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant in Boston, has grown to a meeting of 300 people in the crowded restaurant to have a real dialogue about making change for people of color at these conferences and in the industry.

The original plan wasn’t to turn For(bes) the Culture into a full-blown organization, but feedback from other people inspired Lambert and Miles to expand it into more.

For(bes) the Culture today has international affiliation with over 5,000 members touching numerous countries, including the Caribbean, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, New Zealand, both North and South Korea.

As of July 2019, the organization is an official partner of Forbes, “endorsing and supporting the network as it helps drive diverse representation,”according to the publication. 

“We made so much noise,” said Miles on their partnership with Forbes. 

Following their first-ever international Under 30 Summit, Forbes caught wind of For(bes) the Culture’s initiative as the organization’s presence continued to grow.

Miles shared that For(bes) the Culture created so much awareness that in addition to their Forbes partnership, it ultimately led to the organization having their own stage during the 2019 Under 30 Summit in Detroit, Michigan.

Under the publication’s network, For(bes) the Culture can tackle systemic issues relating to diversity and inclusion, while increasing representation for various racial and ethnic groups around the world.

For(bes) the Culture provides people of color, and Black leaders with mentorship, business alliances, and lanes for more entrepreneurial opportunities. 

Now having a solid presence with their audience, their focus is to “create equitable pathways for people of color.” 

“We have never been given a fair opportunity to pursue wealth, and now that we have somewhat of an opportunity, we want to continue to push forward to create wealth for future generations,” said Lambert.

Currently, the organization hosts Culture Talks every Monday via Instagram Live for what Miles says are “things that may be plaguing our culture through industry perspectives.” 

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